Filmmaker Magazine has famously declared its 25 New Faces of Independent Film, an annual summer rite of passage for the indie industry, one that will be certainly be discussed and referenced as a signpost of up-and-coming talents. But what is the actual fate of Filmmaker Mag’s 25 New Faces in today’s ever-competitive, ever-changing film industry?
While plenty of success stories have emerged out of Filmmaker’s list, the industry continues to change: A writer-director who made it in the magazine 10 years ago faces a very different landscape today. In my Industry Beat column in the same issue of Filmmaker, I talked to several recent 25 New Face alumni and other acclaimed new D.I.Y. writer-directors about how they see their careers moving forward. And it’s not pretty. Here are some excerpts below from the story:
Sophia Takal, named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces” in 2011, expected it might be less difficult to get new projects going. “But it wasn’t any easier,” she says, “so then I tried to focus on the way things were, and not how they may be in the future.” For Takal, that’s meant staying in the no-budget trenches for now.
Similar, while Adam Bowers, a 2010 Filmmaker “New Face” and director of the no-budget deadpan romantic comedy New Low, continues to fight to get a new feature film off the ground, he’s also learned the hard way that it may still take some time. “It’s become a frustrating experience,” he says. “You think now I don’t have to kill myself anymore. But then you find out that people still expect you do it for nothing, so you realize you still have to keep killing yourself.”
Alex Ross Perry, director of Impolex and The Color Wheel, feels like his time has come, after receiving critical acclaim, a modest theatrical release and a New York Times profile. While Perry is confident that he could scrape together another $30,000 budgeted film, he wants to work on a larger canvas. “Professionally, I want to take a big step forward,” he says. “I can’t see myself making another lateral move.”
But Perry isn’t sure yet how to make the transition: He has a manager at Mosaic; he’s taking meeting in L.A.; but he has yet to find a producing partner on his new film Listen Up Philip, which is set over a year in New York and which he plans to shoot in Super 16mm. In the meantime, Perry is hoping he can work as a Hollywood script doctor to pay the bills.