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Back to School, Days 2 & 3

Back to School, Days 2 & 3

At The New School this week, we’ve looked mostly at the 1970s and 80s, scratching the surface on 1990 today. Yesterday, we spent some time discussing the term “independent film”, what does it mean? Is it simply a marketing term as one student posed, or does it represent something more. Today, Ira Deutchman visited and explained he’d just as soon get rid of the term all together.

Yesterday, we also considered John Cassavetes and watched a bit of “A Woman Under The Influence”, folllowed by an interesting discussion between Gena Rowlands and Peter Falk, from the Criterion Collection disc, and then a screening of Jim Jarmusch’s “Stranger Than Paradise”. A few students seemed particularly struck by Tom DiCillo’s camera work and Jarmusch’s striking use of the limited resources at his disposal. To what extent was his filmmaking style shaped by circumstance and limited resources, one student asked…

Today, we watched a bit of Soderbergh’s “Sex, Lies, and Videotape”, talked about Sundance and Miramax, and then Ira Deutchman shared stories about his experiences with the distribution of “Woman Under The Influence”, “Sex, Lies,” and then Whit Stillman‘s “Metropolitan” (a personal favorite of that time), which we watched in its entirety. Deutchman’s story about how New Line ended up acquiring the movie was especially insightful, including an entertaining anecdote about how famed New York Times’s critic Vincent Canby‘s embracing the film helped the movie get a deal on the eve of the New Directors/New Films festival. Ira also shared some insights on the early days of Fine Line Features, which he launched shortly after the “Metropolitan” pact.

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