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2017 Independent Spirit Awards: What This Year’s Nominees Want to See from the Film World in 2017

Directors, actors and studio heads talk about their goals and hopes for the final ten months of the year.

Lily Gladstone2017 Film Independent Spirit Awards, Santa Monica 25 Feb 2017

Lily Gladstone


We may be two months into 2017, but this weekend feels like the time to finally bring 2016’s year in film to a close. With that in mind, at one of the independent film world’s biggest annual gatherings, we took the opportunity to ask some of this year’s nominees what they’d like to see in the months to come. Some spoke about their personal projects, while others looked toward the industry as a whole.

Overall, the consensus of the day’s honorees centered on inclusion. Regardless of the people behind these films, they all recognized the opportunity for film to showcase a wider view of the world.

READ MORE: 2017 Independent Spirit Awards: Full Winners List — Updating Live

Below are selected comments from our conversations with this year’s nominees.

Lily Gladstone, “Certain Women”

“This is the year of ‘Moonlight,’ so everything is going to be different after this. It’s indicative that audiences want to see a bigger picture of who we are as humans. So many people make stories and films for escapism, which you need every once in a while. But you also need to be activated, you need to be engaged, you need to be animated by something that resonates with you. A lot of time that comes from independent film.”

Ira Sachs, director of “Little Men”

“I’m interested to see how the state that we’re living under, how it affects creativity. It’s oppressive as an artist because you do feel there’s a more dangerous space for these kinds of stories, particularly LGBT stories. It’s really vulnerable. I’m curious what the response is going to be, what gets made and what gets seen. This film is about the difficulty of fighting for creativity with a lack of economic support. I think that’s something we all experience on a daily basis as artists within this industry. Luckily, we have each other.”

Little Men

“Little Men”

Magnolia Pictures

Raoul Peck, director of “I Am Not Your Negro”

“I’ll give myself one or to months before I plunge into anything else. I’m going to indulge myself in all the nominees. I have a lot of catching up to do.”

Jeff Nichols, director of “Loving”

“This is going to be a writing year. This is the first time I haven’t had the next film written, really since I started working on ‘Take Shelter,’ so I plan to go home and recharge emotionally and creatively and hopefully get a couple of scripts, if not three scripts, out this year. It’s time to fill up the well.”

Chris Kelly, director of “Other People”

“This sounds so cheesy because of where we we are, but just seeing more independent film. That was the bummer about not going to Sundance this year. I just wanted to go to see the movies. I love independent cinema and I’m really excited to see this year’s crop of films.”

“Other People”

Sara Jordenö, director of “Kiki”

“You know, topple the patriarchy. Get rid of racism. Get Trump out of office.”

Kirsten Johnson, director of “Cameraperson”

“I would like to see an acknowledgment from the film world in general that it is better for all of us to have the range of voices speaking from radically different perspectives, making work that’s completely original. We really need to see and feel more about what it is to be human in this world at this moment in history. So, I do think that we’re having these modest efforts towards bringing a greater expansion to who makes stories and who’s a part of this community. It’s urgent to radically diversify this world.”

Matt Ross, director of “Captain Fantastic”

“Continue to tell stories we haven’t seen before in bold and experimental ways. I think television is open to playing with the medium in a way film isn’t. We’ve all seen that when films take changes, they open themselves up to attention and acclaim.”

Captain Fantastic

“Captain Fantastic”

Bleecker Street

Tim Roth, “Chronic”

“What I would like to see from the film world is an ability to get these films into theaters, which means making space for them alongside the big splashy films in the multiplex. Otherwise, they will sadly just exist on the internet and in people’s homes. Watching a film with a group of strangers is still a great thing to do.”

Tom Bernard, co-president and co-founder of Sony Pictures Classics

“I would like to see the exhibition chains make it more exciting. What I’d like to see, especially in the specialized theaters, is a system that’s better than Skype, where I can open the movie on a weekend and I can have a Q&A set up with the talent for the film, where the audience can text in questions and the experience becomes a much richer one. I’d like to see exhibition take it a step up because I think we need that to get people into the theater.”

Josh Locy, director of “Hunter Gatherer”

“Diverse stories. I’m not just talking about racial diversity, but emotional diversity, narrative diversity. Let’s tell more stories and give the microphone to some people who need it.”

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