ScreenDaily Talks: Indie “freefall” can spur post-Covid sustainability drive

Independent cinema is “in freefall at the moment”, but should use the coronavirus-induced shutdown as a chance to reassess its economic and ecological priorities, according to Screen’s latest ScreenDaily Talks webinar.

The full panel is available to watch above. It was sponsored by the Calgary Film Commission, and hosted by Screen contributing editor Michael Rosser.

“Independent cinema is certainly in deep trouble. and it was before the Covid situation,” said the UK’s Rebecca O’Brien, Ken Loach’s longtime producer at Sixteen Films. “People forget that the independent sector is the testbed and the learning place for people coming into the industry.” O’Brien said there are currently “so many things which are obstacles for independent films to thrive. It’s in freefall at the moment.” 

However, the I, Daniel Blake producer said the industry could use the coronavirus shutdown to make fundamental changes and return to its roots. “One of the reasons I’ve stuck with smaller independent films is that it’s easier to manage,” she said. “You can break it down to the simple things that everybody can understand and can work with.”

Productions should look to scale down as a means of prospering in the new landscape, she noted. “Productions  have grown to be so gigantic, it’s really quite difficult to keep a handle on looking after it properly. People are far too willing to fly off on a recce; the carbon footprint of production needs to be just thought of more carefully all the time.” Read the full article on