Lynn Shelton Alex Ross Perry
Lynn Shelton Alex Ross Perry

Lynn Shelton and Alex Ross Perry Talk Independent Filmmaking Struggles at SXSW Panel

Lynn Shelton, the director of the improv-based indie feature “Sword of Trust,” shot her film in 12 days, an unusual feat in the world of multi-million-dollar blockbusters that take months to shoot.

“I knew I had exactly two weeks with some of the key actors. I felt like I could make that movie and not be an irresponsible person because I could at least make the money back for the investors,” she said at a SXSW Filmmakers panel. “From what I’ve heard, trying to get an $8, $10, $12 million movie is a lot harder right now.”

Alex Ross Perry, director of “Her Smell” starring Elisabeth Moss, Amber Heard, and Cara Delevingne, agreed, saying indie filmmaking is “apocalyptic at the moment.”

“I also made a movie for $20,000. Once you do that, you can do anything,” he added.

The panel also touched on the ongoing battle between streaming platforms and the traditional moviegoing experience, which intensified recently as Steven Spielberg proposed changes to Oscar qualifications after Netflix nabbed several top nominations (and a few key wins, including best director) for “Roma.” Kayla Pugh, the senior director of first-run strategy at the Alamo Drafthouse, weighed in on the debate.

“I can’t say we’re not competing with the home-viewing experience, but I can say sometimes I feel like cooking at home and sometimes I feel like eating out,” she said. “I don’t think we’re supposed to be scared of streaming and home video. It’s this doom that’s never actually happening, and we’re still thriving and growing. I think there’s a space for both.”

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