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Indie Film: 50 years of building the wrong thing.
“Despite all the great films that have been generated, the wonderous filmmakers launched, and all sorts of breakthroughs and shared learnings, it’s time to admit Indie Film failed and now we have to start over. We never clarified our “First Principles” and as a result built something that is no longer sustainable, does not benefit the artist or the audience, and ultimately favors the privileged and the powerful. We took something that is born from love and devotion and turned it into a transactional burp at best, just another distraction amongst many, a way that our corporate overlords can practice the alchemy of transforming our attention into nine figure annual salaries. Yet, have no fear. Hope is here. We can rebuild it into something better by working together. Let us explore how.”
It has become a StepIn tradition to kick off our event with an out-of-the-box and thought-provoking introduction - a way to put our industry in perspective, and reconsider assumptions that we too often take for granted. This year, in order to tackle the status of independent cinema, we asked the contribution of a true champion of it. Ted Hope is at once an award-winning producer, a discoverer of wonderful filmmakers, a streamer startupper and a remarkable writer who has never been afraid to tell it like it is, and to sharply point out what works and what doesn’t within the film industry.
Ted’s been a producer on over 70 films, studio executive on over 60, CEO of a start-up streamer, co-head of 3 production companies, executive director of a film society & festival, a Professor Of Practice at 2 universities, and founder of a post-production facility, 2 websites, 2 think tanks, & an app. Ted launched Amazon’s foray into feature film production, leading them to 19 Oscar nominations and 5 wins. As a producer, his films have received 25 Oscar nominations, with 6 wins.
Ted’s memoir and newsletter Hope For Film, are both must reads. Ted helped launch the feature film careers of Ang Lee, Nicole Holofcener, Hal Hartley, and many others. His most recent films include the first narrative from Oscar-winning documentary director, Roger Ross Williams, Cassandro, as well as the documentaries: Evgeny Afineevsky’s Ukraine War documentary Freedom On Fire, Marina Zenovich’s Jerry Brown: The Disrupter, and Vanessa Hope’s Invisible Nation on Taiwan.