Once upon a filmmaking, there was a time in the not so distant past, where I eagerly awaited Filmmaker Magazine's 25 New Faces of Film, Sundance Film Festival Audience Winners, Festival de Cannes Official Selections, and the IFC Gotham Independent Film Awards.
This morning, the 2016 Gotham Awards nominees were announced. For many insiders, journalists, filmmakers and Academy voting members, today signals the advent of awards season and the red carpet parade. Each year the list of names, production companies and distributors become more recognizable and achingly familiar, leading to the inquiry: Where is the independence? What is independent film?
While posing the rhetorical threat, I will offer some of this year's roster of nominations: Paramount Pictures, Amazon Studios, Roadside Attractions, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Sony Pictures Classics, Annette Benning, Natalie Portman and Jeff Bridges. There is nothing particularly independent about said nomenclature and as a producer of independent film, the evolution from indie to Hollywood is to change or evolve the studio system from a closed narrative to an inclusive movie production arena where all stories are told. It is also to emerge from meager budgeted innovative cinema production to fully secured productions capable of being articulated to larger audiences.
With that said, I congratulate the 2016 Gotham Awards nominees, and look forward to not fully knowing any of the winners.