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The International Village Of The Independents -
The Art Of The Independent Lies Within The Individual -
Company Is In Its People
The American Film Market, Home of the Independents - AFM 2015 Official Poster
It's extremely hard to believe it's been 35 years since I started The Business of Film (TBOF), and over 40 years in the film and television industry. I absolutely still love my 'life' which is my 'baby' - TBOF.
I continue to feel very privileged that I work with and intermingle with amazing, resilient individuals who have and share a passion for film as I do.
Our Editorial feature for the 35th Anniversary edition is a salute to the Village we all live and thrive in. Entitled The International Village of The Independents – The Art of the Independent Lies Within The Individual and The Wealth of A Company is in its People, it is a 400 page snapshot of individuals worldwide in the independent world.
The individuals range across the gamut at the top of their game to up-and-coming young talent in every area of the industry in our international village. Whilst our choices were subjective as to the 'part of the village' where we hang out the most, TBOF sent out invitations to some 200-odd companies to include them in TBOF's Editorial not Advertorial feature.
A Big THANK YOU to the individuals who are in tune with the spirit of the theme and have shown their support of the feature and the Village as a whole. A gracious Thank YOU to the companies who congratulated TBOF even though we impressed upon them that we wanted them to show their support to the many individuals who have helped THEM achieve their dreams and raise their 'babies'. It takes a Village to raise a Child is never more apt than when applied to our international village of independents.
Below is the introduction to the first profiles in the completely interactive online edition, a FIRST for the industry – a decision TBOF made going forward following the screening of Ice and the Sky at Cannes - which demonstrates how fragile our world is. Our decision not print to hard copies is but a grain of sand – but each grain of sand will matter. 35th Anniversary Magazine
The Art of the Independent Lies Within The Individual
In society at large, we acknowledge that everyone is an individual by virtue of their physical DNA. In The International Village of Independents, The Art Of The Independent lies and lives in the individuals whose DNA is unmatched and unmapped in this accepted norm - in their 'own' sphere of activities.
In the first Featured Profiles, these individuals' DNA have one, maybe two extra, chromosomes - chromosomes that embody creativity, persistence, perseverance, tenacity, flexibility, adaptability, capability, capacity, and business acumen – one step beyond. In short, they are wired differently to the norm; scientifically, it's not so much the wiring as what one does with what wiring one has – which has nothing to do with whether you are a 'trust fund baby' or have accomplished your dream or vision – with your DNA.
It is these individuals, running their own companies or having the breadth and depth of experience in the world of film and television, that are included in International Village of Independents, along with the heads of festivals and markets whose input in the International Village of Independents is of equal importance.
In showcasing the team at the Berlinale and TIFF, it's not about the structure of the 'business' of festivals or markets – but to showcase the 'individuals' whose own DNA enables them to fundamentally want to underpin independent filmmakers and filmmaking worldwide. Organizations such as the World Cinema Fund, or TIFF, whilst their remit is cultural to their specific country, the desire to embrace filmmakers from around the globe is essential, admirable, and underpins the art form of film and television, the visual communicator of the 21st Century.
All these individuals share a unique bond: a genuine passion for filmmakers and filmmaking, and for creating content that is relevant through the power of film.
Within their DNA, the heads of these independent companies which number few in the International Village are masters of their own universe, masters of their own destiny – with a desire to create 'work' that inspires, excites, and/or educates. With a desire to do it their way, their vision, they have taken the rough with the smooth, the bad years with the good, the knocks of human nature, with the joy of mentoring and giving opportunity to others – who can go and have gone forth with their own dreams and visions.
These independent companies work with filmmakers and disseminate content they believe to be relevant to a specific audience: on the distribution side to share it to the world; on the creative business side to find mechanisms that trigger solutions to the complexity of filming and making content worldwide; on the consumer side, to take a company and bring it back from the abyss by introducing new technology and a different approach to the constantly changing business environment in film and television in their country. For these individuals, a problem is a challenge - and there is always a solution.
Many of the actors, who today are big stars or executives in the chain of command, or who are now heads at major companies, received their start and the opportunity to achieve success and their desired objectives in life to many of these still solely-owned independent companies, who understood their passion and creativity – and gave them a start. Everyone deserves to be given a start and an equal opportunity to demonstrate what they are capable of.
The art of the Independent is not for everyone. Equally, it has to be acknowledged that not everyone wants to or can be truly 'independent' – it is these individuals and companies that The Business of Film salutes, because they make it look almost effortless by their longevity. But it's their DNA with that extra special 'something' which science cannot accurately pinpoint or define, that makes them who they are. And if science could, they would not embody the art of the independent in their sphere of activity.
Footnote: in compiling this compendium, we reached out to some 200 companies worldwide for these First Profiles, and other Profiles in the Feature – and whilst it's just a snapshot, companies or individuals were all equally invited to be included. Publisher Elspeth Tavares is a staunch supporter of individualism, independent thinking and equality, not hierarchy. The French motto exquisitely embraces it all: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.