The State of Independent Film – Deadline


Editor’s note: Deadline presents the 11th episode of two shots, a series of videos in which Pete Hammond and Todd McCarthy approach the art of cinema. Each has reviewed and written about the craft for decades and gained remarkable insight into films past and present. What we were hoping for when we asked them to do this was a concise, mature, and thoughtful conversation comparable to what we’ve seen from Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel.

In today’s Two Shot, we examine, ahead of Sunday’s annual Indie Spirit Awards, the current sad state of indie film and the hope for its post-pandemic recovery. The return to arthouse has been slow for key audiences who flocked to smart, much-discussed indie films, but now, at best, streamers have taken over the space, with indie traditional beggar for distribution and so often not understood.

Looking at the list of nominees for the Spirits, we wonder what some of these films even have are? The Indie Spirits changed its traditional date from the day before the Oscars this year to three weeks earlier in order to have a more direct influence on Oscar voting, but the programming chosen by the committees is so deeply indie that it will have little of desired effect – ironic since they’ve actually tied Oscar’s Best Picture six times in the past 10 years. Is the success of the independent cinema that we know and love disappearing before our eyes?

Our discussion goes further to talk about the abandonment of major studios from their specialty divisions, the fate of arthouses like Landmark and the beleaguered Arclight that play these films, the lack of marketing, and the number of films made but not getting no pulling, etc. more in our episode “The State of Independent Film”.

Check out our conversation in the video above.

Hammond has been Deadline’s awards columnist for the past decade, covering what now appears to be Oscar and Emmy seasons year-round. He is also Deadline’s Chief Film Critic, having reviewed films for MovieLine, Box office magazine, In the and Maximas well as Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide, for which he was editor-in-chief. In addition to writing, Hammond also hosts KCET Cinema Series and the station’s weekly series. Must-see movies.

McCarthy is a veteran film critic, columnist and journalist who has also written several acclaimed books and documentary films. He served two stints on the staff of Variety and The Hollywood Reporter and widely covered film festivals internationally for both publications. His film Visions of light: the art of cinematography won best documentary awards from the New York Film Critics and National Society of Film Critics, and he won an Emmy for writing the documentary Preston Sturges: The Rise and Fall of an American Dreamer. He also directed the documentaries Man of Cinema: Pierre Rissient and hollywood forever.


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