Indie Contenders Roundtable Presented by the Hollywood Reporter

Reviewed by Claire Bachmann. Viewed at the AFI Fest 2015.

The panelist of this event are writer/director Ramin Bahriani (99 Homes), actress Blythe Danner (I’ll See You In My Dreams), writer/director Tom McCarthy (Spotlight), actress Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn), actor Jason Segal (The End Of The Tour), actress Sarah Silverman ( I Smile Back), actress Lily Tomlin (Grandma), and actress Olivia Wilde (Meadowland). Moderated by Scott Feinberg who is a journalist for The Hollywood Reporter, he asked many different questions about whether or not film festivals should be reserved for specifically small budget films, the budgets used for each of the panelists movies, and the difference there is between actors who start in film versus Tv.

As you can imagine, each panelist had much to say regarding whether or not big budget films should be excluded from Film Festivals. They argued that those kinds of movies are able to draw in bigger audiences from advertising  and large movie premiere events due to large financial budgets. With the smaller budgets and financial backings on these low-budget indie films, these film festivals give the advertising that these small movies need in order to gain international attention.

Almost every movie that the panelists had been in or a part of were under $1,000,000 with the exception of “Brooklyn” and “99 Homes”. They described what is was like for them filming under such a budget, Lily Tomlin saying how she was able to wear all her own clothes during the movie and that the car she drives in it is also her own car. Olivia Wilde described how it was to shoot Meadowland in just 22 days, and Sarah Silverman talking about her experience in the first indie film she’d been a part of. The same theme was common in that, these kinds of films are often shot using minimalistic clothing, lighting, and the amount of time spent shooting is also very minimalistic.

Blythe Danner was able to talk about her experience of moving from 50 years of Broadway to her first lead role in a major movie picture, stating that it was a new experience for her to have so many lines and having the attention focused on her during most of the movie. Lily Tomlin then brought up the subject of film vs. tv, and noted how now-a-days, more actors and actresses are switching from the movie business for hit tv shows, at which point Jason Segal interjected saying that the way we watch things in todays technologically savvy world is much different than what it had been 15 years ago, making it more accessible for people to see more and more TV and Movies from the comfort of the home, making it less necessary for people to go to the movie theatre in order to see the most current movies. They all noted how there used to be a stigma distinguished between television actors and movie actors, whereas now the playing field has evened out greatly.

Overall this was a fantastic and brilliantly formed panel.

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