How do you survive as an indie filmmaker We heard it from

first_img Facebook At NYFF 2016, a panel of accomplished independent filmmakers came together to share both personal challenges and keys to survival. It was a great mix: director Roger Ross Williams (Life Animated), cinematographer Ellen Kuras (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), director Ira Sachs (Little Men), and actor-turned-director Rose McGowan (Dawn). Each one of these artists is fiercely independent; each one of them has had to fight hard to survive. All value their own original voice far more than money or fame.So how do they survive in the indie world? A mix of difficulties overcome—part harrowing, part exhilarating—and wisdom gained. By the end of the panel, one thing was clear: none of these artists would trade creative freedom for the studio system, and all of them had advice for aspiring filmmakers. Below are the high points of their advice.Roger Ross Williams: “Be passionate”When asked what keeps him moving forward, Roger Ross Williams was insistent: “For me, it has to be a story that is so deeply personal, and so painful to make, that you have to do it. That’s what will carry you through the long journey as a filmmaker..” Advertisement Advertisement Take it from a man whose passion has gotten him far. Williams was not only the first African-American to win an Academy Award for a documentary short (Music by Prudence, 2010), but also the first African-American director to win for producing a film, short, or feature. He has since directed two independent feature-length documentaries, God Loves Uganda (2013) and Life, Animated (2016), both of which were nominated for and won numerous awards on the festival circuit.Williams started off in mainstream media as a journalist and producer for TV Nation, ABC News, NBC News, CNN, PBS, Comedy Central, and the Sundance Channel. He was miserable. “I like to say I’m a recovering journalist because I hated it,” he said. “I was frustrated working for the man.”He recalled covering the Sundance Film Festival in the late ‘90s and interviewing all the filmmakers in competition: Neil LaBute for In The Company of Men (1997) and Darren Aronofsky for Pi (1998), among others. This was a turning point. Advertisement Login/Register With: Twitter LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment last_img

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