Who funds art-films in a time of cultural decrepitude? You think Thai theaters are filled with "Syndromes and a Century"? Or that Tsai Ming-liang is a household name in Taiwan? Hardly. Though heralded as stars by the critical elite, far-flung artist-filmmakers from around the world struggle to finance their movies more than most. But as I chronicle in this in-depth indieWIRE story about New Crowned Hope, government-sponsored film commissions can make the difference between creative freedom and production limbo. As Thai maverick Apichatpong Weerasethakul told me, "These commissions are like water in the time of drought. I somehow think it is a conspiracy between these organizers to keep cinema alive in the time of Harry Potter."