I recently attended a truly remarkable panel discussion titled “The Spirit of Independence: A Roundtable Discussion.” Included in the panel were three gifted independent film directors who recently directed three incredibly different films with three very different directing styles, however, despite their creative differences, when combined, their films are up for nine Academy Awards. For any independent film to be nominated it’s a dream, let alone being nominated multiple times. Writer/ Director Lisa Cholodenko (The Kids Are All Right), Writer/ Director Debra Granik (Winter’s Bone) and Director John Cameron Mitchell (Rabbit Hole) all agree that being nominated is something special. “It feels like luck,” said Granik. “There’s a lot of strong films that don’t travel down [ the Oscar ] path.” She admits that “directing is very humbling because you don’t know if you really nailed it.”
Cholodenko talked about self promoting an independent film because lack of funding. She admitted to doing as many press events as possible to give the film a voice. “It isn’t Billboards, its manpower,” says Cholodenko. All three directors agreed postproduction is where your film turns into something exceptional that you wouldn’t expect in production. It’s also the place to find the gem scenes/takes that you would have never expected. It was also interesting to learn that none of them storyboard before a shoot or have substantial rehearsal time with their cast. Cholodenko who worked with Annette Bening and Mark Ruffalo on The Kids Are All Right and Mitchell who worked with Nicole Kidman on Rabbit Hole both agree it’s best to give the experienced actors the freedom to collaborate with the director on the scene with as few takes as possible because the more takes the less real it will look. It will be interesting come Sunday to see who takes home Oscar.
Photos by Dyana Carmella