Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 
Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable

FIRST PERSON | Sony Pictures Classics EVP Dylan Leiner Says We Need to Put Filmmakers First

By Dylan Leiner | Indiewire July 16, 2012 at 12:23PM

This weekend at the Galway Fleadh's Real Deal, Business of Creativity Conference, Sony Pictures Classics Executive Vice President Dylan Leiner told the filmmakers and industry professionals convened that it's time to put filmmakers first again.
0
Dylan Leiner and "The Wackness" director Jonathan Levine at Sundance 2008.
Dylan Leiner and "The Wackness" director Jonathan Levine at Sundance 2008.

This weekend at the Galway Fleadh's Real Deal, Business of Creativity Conference, Sony Pictures Classics Executive Vice President Dylan Leiner told the filmmakers and industry professionals convened that it's time to put filmmakers first again.

With so much talk about new filmmaking technologies and distribution strategies, Leiner thinks the film business is losing its focus on filmmaking and storytelling.  Below is Leiner's speech to the Real Deal crowd, reprinted with permission from the Irish Film Board.

___________________________________
 

FILMMAKERS FIRST
A KEYNOTE ADDRESS BY DYLAN LEINER, SONY PICTURES CLASSICS


“Ultraviolet, Key Chest, iTunes, electronic-sell-through, VOD, SVOD, NVOD, day and date, Hulu, Vudu, Netflix, LoveFilm, Amazon, X-Box...     Shrinking windows, cratering DVD revenue, skyrocketing budgets, social networking, piracy...

With all the headlines and forecasts about new technologies, emerging distribution platforms, and the economic crisis surrounding the film business, it's easy to focus our energy on developments we can’t control in a business that changes faster than we can follow.  After all, most "films" are no longer shot on 35mm film, so can they even be called "films"? But let's not forget what allows for any such conversations about technology and distribution to exist in the first place: films and the filmmakers behind them. You all.

You are story-tellers and we - festivals, distributors, technological platforms – are your conduits to sharing those stories.      

This idea of "filmmakers first" is among the earliest lessons I learned in the business, it is where I still focus much of my energy, and it is what leads me to the theme of this talk.

Sony Pictures Classics, where I have worked for the past 18 years, was founded by Michael Barker, Tom Bernard and Marcie Bloom, on the principle that you're only as good as the filmmakers with whom you work. They learned it from their mentors at United Artists and Orion Pictures and I learned it from them. It’s our job as distributors to preserve the heritage of the past while shaping the future legacy of filmmakers with whom we work.

One of my first major projects after joining SPC in 1994 was overseeing the restoration of nine masterworks by late Indian director Satyajit Ray. I grew up in the movie business in Los Angeles, step-son to a prolific film composer and I regularly came home from school to see the likes of Carlos Santana, Kenny Loggins, Frank Oz and Terence Blanchard in our house. But I'd never seen a Satyajit Ray film and wasn't aware of the legacy he had left on our cultural community. So when I heard Martin Scorsese talk about the influence Ray's films had on him as a boy, even before becoming a filmmaker, I was struck by the importance of our role as distributor in protecting the legacy of great auteurs like Ray.

So my challenge is to continue the legacy of the great men and women filmmakers with whom I have worked, as well as those with whom I've not, allowing the past to be my springboard into the future and focusing on the business without letting it get in the way of the art.

And your challenge as filmmakers is to become the best, most well educated and self-reliant filmmakers you can be.

20 years ago, filmmakers who had recently completed a film or been accepted into Sundance would often call us up to discuss their films and collaborate on ideas for distribution and marketing. Whether we ended up distributing the film or not, we all worked together to create, discover and showcase the works of emerging artists.  Filmmakers not only knew the distributors, they knew the theaters, even the critics. There are of course, many who still do - Pedro Almodovar and Jonathan Demme are two of them, and not surprisingly they've had long and satisfying careers.  

Leiner's speech continues on page 2.

This article is related to: First Person, Sony Pictures Classics , Filmmaker Toolkit






Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome



Awards Season Spotlight

Contender Conversations

Indiewire celebrates the best and brightest from Independent film, Hollywood, and foreign cinema.

More