Film Independent fosters unique voices in film and cultivates the careers of underrepresented filmmakers.
Who: Sue Kroll is president of worldwide marketing for Warner Bros Pictures, overseeing the creation and implementation of marketing campaigns for the studio’s global film releases. Whether she’s traveling to international film sets or helming the marketing team at Warner Bros. Burbank headquarters, she develops the messaging and marketing strategy behind some of the biggest films in the world. Her most successful campaigns have included “The Dark Knight” and “The Dark Knight Rises” as well as the “Harry Potter” franchise — the highest grossing film series of all time. Major releases on the horizon include “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” from director Peter Jackson, and “Cloud Atlas” starring Tom Hanks and fellow Women’s Impact honoree Halle Berry.
What: Film Independent is a non-profit arts organization that champions the cause of independent film and supports a community of artists who embody diversity, innovation and uniqueness of vision. Through various initiatives including the Independent Spirit Awards, the Los Angles Film Festival and the Film Independent at LACMA Film Series, it provides a showcase for emerging filmmakers and independent voices. It also cultivates these voices through programs such as Project Involve, which aims to increase diversity in the film industry by mentoring and cultivating the careers of underrepresented filmmakers.
Why: “Film Independent is devoted wholly to helping people find an original voice,” explains Kroll, who sits on its board of directors. “So in addition to the glossy blockbuster movies like the kind we make at the studio, it’s important there’s room for smaller fare — unique, interesting stories that people will find enlightening. It’s hugely important that young aspiring filmmakers have a voice and that we as an industry are constantly cultivating new talent and giving opportunities to a diverse group of people to tell interesting stories.”
What’s next: Film Independent will celebrate the 20th anniversary of Project Involve, pairing 30 to 40 emerging filmmakers from underrepresented communities with established filmmaker mentors and giving them resources to make short films that will premiere at next year’s L.A. festival. Kroll added that Film Independent will work to “evolve the branding” of their various programs — a job for which she’s perfectly suited. “We’re starting to look at the evolution of Film Independent and the communication of what that is to consumers and the industry and how to better market the entire entity,” she says, adding, “It’s important to keep independent film as an expression and an art form alive and present.”