Between superhero fatigue, the low cost of digital filmmaking, and the new distribution medium of video on demand, we’re supposed to be living in the Golden Age of indie cinema. But director John Sayles, the MacArthur-awarded director of Lone Star and Passion Fish, recently told Newsday, “I’m not sure there’s a living to be made by making indie films anymore.”
In the same interview, Sayles revealed that his latest work, Go for Sisters, was “another film I self- financed.” He continued, “Right now, the budgets are lower and lower. I write a lot of screenplays for other people, and build up a war chest. I don’t think there’s an independent movie business anymore, there are only a few distributors, and they are not financing the films; they only agree to distribute them.”
Go for Sisters stars LisaGay Hamilton and Yolonda Ross as two women who were best friends in adolescence — they were so alike they could “go for sisters” — but now find themselves, in middle age, on different sides of the law. Specifically, Hamilton is a parole officer — and Ross her newest parolee. When Hamilton’s son gets into serious trouble in Tijuana, the law-enforcement officer is put in the difficult position of asking her old friend to re-enter the criminal underworld to help bring him home.
With two black female leads, Edward James Olmos in a supporting role as a former detective, and Chinese gangsters as the bad guys, Go for Sisters is exactly the kind of out-of-the-box film that should be thriving in the current media landscape of audience fragmentation. But Sayles’ financial difficulties in getting his 18th film — he described securing financing as “pretty much impossible” — should strike fear deep into the heart of anyone with a cinematic interest beyond Batman 14.
Watch the trailer for Go for Sisters, which opens Nov. 8 in New York, Nov. 15 in LA, and a longer national rollout to follow: