After getting an early morning wait list ticket for a film I went to the Filmmaker Lodge on Main street in downtown Park City where, throughout the fest, panels and Q&As are held covering the spectrum of all things filmmaking. I missed the very beginning so I am not sure what the exact topic of conversation was supposed to be but Christine Vachon (indie-film producer extraordinaire), former Senator Christopher Dodd (now head of the MPAA), John Fithian (President CEO lobbyist of the National Association of Theatre Owners) under the mediation of David Carr (NY Times staff writer/star of the doc Page One) took to the stage discussing the state of distribution, SOPA and where the film industry is headed.
Arthouse Convergence, who have created a coalition of alternative venues for indie films making programming and filmmaker accessibility better (a thing we here at Nervousfilms have obviously looked toward in our own distribution with Gravity). Christine Vachon, speaking as a producer/fosterer of talent definitely spoke the most clearly on the current issues asserting that "TV is embracing risks" (evident in her recent support of Todd Haynes Mildred Pierce miniseries) and that online production/distribution is a reality that we can use for better content & profit (she is working on a project with Michael Eisner's online production company). David Carr also heartily discussed his own brushes with illegal downloading, fearing that without theaters his job will become obsolete and people will not looks towards reviewers for answers in a more democratic, online sea of self distributed work. Overall, this panel pronounced the disconnect between the artists/filmmakers/creatives and those responsible for displaying/supporting their work, culminating in a really tough question: how do we all remain relevant and fed in the changing landscape of cinema?