Some the best independent filmmakers gathered to speak on how they manage to thrive in a difficult industry at IFP Week.
If you’re thinking about beginning a career as an independent filmmaker, you’re probably filled with at least an ounce of starry-eyed hope and expectations of a bright future. However, after getting a chance to discuss life in independent film with some of indie films biggest names, such as Joshua Weinstein, Gillian Robespierre, Kishori Rajan, Chanelle Aponte Pearson, and Ingrid Jungermann, we got an intimate look at the many challenges at life of a filmmaker. To kick off the discussion, Josh Weinstein very clearly stated that filmmaking for him, despite the success of his recent great film Menashe, is a hobby to him rather than a career. That pretty much set the tone for discussion as each of the esteemed filmmakers and producers went on to discuss how difficult the first decade or so of their careers had been. Kishori, for example, chronicled her time trying to survive following her passion by being a personal assistant for a number of famous directors and even writing menus in a dusty attic of a Chinese restaurant. Gillian pointed out another reality in the lack of health care for an independent filmmaker and used that as a reason to argue with studios as to why she won’t quit her day job to make a movie. Chanelle tried to tackle the ever present issue of work life balance, or the lack there of. Each of the filmmakers could relate to that. However, despite all the trials, testings, difficulty, and hardships, each one of them would do it all over again if they could. In fact they still do. They all seemed to share the same sentiment that no matter what, they always have to continually prove themselves worth to make or work on a new project. It is a tough industry, but a rewarding one.
Ingrid pointed out that at that early stage in your career, nothing compares to having a group of friends and fellow filmmakers to support you. So, to all you early filmmakers and Hollywood hopefuls, find likeminded people to help hone your craft and never give up.