Over the weekend, I attended a few Coffee Talk sessions with Directors and Actors. The Director panel included Kimberly Peirce ("Boys Don't Cry"), Jonathan Dayton, Valarie Faris ("Little Miss Sunshine") and Debra Granak ("Winters Bone") who discussed mostly about how as filmmakers it it much easier to get an independent film done vs. major studios and encouraged the crowd to investigate doing more work in documentaries. The Actors panel included Demian Bichir ("A Better Life" and "Che") Alfred Molina ("Frida" and "An Education"), Olivia Munn ("The Newsroom") and moderator Abigail Spencer ("Rectify"). It was a very entertaining panel as the actors revealed their journey from past to present with Demian proclaiming to be the"guacamole king" back in the day, Abigail "the surf queen of Gulf-Breeze Florida", Olivia disclosing her background in journalism and Alfred recounted his encounter with Steven Spielberg for the first time. The biggest advice they all imparted was for actors to just find out what is unique about them and use it to their advantage. "Just because you want it, just because you have a dream, just because you work really hard, it doesn't mean that it works out, so you just have to work as hard as you can, keep your head down, say thank you as much as possible. Nothing is ever too small … just be part of something great," Munn said. "Love this job, however cruel it might seem at times, always love it, because eventually, it will love you back," Molina added.
The event I desperately wanted to attend, but conflicted with another session I attended called Women Who Call the Shots, which was amazing!!! The panelists included Gina Prince-Blythewood "Love & Basketball", "The Secret Life of Bees" "Disappearing Acts", Marta Kauffman "Friends", Nicole Holofcener "Enough Said", Debra Granik "Winter's Bone" and focused mostly on the previous successes, introduced upcoming projects and discussion about their experiences in the industry. The most prolific thing I took away from this session was when Gina Prince Blythwood said, "Talent has no gender" and discussed the difficulty of fighting for talent as a director against the studio's choice. As was the case for her getting the studio to sign off on Gugu Mbatha-Raw ("Belle") for her coming project "Beyond The Lights". Holofcener said. “We’re being celebrated and at the same time, we’re being segregated.… One day I would love to not be on a woman panel. And at the same time, I’m honored and feel incredibly fortunate to be here.” Kauffman, who is wickedly funny and what I like to call the "last of the hippies", revealed her next project is the Netflix series Grace and Frankie, which will star Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. She shared her formula for a great sitcom, namely, “having a really good writing staff, a really good cast, and a story that people would like to watch while they’re in their pajamas.”
Here is a link to the the session with John Singleton that I missed, but wanted to share via THR...
“My goal is to make the blackest movie ever.”—John Singleton at LA Film Fest http://bit.ly/laffjohnsingleton