Indiewire has never done any kind of industry list because while there are stalwarts and success stories, independent film tends to show its strengths in many circuitous avenues. However, independent film is also in a state of full-on upheaval. It’s never been easy, of course, but now that’s true for everyone. As Steven Spielberg and George Lucas (of all people) recently noted, we’re in a state of implosion. No movie star or genre can guarantee box-office and distribution, to put it politely, is in flux. We’re living in a time where a movie’s economic viability may live or die by where a title’s placement falls in the alphabet.
So, here’s the deal: Indiewire Influencers is not the same sort of power list you’re used to seeing. Nothing but love for those — and we’ve certainly borrowed some of their tropes — but we’re doing something different. Indiewire Influencers is dedicated to 40 of the people and companies who have captured our attention as we watch them try to figure out what the independent film industry is today and, more importantly, what it will become. While William Goldman’s now-hoary adage that nobody knows anything still holds true, we’re also living in a time where disruption has become as desirable as good manners. So we’re celebrating the people who are trying to get it right — and even daring to get it wrong.
In terms of methodology: We asked people across the industry for the names of the individuals and companies they thought were influencing business now. Not always the most successful entities, but the ones whose work they admired or made them pay attention to what they did next. Indiewire took them under consideration, then went out again.
We’ve broken down the list into five categories, all unranked — The Brokers, The Curators, The Creators, The Shapeshifters and The Early Adopters. Like so much of the indie film world, this categorization is imperfect at best — if you’re making a mark in this business, odds are you’re strong in more than one specialty — and we’ll say it up front: We are 100% sure that vital people are not included. That’s a good thing, since it means independent film has more heroes than we can include in one feature. It also means we’ll hear from you as to where we got it wrong — which is also great, since we intend to make this an annual event.
Also, in addition to thanking our inaugural Indiewire Influencer sponsors — DirecTV and Loyola Marymount University — Indiewire owes an enormous debt of gratitude to The Film Society of Lincoln Center, the Austin Film Society and MPS Film, who were extraordinarily generous in the support of our shoots with photographer Daniel Bergeron. More thanks than we can say — but I do think his photos go a long way toward speaking for us.
So please, click around. Enjoy yourself. We’re really excited to share this project and hear what you think.