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Atom Egoyan

Director

On the state of things: I think that indie filmmaking is certainly not in the popular consciousness as it was as a phenomenon some years ago. Somehow what’s happened is that the recent breakthroughs haven’t reflected the critical thinking that have given independent films their reputation A film like (“The Blair Witch Project”) is the triumph of a certain marketing concept and a genre vindication rather than a statement of independence of vision or thought.

There’s been a Balkanization of the process. There are obvious elements of fatigue. That fatigue is a result of a certain novelty being worn away, but it’s also because of the sheer amount of product people have to fast-forward through. There’s a certain type of film which I cherish which is by nature more contemplative and which requires a degree of introspection on the part of the viewer, and there is a frenzy and panic mode which people are in now which almost obliterates the possibility of that experience.

Recipes for change: It would be great if there were a way of exposing any aspiring filmmaker to a period of study where they just are able to look at the history of cinema; to be able to really allow themselves time to study the masterworks, to give people in their early 20s the space to reflect on what it is that they’re hoping to do. And to be able to turn off some of the pressures of commercial success. I would have thought that with the digital revolution that would serve to allow people to be more adventurous. I think that what it does is create more of a frenzy for attention.

I’m just concerned now about the films that are of a high quality which are not finding a venue to be able to fuel people’s imaginations. That to me is a crisis. It’s regressive and completely ridiculous to come up with a solution like “fewer films should be made,” but it does speak of a certain crisis where there’s an abundance of product and less of a means to contextualize and identify quality.

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