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4 Ways to Keep the Indie Film Biz Thriving

ReelPolitik By Anthony Kaufman | ReelPolitik January 6, 2012 at 8:23AM

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.
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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.