My friend and fellow Austin-to-Brooklyn transplant Anish Savjani won the annual Producer’s prize at the 2011 Spirit Awards. While all the other winners had to wait until this weekend to hear if they would walk away with kudos, Anish’s category was among those that got the news a few weeks ago at a separate ceremony. To celebrate the Texas native’s success, which continues this Spring with the release of Kelly Reichardt’s Meek’s Cutoff (which he produced), he spoke with The Austin Chronicle for this week’s issue:
Austin Chronicle: Getting independent films seen is both far easier and considerably more problematic than ever before. Kevin Smith’s recent Sundance spiel about “indie film 2.0” and the need to create a filmmaker-focused self-distribution revolution certainly pricked up a few ears.
Anish Savjani: I think it’s cool what he’s doing, but there’s also the Kevin Smith factor, so that’s going to thrust him out further than most in terms of people willing to take that chance. It’s an exciting idea and one that I definitely want to explore in the future, but I’d want to do it when I feel confident I have the right amount of resources behind it. Bypassing the traditional distribution method is sort of a per-project idea. That might work with some projects but not others, and I think there’s definitely a certain expertise that distributors bring to the table. That said, it is difficult oftentimes and frustrating for independent films to be able to generate real revenue that can keep them afloat and continuing to produce independent films.
Austin Chronicle: It’s pretty much anyone’s guess what film distribution will be like in two years, much less 10.
Anish Savjani: Obviously digital distribution is expanding, but I’ve found it really surprising in a way because I never would have believed that people would watch movies on their computers. My little cousins and relatives watch features and TV shows on their laptops all the time, and I never saw that coming. It’s exciting, though. The digital delivery mechanisms will only get better, and their libraries and content will become more and more robust.