Richard Linklater mourns the “last good era” of indie filmmaking

Director Richard Linklater doesn’t think his or his comtemporaries’ movies could get made with how the industry scene is now.

A director who has seen the sunrise and sunset of independent filmmaking many times over, Richard Linklater has some thoughts on where the industry is today. And if you haven’t guessed by now, it’s not terribly hopeful…

Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Richard Linklater said the era he came up in – that is, the early ‘90s – could never be duplicated in today’s market. “It feels like it’s gone with the wind — or gone with the algorithm. Sometimes I’ll talk to some of my contemporaries who I came up with during the 1990s, and we’ll go, ‘Oh my God, we could never get that done today.’ So, on the one hand, selfishly, you think, ‘I guess I was born at the right time. I was able to participate in what always feels like the last good era for filmmaking.’”

Richard Linklater went on to brood a little more about the state of the industry, saying, “But, man, the way distribution has fallen off. Sadly, it’s mostly just the audience. Is there a new generation that really values cinema anymore? That’s the dark thought.”

Richard Linklater broke out with 1990’s Slacker, which had a budget of $23,000 and went on to garner a huge following, taking in over $1 million at the box office and even being included in The Criterion Collection. Considering Slacker is a cheapo chatfest with a pretty loose structure, one does wonder if it could be as successful today if released in theaters…We’re thinking it would have “streaming” written all over it.

But the Dazed and Confused director is just the latest to show his concern for the state of the cinema he knows best – heck, by the end of the day we’ll probably have another. Screenwriter Charlie Kaufman claimed he has a hard time with studios due to his style, saying that the industry as a whole is in a “very, very bad place” in terms of the voices it wants to hear.

Richard Linklater’s next, Hit Man, premiered at the Venice International Film Festival this week to much praise. It is also playing at the Toronto International Film Festival and is looking to be one of the must-sees there as well.

Do you think Richard Linklater makes an interesting point about the kinds of independent movies that get made today compared to 30 years ago? Give us your thoughts below.

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