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Watch Sundance 2023 Artists Discuss Their Hopes for Cinema’s Future

Jonathan Majors, W. Kamau Bell, and more joined Adobe at the IndieWire Studio during the festival.

Jonathan Majors at the IndieWire Studio

The 2023 Sundance Film Festival is over, but the directors and actors behind the premieres at the fest have thoughts and hopes about the future of films they’re hoping to see at upcoming festivals and screenings. As part of the IndieWire Studio, Adobe spoke to several creators behind the buzziest films premiering at Sundance. During these conversations, the creators spoke about what they want to see in the future of cinema — from tropes and stereotypes we need to retire to stories and communities we need to spotlight — in addition to their advice for the next generation of filmmakers.

Talking about what he wants to see in the future of cinema, “Magazine Dreams” star Jonathan Majors said, “I want to see us move ourselves as a species forward. I want to be reminded of the greatness of the human spirit.” Brooke Shields, the subject of documentary “Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields,” expressed her hope to see more “joy” in cinema, adding “I just think we need it.”

Many interviewees discussed the importance of more representation in cinema during their interviews. Sherry Cola — with her “Shortcomings” co-stars Justin Min and Ally Maki — called for “stories that are overdue” to be put on screen, while Min added “we want people to feel seen.” “Theater Camp” co-writer and actor Noah Galvin, alongside fiancé, co-writer, and co-star Ben Platt, said, “Selfishly, I want more gay representation,” with “Fairyland” actor Lambert chiming in with his hopes for the future to feature “more opportunities for Queer actors to take on leading roles.”

Other interviewees spoke about dispelling stereotypes, with “Murder in Big Horn” director Razelle Benally saying she wants to see more diverse representation of Indigenous peoples and that includes getting rid of the “stoic Indian” stereotype and showing how funny Indigenous people can be. “Simo” director and Adobe x Sundance Ignite Fellow Aziz Zoromba wants to change perceptions also, of Middle Eastern/North African people. “It’s one thing to not be seen on TV and media, but it’s kind of different when the only time you’re seen is as a terrorist,” the Canadian-Egyptian filmmaker said. “Birth/Rebirth” star Breeda Wool spoke about the importance of cinema from underrepresented viewpoints, saying “Queer films, Black films, Indigenous films, they make money. There’s not a lack of artists, there’s a lack of good artists with access.”

Several other creatives at the festival offered advice for aspiring filmmakers starting out on their own journeys. “Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields” executive producer Ali Wentworth encouraged people starting out to “don’t listen to ‘no, you can’t,'” “Landscaping With an Invisible Hand” screenwriter Cory Finley urged artists to not “be precious,” and director Joanna James said to “stay true to the art” and to “not wait for anyone else’s approval.” Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who starred in the premiere “Flora and Son,” said to make stories “for yourself, as opposed to the stories you think will get you liked.”

“Jamojaya” director Justin Chon encouraged practice, saying “what seems so daunting won’t seem so anymore.” “Stephen Curry: Underrated” producer Marissa Torres Ericson said to “document your life, and don’t be afraid to share your voice with the world.” Erick Peyton, another producer on “Underrated,” said great art is “undeniable,” while “Cassandro” director Roger Ross Williams said it should be “personal.” “Stroll” co-director Kristen Lovell had the simplest message, encouraging aspiring artists to “refuse to give up.”

Take a look at the full sizzle reel of interviews — which also includes W. Kamau Bell and the Indigo Girls — above.

For more Adobe x IndieWire Studio at Sundance 2023, check out the interviews and conversations here.

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