Jim Jarmusch has been an independent film lynchpin since “Stranger Than Paradise” in 1984. Since then, he has released everything from hip-hop martial arts movies to vampire romances while maintaining his fiercely independent spirit and distinctive voice. But even he worries that artists face an increasingly uninhabitable landscape.
In an interview with The Guardian to promote his new album “Silver Haze,” Jarmusch expressed serious concerns about the lack of sustainable business models for independent filmmakers.
“The film industry is kind of gone,” Jarmusch said. “It sucks. It’s gotten worse. The kind of split-rights deals – an equal 50-50 shared profits, after costs, with financiers – that I used to be able to do with my films… if you even suggested that now, you would be laughed out of the fucking building.”
Jarmusch admitted that his famously uncompromising creative process is increasingly incompatible with the current economic environment that filmmakers have to work in.
“I’m a control freak in that I have to do it my own way,” Jarmusch said. “I have to choose all my own collaborators. I have to have final cut. I have to produce it through my own company. And as for the people financing the films, I allow them to give me notes on a rough cut but I always, contractually, have absolutely no obligation to use them.”
Despite all the external obstacles that he sees in the industry, the auteur is still developing another feature — which may not feature any music. While he declined to share specifics, he revealed that he is in the process of finalizing a cast for the currently untitled project.
“I can’t speak about details, but we’re putting together a plan for a film,” he said. “I wrote it thinking of specific actors who I’m now trying to wrangle. Actors are like wild animals that I have to somehow corral because they have so much going on. So, I’m trying to corral some incredible wild animals – I hope I can capture them.”