Still from "Infinitely Polar Bear"
Film producer, director, and novelist Galt Niederhoffer is a Sundance veteran, with eight Park City selections or award winners to her name. She is a producer on Maya Forbes' Infinitely Polar Bear, which debuts at Sundance on January 18th, as well as an executive producer on God's Pocket and Jamie Marks is Dead.
Please give us your descriptions of your films.
Infinitely Polar Bear is a story about a family. A father who suffers from bi-polar disorder must take care of his two young daughters when their mother leaves the home to go to business school in order to support the family.
God's Pocket is a dark comedy about a mother's attempt to bury the body of her dead son, set in a storied mob neighborhood in Philly.
Jamie Marks is a ghost story about bullying. A high school boy who is bullied and brutalized at school dies and comes back to haunt the town and the bullies who attacked him.
At what stage did you get involved with the project?
For Infinitely Polar Bear and God's Pocket, I was involved from the beginning, developing the script, working with the director, assembling the cast and crew. For Jamie Marks, I got involved after production, helping them raise final funds for the film and giving input during the editing process.
What advice do you have for other female producers?
Female producers should recognize that sexism is alive and well in this industry, that it pervades every interaction between men and women, particularly women in positions of authority, i.e., producers. Female producers are served by recognizing this fact and learning how to navigate it in an effective way.
What's the biggest misconception about you and your work?
That it's thankless. Filmmaking is one of the most rewarding, exciting, stimulating, life-affirming things a person can do. It is a great privilege and luxury to be able to work in this field, to engage in artistic endeavors of every facet, to conduct business ranging from the raising of money, the hiring of crew, the management of a team, to the sale of a finished artistic and commercial work. People who complain about this industry have no grasp for how lucky we are.
Do you have any thoughts on what are the biggest challenges and/or opportunities for the future with the changing distribution mechanisms for films?
I think the biggest challenge for the industry is more of a question of natural forces and ingenuity: natural forces like supply and demand will continue to shape the length, nature and avenues of distribution for movies and shorter content. The challenge is predicting how and when that will unfold and finding the best avenues for the film to be experienced.
I think there's a great opportunity to see more and better movies emerging and to provide a cheap and consolidated way to view those films.
Name your favorite women director and why.
Kelly Reichardt. I think she's a brilliant director because of her restraint, her immaculate marriage of image, action, character, and beauty. I think she delivers arresting performances with her actors and writes for the screen in a way that is truly married to the form.