Indie Outlook: First Anniversary

Amy Seimetz and Shane Carruth star in Carruth’s Upstream Color. Courtesy of erbp.

Amy Seimetz and Shane Carruth star in Carruth’s Upstream Color. Courtesy of erbp.

On July 5th, 2012, I posted my first article on Indie Outlook. It’s now been an entire year since then, and I’m amazed and humbled by the extraordinary array of artists that have generously granted me their time for an interview, whether it was an in-person conversation or a two-hour chat on the phone. Rather than provide you with a conventional retrospective, I have snagged a handful of excerpts from some of my favorite interviews over the past 365 days. Just click on the name of the interviewee, and you’ll be sent directly to the full article…

“’Indie’ doesn’t mean anything anymore. You look at the films associated with ‘indie’ on iTunes, and none of those movies are under a million dollars. I feel like it’s our responsibility to create a new term”—Kentucker Audley, star of “Sun Don’t Shine”

“We live in a culture where there’s so much information and so much art available to people all the time that the reductive branding of ‘mumblecore’ is helpful in terms of helping make people aware of our work. We’re just making these DIY films and if they didn’t have a catchy name, I don’t know if Joe Swanberg would be working with Anna Kendrick right now.”—Lawrence Michael Levine, director of “Gabi on the Roof in July”

“The depth of critical thought we have about human culture is focused to a large extent on an entirely different paradigm. That’s how shockingly extreme the exponential growth of the role of technology in our lives has become. We’re at a loss, at this point, for words and for art especially.”—Jeremy Blackman, star of “Magnolia”

“One of the great things about acting is it gives you a glimpse into other people’s lives. I’m not saying in any way that I understand every aspect of [Sara’s struggle]. I don’t think anyone could unless they’ve gone through it, but I have a lot more respect and empathy for it, and that’s a gift.”—Grace Folsom, star of “Things I Don’t Understand”

“I was raised in a Southern Christian home, much like my character. The biggest difference between us is that I’m a heterosexual actor playing a homosexual…It wasn’t hard to imagine feeling flattered by the attention of someone who you have a thing for, and I figured that sticking to that truth was the way to go. The truth of the humanity must be played rather than the stereotypes.”—Tyler Ross, star of “The Wise Kids”

“Tommy literally used every bit of footage that we ever shot for the love scenes, and in some cases, I think he recycled some of it. When I sat down in the theater and saw that, I had to keep my mouth from dropping open.”—Juliette Danielle, star of “The Room”

“Anytime that you’re in a relationship and you entertain the idea of cheating on your significant other, I think what would normally prevent you from doing it is the fear of craziness ensuing. It’s easy to become intimate with someone but when you have your livelihood at stake and it ends up not working out, it’s really scary.”—Kris Swanberg, director of “Empire Builder”

“That’s part of what’s tricky about being a young woman. You have no confidence in anything other than the fact that men want to sleep with you.”—Ry Russo-Young, director of “Nobody Walks”

“I like my character in ‘Sun Don’t Shine.’ She has a lot more of myself in it than people may assume. A lot of people are drawn to roles that are difficult, angry and explosive. Those are always so interesting. I’d love to play someone who is extremely charming, but first I’ll have to learn how to be charming.”—Kate Lyn Sheil, star of “Sun Don’t Shine”

“We live in a multi-dimensional universe and the possibility of [vampires] existing in some ulterior reality is a strong possibility.”—Corey Feldman, star of “The Lost Boys”

“I’ve never in my life hired bodyguards, but in Somalia, there’s no way we would’ve lived if we hadn’t hired a militia.”—Jeremy Scahill, writer/star of “Dirty Wars”

“Freak shows gave these people an opportunity to be stars. They didn’t feel exploited and they were being taken care of. They loved it and would absolutely do it again.”—Leslie Zemeckis, director of “Bound by Flesh”

“We wanted to challenge people’s assumptions, and the way you do that is not through a polemic. You need to give people an opportunity to connect with the characters. If they end up connecting with a character that they disagree with politically, then they get challenged.”—Brad Lichtenstein, director of “As Goes Janesville”

“The overarching idea was to change people’s perceptions on global warming. It cannot be cordoned off and labeled as an ‘environmental issue.’ It’s a human issue and I think more specifically, it’s a family issue because it will effect all generations that will come after us. If a person can’t link that to themselves or their kids, I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to do anything about it.”—Jenny Deller, director of “Future Weather”

“I like the idea of rediscovering something that was already there, and how a shot can transform and move based on how we shift the viewer’s attention.”—Patrick Wang, director of “In the Family”

“The one thing that I took from math besides my own taste—I like processes—was my confidence that no matter how abstract or counterintuitive a problem looks, there is a way to take it apart and reduce it to its component pieces.”—Shane Carruth, director of “Upstream Color”

“There have been people I’ve idolized and at some point I’ve realized that they’re just as human as I am. They make mistakes that make you question everything that they’ve told you, and I think that’s a big part of growing up and finding out who you are.”—Emily Hagins, director of “Grow Up, Tony Philips”

“The first thing I realized was that Lynch was taking us to the edge of what we ordinarily knew and asking us to peer beyond it, and eventually, to go beyond it. And then he sort of builds from there.”—Martha P. Nochimson, author of “David Lynch Swerves”

“I feel unbelievably lucky, just in terms of being a creative person, to be living during this transitional period where the entirety of humanity and the way that people’s minds work is completely transforming. These sorts of major sea changes usually take 50, even 100 years to happen, but we’re now seeing a completely insane shifting of human behavior in less than 15 years. I’m old enough to remember what everything was like before the shift and also young enough to be part of the transition. It’d be a cardinal sin to find myself in such a historically interesting position and not explore that in my work.”—Eugene Kotlyarenko, director of “0s & 1s”

Another major component of Indie Outlook is podcasts, and this site has plenty of them. My estimable CFCA colleagues Nick Allen, Mark Dujsik, Pat McDonald and Matt Sheehan have joined me for numerous wide-ranging film discussions, as has director Mike Eisenberg. I’ve also been honored to have accomplished filmmakers such as Nathan Adloff (“Nate & Margaret”), Stephen Cone (“The Wise Kids”), Todd Looby (“Be Good”), Richard Knight Jr. (“Scrooge & Marley”) and Frank V. Ross (“Tiger Tail in Blue”) on the podcast to discuss their latest work.

It’s been a blast putting together features on everything from low-budget horror classics and brilliantly recycled movie music to the Top Ten Performances in a Christopher Guest Film. And nothing excites me more than highlighting the enormously promising work of a fresh face such as Allison Torem or Liana Liberato, who both earned acclaim for playing the lead role in David Schwimmer’s production of “Trust” (Torem in the stage version, Liberato in the film adaptation).

As I prepare for my upcoming class at Facets on microbudget cinema, I’m eagerly anticipating another year of providing in-depth coverage on the films and filmmakers that deserve to not be overlooked. There’s no place I’d rather be than on the lookout.

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