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If you want to be creative, write for television – Sundance London

April 30, 2012

A Hollywood Reporter article recently highlighted the challenges of indie filmmaking on both sides of the Pond these days. In the US, the studios continue to look for ‘safe’ material. In the UK, even government financing doesn’t solve all of the problems for filmmakers wanting to create more challenging films.

From a panel on the state of independent film at Sundance London, it sounds like depressing days for filmmakers trying to get ambitious work made and distributed in the US, and the UK. However, if you can avoid the siren’s song of theatrical release, you may be able to find a home for your creative vision.

While several panelists highlighted that the Oscars of late have seen many indies with leading numbers of nominations, [James Marsh (Man on Wire)] said the studio system in the U.S. has in many cases stopped consciously pursuing indie-type projects. “Narrative risky work has moved to TV,” and great filmmakers are finding freedom on television, he said. “A lot of good writing is done in American TV, too. The studios have given up on this.”

He said while “there are great films being made even in that system,” great scripts often don’t end up making it to the screen – or only in weakened form. “The system is just there doing what it’s doing. Great scripts…they will either ruin them or never do them.”

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