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4 Ways to Keep the Indie Film Biz Thriving

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by Anthony Kaufman
January 6, 2012 8:23 AM
5 Comments
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As part of Variety's celebration of Sony Pictures Classics' 20 year anniversary, I spoke to co-presidents Michael Barker and Tom Bernard ("Steady as she grows") after their best year in a decade (driven by their release of "Midnight in Paris.") But for the purposes of ReelPolitik, I wanted to single out a list of things that the duo came up with that they believe can help keep the specialized business in good standing. You might not agree with everything on their agenda, but they're all worth discussing.

1. Encourage univer­sities to revive and continue film departments.

2. Encourage film organizations like IFP and FIND to share more information with filmmakers, offer archives of panels and roundtables and make this information more available to empower filmmakers.

3. Encourage the media to value film criticism and give those voices a place to be heard.

4. Organizations like IFP, FIND and festivals like Sundance, Tribeca and New York need to step up and talk about why it's important to prevent piracy. These organizations have not come together on this point, and the fact that the indie industry has not taken a stand on piracy is outrageous. Because it will lead to our demise.

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5 Comments

  • jsmith | January 9, 2012 6:58 AMReply

    The demise of indie film biz is great for the art of cinema...just like poetry and free jazz are financial disasters...it weeds out the pretenders and money grubbers and leaves the space wide open for real artists with something to say...try day-trading, clowns!

  • George | January 6, 2012 11:21 PMReply

    Halg, you are saying that industry veterans should not run IFP? They are filmmakers who have gained the respect of their peers. Who do you want to run it, your favorite plumber? And I can assure you from personal experience that piracy is ruining independent film. I made a movie that is quite popular the world over, but guess what - the world ain't paying for it. We're still in the red.

  • Filmmaker | January 6, 2012 5:45 PMReply

    I agree with HALG. What a useless post this was.

  • Phil Botana | January 6, 2012 5:17 PMReply

    This is what they came up with? Really?

  • HalG | January 6, 2012 2:33 PMReply

    Alternate list:

    1) tell students the truth about the uselessness of university-level film production programs, and 90-days hard labor for anyone hawking a program to get rich through indie filmmaking.

    2) put organizations like IFP and FIND in the hands of actual filmmakers, not arts' administrators, trust fund receipients and long-time industry fixtures.

    3) organizations like IFP, FIND and festivals like Sundance and Tribeca need forget the piracy issue and decide who they actually exist to serve, and ask that constituency how they've been doing.

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