Oct 24, 2021
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Chloe director Atom Egoyan on how film festivals have reshaped independent cinema

Atom Egoyan is looking at a picture of himself standing next to Sonny Bono, and reminiscing.

The flashback is not pharmacology-related. Egoyan is thinking about the bizarre connections and friendships you make on the festival circuit, an increasingly focused group of filmmakers who are finding themselves pushed to the fringes once again.

After enjoying two decades in the sun, thanks to the commercially and critically successful careers of Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan and Paul Thomas Anderson, independent filmmakers are now looking at a much different picture.

As studios continue to minimize risk while maximizing returns, the place for new and original voices continues to shrink.

That’s why Egoyan is looking forward to awarding the next Golden Apricot, top prize at the forthcoming Yerevan International Film Festival in Armenia, where the Toronto-based director will be leading the jury alongside the likes of one-time Italian bombshell Claudia Cardinale and director Claire Denis.

It’s also why Egoyan is working hard on a new “crazy little movie” that will be part of the opening festivities for the Bell Lightbox, the new home of the Toronto International Film Festival opening in September.

Festivals lit the fuse on Egoyan’s career with Family Viewing and The Adjuster. Now, he wants to give back.

“The reality is that [festivals] may well represent the last form of theatrical exhibition for certain kinds of filmmakers,” says Egoyan.

“Once upon a time, it used to be, you’d go to a festival to make a sale and get a wider distribution deal. Now, the festival circuit is the means of distribution.”

Egoyan speaks in a matter-of-fact tone. Able to transcend the pettier concerns of a frequently petty industry, thanks to a sophisticated world view, trenchant sense of humour and healthy dose of Canadian humility, Egoyan sees the shifting business model as the result of technological change and financial trepidation.

“I noticed the shift really started happening in the mid-’90s, when independent movies became the new American dream,” he says.

Egoyan says the romantic ideal of making a movie motivated by personal expression — not commercial pressure — got wound up with the American ethos and quickly became a beacon for wannabes.

“Very quickly, things became oversaturated,” says Egoyan, whose own career rose above the flood with the success of The Sweet Hereafter.

“[The movement] made people really excited about independent film, but often without the attendant education [in film].”

Egoyan points to the endless parade of Quentin Tarantino emulators as a prime example of where things started to derail.

“What you have to remember about Tarantino is the depth of knowledge behind everything he does. He’s a brilliant filmmaker because he knows so much about cinema and film history. He’s like Scorsese — his knowledge is encyclopedic,” he says.

“People want to be Quentin without understanding that Quentin really has the knowledge.”

The result of too much emulation was a zombie march into irrelevance, and the subsequent downward spiral of a workable independent business model.

Egoyan says filmmakers have to be creative and collaborative if they want to stay afloat in the current tidal pool. He points to Chloe, his last feature starring Amanda Seyfried debuting on DVD this week, as a case in point.

Chloe was based on a French movie called Nathalie that did well in Europe, but never made the transatlantic flight with any great success.

“It was a different movie in a lot of ways, and when I got the script, I just couldn’t abide the ending. The original has (Liam Neeson’s) character going to the house and killing her. That’s it.”

Without unveiling the end in Egoyan’s reel, Seyfried’s character does find a splinter of redemption by the final credits. A young prostitute who develops a frightening fascination for a female doctor (played by Julianne Moore), Chloe could have been a very standard femme fatale: hauntingly beautiful, eerily sexy and absolutely icy in every part of her life except the boudoir.

Egoyan warms her up with a very human breath, because he sees Chloe as a social victim.

“Sex workers have an incredibly difficult job. It’s hard to remove yourself from a moment in order to do the work you need to do . . . but Chloe succumbs to something with Catherine.”

When Egoyan cast Seyfried in the part, she was unknown. Mamma Mia! had yet to hit theatres and Letters to Juliet was still ink in the pot.

“I look like a genius, because she’s the hottest actress in the world right now. But she wasn’t well known. I cast her as Chloe because she felt real.”

Egoyan was eager to keep Chloe riding a sharp psychological edge, but he says the “sledgehammer” marketing of the movie blunted some of the impact. “They used gunshots in the trailer,” says Egoyan, adding there were no gunshots in the actual film. “They had their own ideas about how to market it.”

For now, Egoyan says he’s focused on wrapping 8 1/2 screens, one of several shorts commissioned for the Bell Lightbox opening.

“It’s a fun project. Guy Maddin is also doing (a short). They’ve given me the run of an empty theatre, which is great.

“The whole facility is pretty impressive. It’s one of the best I’ve seen of its kind,” says Egoyan of the new multiplex in downtown Toronto. “Expectations are pretty high. We need this. We need the shared experience of watching together.”

Source: Canwest News Service

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Front Page, Industry News

Chloe director Atom Egoyan on how film festivals have reshaped independent cinema

Atom Egoyan is looking at a picture of himself standing next to Sonny Bono, and reminiscing.

The flashback is not pharmacology-related. Egoyan is thinking about the bizarre connections and friendships you make on the festival circuit, an increasingly focused group of filmmakers who are finding themselves pushed to the fringes once again.

After enjoying two decades in the sun, thanks to the commercially and critically successful careers of Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan and Paul Thomas Anderson, independent filmmakers are now looking at a much different picture.

As studios continue to minimize risk while maximizing returns, the place for new and original voices continues to shrink.

That’s why Egoyan is looking forward to awarding the next Golden Apricot, top prize at the forthcoming Yerevan International Film Festival in Armenia, where the Toronto-based director will be leading the jury alongside the likes of one-time Italian bombshell Claudia Cardinale and director Claire Denis.

It’s also why Egoyan is working hard on a new “crazy little movie” that will be part of the opening festivities for the Bell Lightbox, the new home of the Toronto International Film Festival opening in September.

Festivals lit the fuse on Egoyan’s career with Family Viewing and The Adjuster. Now, he wants to give back.

“The reality is that [festivals] may well represent the last form of theatrical exhibition for certain kinds of filmmakers,” says Egoyan.

“Once upon a time, it used to be, you’d go to a festival to make a sale and get a wider distribution deal. Now, the festival circuit is the means of distribution.”

Egoyan speaks in a matter-of-fact tone. Able to transcend the pettier concerns of a frequently petty industry, thanks to a sophisticated world view, trenchant sense of humour and healthy dose of Canadian humility, Egoyan sees the shifting business model as the result of technological change and financial trepidation.

“I noticed the shift really started happening in the mid-’90s, when independent movies became the new American dream,” he says.

Egoyan says the romantic ideal of making a movie motivated by personal expression — not commercial pressure — got wound up with the American ethos and quickly became a beacon for wannabes.

“Very quickly, things became oversaturated,” says Egoyan, whose own career rose above the flood with the success of The Sweet Hereafter.

“[The movement] made people really excited about independent film, but often without the attendant education [in film].”

Egoyan points to the endless parade of Quentin Tarantino emulators as a prime example of where things started to derail.

“What you have to remember about Tarantino is the depth of knowledge behind everything he does. He’s a brilliant filmmaker because he knows so much about cinema and film history. He’s like Scorsese — his knowledge is encyclopedic,” he says.

“People want to be Quentin without understanding that Quentin really has the knowledge.”

The result of too much emulation was a zombie march into irrelevance, and the subsequent downward spiral of a workable independent business model.

Egoyan says filmmakers have to be creative and collaborative if they want to stay afloat in the current tidal pool. He points to Chloe, his last feature starring Amanda Seyfried debuting on DVD this week, as a case in point.

Chloe was based on a French movie called Nathalie that did well in Europe, but never made the transatlantic flight with any great success.

“It was a different movie in a lot of ways, and when I got the script, I just couldn’t abide the ending. The original has (Liam Neeson’s) character going to the house and killing her. That’s it.”

Without unveiling the end in Egoyan’s reel, Seyfried’s character does find a splinter of redemption by the final credits. A young prostitute who develops a frightening fascination for a female doctor (played by Julianne Moore), Chloe could have been a very standard femme fatale: hauntingly beautiful, eerily sexy and absolutely icy in every part of her life except the boudoir.

Egoyan warms her up with a very human breath, because he sees Chloe as a social victim.

“Sex workers have an incredibly difficult job. It’s hard to remove yourself from a moment in order to do the work you need to do . . . but Chloe succumbs to something with Catherine.”

When Egoyan cast Seyfried in the part, she was unknown. Mamma Mia! had yet to hit theatres and Letters to Juliet was still ink in the pot.

“I look like a genius, because she’s the hottest actress in the world right now. But she wasn’t well known. I cast her as Chloe because she felt real.”

Egoyan was eager to keep Chloe riding a sharp psychological edge, but he says the “sledgehammer” marketing of the movie blunted some of the impact. “They used gunshots in the trailer,” says Egoyan, adding there were no gunshots in the actual film. “They had their own ideas about how to market it.”

For now, Egoyan says he’s focused on wrapping 8 1/2 screens, one of several shorts commissioned for the Bell Lightbox opening.

“It’s a fun project. Guy Maddin is also doing (a short). They’ve given me the run of an empty theatre, which is great.

“The whole facility is pretty impressive. It’s one of the best I’ve seen of its kind,” says Egoyan of the new multiplex in downtown Toronto. “Expectations are pretty high. We need this. We need the shared experience of watching together.”

Source: Canwest News Service

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Front Page, Industry News

Chloe director Atom Egoyan on how film festivals have reshaped independent cinema

Atom Egoyan is looking at a picture of himself standing next to Sonny Bono, and reminiscing.

The flashback is not pharmacology-related. Egoyan is thinking about the bizarre connections and friendships you make on the festival circuit, an increasingly focused group of filmmakers who are finding themselves pushed to the fringes once again.

After enjoying two decades in the sun, thanks to the commercially and critically successful careers of Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan and Paul Thomas Anderson, independent filmmakers are now looking at a much different picture.

As studios continue to minimize risk while maximizing returns, the place for new and original voices continues to shrink.

That’s why Egoyan is looking forward to awarding the next Golden Apricot, top prize at the forthcoming Yerevan International Film Festival in Armenia, where the Toronto-based director will be leading the jury alongside the likes of one-time Italian bombshell Claudia Cardinale and director Claire Denis.

It’s also why Egoyan is working hard on a new “crazy little movie” that will be part of the opening festivities for the Bell Lightbox, the new home of the Toronto International Film Festival opening in September.

Festivals lit the fuse on Egoyan’s career with Family Viewing and The Adjuster. Now, he wants to give back.

“The reality is that [festivals] may well represent the last form of theatrical exhibition for certain kinds of filmmakers,” says Egoyan.

“Once upon a time, it used to be, you’d go to a festival to make a sale and get a wider distribution deal. Now, the festival circuit is the means of distribution.”

Egoyan speaks in a matter-of-fact tone. Able to transcend the pettier concerns of a frequently petty industry, thanks to a sophisticated world view, trenchant sense of humour and healthy dose of Canadian humility, Egoyan sees the shifting business model as the result of technological change and financial trepidation.

“I noticed the shift really started happening in the mid-’90s, when independent movies became the new American dream,” he says.

Egoyan says the romantic ideal of making a movie motivated by personal expression — not commercial pressure — got wound up with the American ethos and quickly became a beacon for wannabes.

“Very quickly, things became oversaturated,” says Egoyan, whose own career rose above the flood with the success of The Sweet Hereafter.

“[The movement] made people really excited about independent film, but often without the attendant education [in film].”

Egoyan points to the endless parade of Quentin Tarantino emulators as a prime example of where things started to derail.

“What you have to remember about Tarantino is the depth of knowledge behind everything he does. He’s a brilliant filmmaker because he knows so much about cinema and film history. He’s like Scorsese — his knowledge is encyclopedic,” he says.

“People want to be Quentin without understanding that Quentin really has the knowledge.”

The result of too much emulation was a zombie march into irrelevance, and the subsequent downward spiral of a workable independent business model.

Egoyan says filmmakers have to be creative and collaborative if they want to stay afloat in the current tidal pool. He points to Chloe, his last feature starring Amanda Seyfried debuting on DVD this week, as a case in point.

Chloe was based on a French movie called Nathalie that did well in Europe, but never made the transatlantic flight with any great success.

“It was a different movie in a lot of ways, and when I got the script, I just couldn’t abide the ending. The original has (Liam Neeson’s) character going to the house and killing her. That’s it.”

Without unveiling the end in Egoyan’s reel, Seyfried’s character does find a splinter of redemption by the final credits. A young prostitute who develops a frightening fascination for a female doctor (played by Julianne Moore), Chloe could have been a very standard femme fatale: hauntingly beautiful, eerily sexy and absolutely icy in every part of her life except the boudoir.

Egoyan warms her up with a very human breath, because he sees Chloe as a social victim.

“Sex workers have an incredibly difficult job. It’s hard to remove yourself from a moment in order to do the work you need to do . . . but Chloe succumbs to something with Catherine.”

When Egoyan cast Seyfried in the part, she was unknown. Mamma Mia! had yet to hit theatres and Letters to Juliet was still ink in the pot.

“I look like a genius, because she’s the hottest actress in the world right now. But she wasn’t well known. I cast her as Chloe because she felt real.”

Egoyan was eager to keep Chloe riding a sharp psychological edge, but he says the “sledgehammer” marketing of the movie blunted some of the impact. “They used gunshots in the trailer,” says Egoyan, adding there were no gunshots in the actual film. “They had their own ideas about how to market it.”

For now, Egoyan says he’s focused on wrapping 8 1/2 screens, one of several shorts commissioned for the Bell Lightbox opening.

“It’s a fun project. Guy Maddin is also doing (a short). They’ve given me the run of an empty theatre, which is great.

“The whole facility is pretty impressive. It’s one of the best I’ve seen of its kind,” says Egoyan of the new multiplex in downtown Toronto. “Expectations are pretty high. We need this. We need the shared experience of watching together.”

Source: Canwest News Service

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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