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Gotham Awards 2016: Kenneth Lonergan, Isabelle Huppert, Ezra Edelman and More on Why Independent Film Is Healthy

Attendees at the 2016 Gotham Awards discuss the state of indie film.

Kenneth Lonergan, Isabelle Huppert and Ezra Edelman


The 2016 IFP Gotham Independent Film Awards brought some of the best indie film talent to New York City’s Cipriani Wall Street on Monday night, and many of the filmmakers on hand for the event told IndieWire that the state of indie film is as strong as ever — even if it could always be stronger.

Here’s what some of the artists had to say to IndieWire directly before the show.

Kenneth Lonergan

“It’s a real robust, healthy environment but you can always do better. You can make it easier, more accessible, you can make more films about things that people personally care about — and not necessarily by the numbers Hollywood product. It would be nice to see less of a division between the independent product and the Hollywood product, because it’s very clear to me that people really like these kinds of movies and would like them if they were in their movie theaters.”

READ MORE: Gotham Awards 2016: Complete Winners List

“It’s a shame for people to watch movies on iPhones because movies are meant to be seen on big screens, but I don’t think it’s bad that people can see the movies more easily. I think it would be nice to see movies have a bigger presence in the theaters as well as continuing to be seen online.”

David Oyelowo

“Audiences have so many options now, so to tease audiences into movie theaters to watch dramas is a challenge that we’re facing, but it puts a pressure on the art form. It means that your film just has to be better, and that’s no bad thing. I think it’s a good time, but I’m very wary of complacency. I’m very wary of apathy. Just because coincidentally we have a crop of films that are answering a dearth that we’ve had, we shouldn’t think that this is indicative of systemic change, because I don’t think it is.”

“Every now and again you’ll have a film like ‘Precious’ or ‘Moonlight.’ That’s the film of the season, and rightly so, but we need more consistency. We need films like this to be celebrated, made and for an audience, and to have access to them in this way more often.”

Isabelle Huppert

“Films should be independent, and I think ‘Elle’ and ‘Things to Come’ are really independent films in the way that they are really daring, and that’s very precious. It’s not something you do because you think you’re going to be with [certain] people. You just do what you feel, and that for me is what it means to be independent.”

Jeff Nichols

“There are a lot of great things happening in independent film. A lot of that has to do with the fact that distribution avenues are expanding. It’s incredible that I get to hang out with Barry Jenkins from ‘Moonlight’ and Kenneth Lonergan from ‘Manchester By the Sea.’ Even ‘La La Land,’ which is a more expensive film. These are all unique films made by unique filmmakers with a lot of different perspectives. Right now I’m feeling pretty good about it. I think things are pretty healthy.”

READ MORE: Gotham Awards 2016: ‘Manchester By The Sea’ Leads With Four Nominations, ‘Moonlight’ and ‘Paterson’ Also Dominate

“What’s going to be interesting is to see how those platforms develop and take over the industry in the next 10, 20 and 30 years. I hope that theaters always stay relevant. I think they will.”

Ezra Edelman

“There are so many films being made by black directors, like ‘The 13th,’ ‘Life, Animated,’ and ‘I Am Not Your Negro.’ It’s good they’re getting the attention that they are and talking about important themes having to do with race in America. That’s been a noteworthy thing.”

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