‘Movies Stopped Becoming Just Entertainment:’ AFM Director Roundtable

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Photographed by Anoush Abrar From left: Bart Freundlich, Marjane Satrapi, Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, Julie Delpy, Roland Emmerich and Ladj Ly were photographed September 28 at B2 Boutique Hotel + Spa in Zurich.

Reprinted from The Hollywood Reporter by Scott Roxborough on November 10, 2019.

Every film that gets made, especially in the independent world, is a little miracle, and in bringing their personal visions to the screen, the participants on this year’s AFM Indie Directors Roundtable all have their own horror stories to tell. The Current War, an awards-bait period drama from Alfonso Gomez-Rejon and starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Shannon, got caught up in The Weinstein Co.’s Chapter 11 fallout and spent more than a year on the shelf. My Zoe, from French actress-writerdirector Julie Delpy, took six years to finance before a key backer dropped out, nearly scuppering the film. And that pales alongside the two decades documentarian Ladj Ly has spent chronicling life in his banlieue, one of the socially precarious suburbs of Paris, before, almost by accident, getting the chance to make his first feature, Les Misérables. Iranian director Marjane Satrapi fought the pigeonholing and prejudice she has faced her entire career to make Radioactive, a biopic of the Noble Prize-winning Polish scientist Madame Curie. Bart Freundlich was stuck on his adaptation of Susanne Bier’s Danish melodrama After the Wedding before hitting on the bold, and potentially risky, move of gender flipping the lead roles from men to women — played by Michelle Williams and Freundlich’s wife, Julianne Moore. And even blockbuster champ Roland Emmerich, director of Independence Day, 2012 and The Day After Tomorrow, had to return to his indie roots to put together the money to make his new World War II epic, Midway. This eclectic group gathered at the B2 Boutique Hotel + Spa during the Zurich International Film Festival in September to talk about artist integrity, financial challenges and the complicated politics of moviemaking in 2019. …

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THR 11/10

About Jeffrey Burman 4971 Articles
Jeff Burman represents assistant editors on the Guild’s Board of Directors. He can be reached at jeffrey.s.burman.57@gmail.com.

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