I read this quote from a panel at SXSW in 2016.
Speaking of the health of the indie film market, Dan makes the point that only a few films being made independent of the 'major' studio system are making the world think that indie films are on the rise. Only about 1% of the total indie films made by everyone from your neighbor to those being picked up at Miramax are being seen by wide numbers of audience members. Whereas, the 99% of other independently made films aren't seen by by the light of day for any number of reasons.
So, why are 'those' films setting the expectation of strength and quality in indie cinema at the moment?
It's due to the fact that they win awards. How many Oscars or Golden Globes would The Hangover win? Regardless of the extreme entertaining nature and money making quality of the film, it doesn't compare to 12 Years a Slave or Moonlight in some important places. This isn't to be debated; it's common knowledge.
You all know what the template of Dan's 1% generally looks like. There is then 1 in 100 of 'those' independents that help push film and/or societal commentary in a new direction. We at 4:59 Productions want to live in that percentage of a percent.
Knowing that, we are very aware it is an infinitesimally small line that divides where we want to be from being in the mass of films that fade into oblivion. It comes with quality story telling and characters, depth beyond simple motifs, intense understanding from the whole team and technical specificity. If we are able to meet all of those goals a film will be produced.
Will there be both successes and failures? Yes. Will we not allow either to jade our perspective as we continue to improve? Emphatically yes.
* In 2016, Sundance had a total of 12,793 film submissions and 195 were selected to feature in the festival. That's 1.5% of total entries that were seen at the festival. Those numbers in 2015 were 12,166; 184; with 105 receiving distribution deals. That's 0.8% of submissions being distributed to the public in the traditional sense - to theaters or to online services.
**Obviously this is a small sample size and I am not trying to pick on Sundance as an institution. My reason for using Sundance is because they pride themselves on the rate of selected films receiving distribution deals (which is true - 105 of 184 in 2015.) In the bigger picture though, that 0.8% rate of submissions getting a distribution deal is more than likely high for the over 400 different world film festivals. This is even less than the 1% that Dan Janvey brought up as the portion of the industry that defines indie filmmaking in the SXSW panel in 2016.