“Paddleton” might not have as much mass appeal as a zombie movie, and that’s OK — especially to the people who made it. Alex Lehmann and Mark Duplass, who previously collaborated on the black-and-white romantic drama “Blue Jay,” visited the IndieWire Studio presented by Dropbox to discuss their low-key bromance co-starring Ray Romano. While there, they fielded questions from IndieWire’s Christian Blauvelt about the Sundance entry’s financial prospects — or lack thereof — and the freedom that comes from working with Netflix, which both of them have done on more than one occasion.
“Netflix is not the only ones doing this, but they’re very savvy about what audiences are looking for and — not to get too inside baseball about it — but I think that there is a very passionate niche audience for these kinds of movies,” said Duplass, who signed a four-picture deal with Netflix last year alongside his brother Jay.
“I think what distributors are finding right now is that it actually doesn’t matter if it’s a massive group of people that are watching what you’re doing. They have to be extremely passionate,” he added. “So a tiny portion of the pie who truly wants this stuff is enough — and that’s basically the only reason I’m still in business.”
Lehmann is likewise glad that “Paddleton” ended up where it did. “Maybe it isn’t the most marketable film in some traditional ways, but Netflix isn’t afraid of that,” he said. “They know that the right audience is gonna find it, and we’re allowed to do things that maybe some more old-fashioned distributors wouldn’t be willing to take risks on.”
Watch an excerpt of their conversation below.