There's been a lot of talk over the past year about the changing face of film distribution. Maybe too much talk? Not for indie producer Mynette Louie who has been a part of numerous conversations on the topic. She has offered advice to filmmakers and producers on various panels and she's also fielded inquiries from folks looking for personal guidance while she's been working on the self-driven release of Tze Chun "Children of Invention."
"I think it's really necessary," she said of the ongoing conversations about DIY distribution and low budget production. "Everybody needs to be thinking about how to innovate," she added.
Louie began innovating with her own career after 9/11. A native New Yorker who lives in Queens, she worked in the media and Internet spaces before deciding to pursue her passion for film nearly ten years go. While working at the Hawaii Film Office she wrote the state's production tax credit.
Since then she's been making movies. She was a co-producer of Andrew Bujalski's "Mutual Appreciation" and the aforementioned "Children of Invention" (which debuted last year at Sundance). As with other indie producers, Louie decided to take distribution matter into her own hands rather than rely on more traditional models. DIY methods of distribution can yield more revenue in the long run for indies, but require a lot of time and attention over the span of a release.
"In trying to change with the times, we’re thinking of our festival run as part of our theatrical run," she and filmmaker Tze Chun wrote on the film's website last year.
The daughter of a painter who used to sell watercolor works in New York City's Washington Square Park, Louie said that she is optimistic about the future, "because I have to be."
"It's in my nature as a producer to be optimistic about the unknown, and even the impossible - making films is, after all, pretty impossible," she explained, in an email follow up to a recent conversation with iW in New York. "I really don't know how all this distribution stuff is going to play out, but I'm excited about the changes that are happening and the questions being asked."
A graduate of Harvard, Louie participated in Cinemart's Rotterdam Producers Lab, was a producing fellow at the Sundance Creative Producing Lab and participated in this year's Berlinale Talent Campus.
"I believe in auteur driven cinema," she explained recently. Pressed on whether there is a common link among the movies she is drawn to, she said she likes dark dramas. Smiling, she added, "They are the most difficult to market and the hardest to find financing for."
Among her upcoming projects as a producer, Louie is currently finishing P. Benoit's "Untitled Haiti Project" (with Karin Chien and Ben Howe) and she is currently developing Eric Lin's "Why We Pull The Trigger" as well as Tze Chun's "You're A Big Girl Now." She's also linked to Rory Kelly's "The End of Something."
"We're not experts. We're not trying to find solutions for everyone," she said of her recent DIY experience with "Children of Invention," "We just want to keep making movies."
Mynette Louie will be one of six leading independent film producers participating in a free, open to the public conversation at the Apple Store Soho today at 5 p.m., kicking off the annual Apple & indieWIRE series during the Tribeca Film Festival.