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Indie Film Producer Jon Kilik Challenges Spielberg, Lucas and Soderbergh in IFP Speech

Photo of Ryan Lattanzio By Ryan Lattanzio | TOH! September 18, 2013 at 3:05PM

Independent film producer Jon Kilik is having a busy year, with "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," Bennett Miller's "Foxcatcher" and Spike Lee's "Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth" coming out in November and December. In a keynote speech at IFP on September 15 in NYC, the prolific producer delivered challenging remarks about the current state of film.
Sony Pictures Classics "Foxcatcher"

On the importance of voice and story:

I’m a film producer but I know not to value a movie based on budget.  Story is what is important.  In whatever form you choose to tell yours, you have the opportunity to challenge the status quo, provoke thought, shine a light on an event, a condition, a time and a place, give a voice to those who have none, or simply make a love story, a comedy or a genre film.  Tell your story.  The work will outlive the format.

On the future:

Film has a 100-year history of adapting to the changes and challenges brought on by new technology.  This will always get figured out.  The ease of being able to reach people will only increase.

So it isn't true that cinema is dead, it's actually a very healthy industry and as Soderbergh pointed out, it’s one of the few American exports that continues to do very well.  But we can't ignore that one particular sector of the market is getting squeezed and must be protected -- the midrange budget drama -- movies about human beings.

On a banner 2013:

Many talented filmmakers, young and old, have overcome the challenge and made a large quantity of quality independent dramas that are coming out this year.  I have never seen so many high quality films entering the main stream. "Blue Jasmine," "Fruitvale Station," "Mud," "The Butler," "Inside Llewyn Davis," "Gravity," "Her," "12 Years a Slave"...

Thank you to all the distributors who bring these films to the theaters.  All distributors both independent and major studios for continuing to finance and distribute movies about the human condition.  For supporting handmade films by auteur filmmakers.  Stay strong, stay committed, and we will continue to partner with you to grow the great history of American Independent Cinema.

Studio executives are not our enemy.  Especially today with more women and growing diversity.  I have found execs -- to a person -- as hardworking and courageous as their filmmaker counterparts.  They are passionate and educated in film history and often put their job on the line to help a filmmaker get what he or she needs.  

This article is related to: News, Hunger Games: Catching Fire , Foxcatcher, Spike Lee, Steven Soderbergh, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.