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Michelle Satter

Director, features programs, Sundance Institute

On the state of things: There’s a great need right now, whether it’s a digital circuit or network or through the Internet, to broaden the distribution and exhibition process for indie films. Also, it’s a really tough time if you’re a producer or filmmaker trying to find financing. There’s a particularly greater need this year, specifically for risk-taking, challenging, bold independent films, which are not driven by cast or the director’s experience. I’m assuming there will always be financing for the Coen brothers films, for Jim Jarmusch, for filmmakers who have continued to make films. I think this is a particularly tough time for emerging filmmakers to find financing.

Recipes for change: I think the idea that theaters well equipped digitally will be a good thing. There will be alternative spaces for distribution, be it in museums, community centers; there will be places for films to be seen across the country. I would like choices on one end of it. That films could get out to a pretty substantial audience would be a great thing.

One other thing, and a lot of organizations are doing this, is to create a sense of community and a support system, not only in New York and L.A. but outside of the major centers of filmmaking; also, filmmakers not only in this country but outside of this country. I wish there were a greater opportunity to see foreign-language movies outside of festivals and limited distribution, because if there was ever a time when it’s important to see films from outside this country, it would be now, in terms of being a witness to other cultures and other struggles, and other aesthetics, other ways of storytelling. It would be a far more enriching world if we had more exposure to films from other cultures.

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