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Film Independent Directors Close-Up
February 1 – March 1, 2017
The Landmark Theatre
10850 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles

It’s back! SAGindie is once again a sponsor of the FILM INDEPENDENT DIRECTORS CLOSE-UP series in Los Angeles, running from February 1 to March 1. Get a chance to hear behind-the-scenes stories from some of the most talked-about independent filmmakers of the last year.




Week 1 – February 1 – Moonlight: A Stellar Ensemble Piece


  • Barry Jenkins (director, Moonlight)
  • Yesi Ramirez (casting director, Moonlight)
  • Naomie Harris (actress, Moonlight)
  • Moderated by Kimberly Peirce (director, Boys Don’t Cry)

“For me it was the Lynne Ramsay school of filmmaking. A mix of trained and untrained actors.” –Jenkins
“I have a legal background, so I love doing research. I did a ton of [casting] research online. We were three weeks from production [without a final cast list] – thank god for Google!” –Ramirez
“Not a single person in this movie met before they did their first scenes.” –Jenkins
“We tried to build our limitations into the method and making of the film.” –Jenkins

Week 2 – February 8 – Kubo and the Two Strings: Directing Animation


  • Travis Knight (director, Kubo and the Two Strings)
  • Arianne Sutner (producer, Kubo and the Two Strings)
  • Steve Emerson (visual effects supervisor, Kubo and the Two Strings)
  • Brian McLean (director of rapid prototyping, Kubo and the Two Strings)
  • Brad Schiff (animation supervisor, Kubo and the Two Strings)
  • Moderated by Jane Anderson (writer/director, Normal)

“If you’re going to stylize reality, you need to understand reality.” –Knight
“A lot of things can go wrong. Animators can bump into things, step into frame, block the light. We do a lot of cosmetic work on the puppets. There aren’t a lot of do-overs.” –Emerson

Week 3 – February 15 – Arrival: Creating the Visual Language


  • Denis Villeneuve (director, Arrival)
  • Joe Walker (editor, Arrival)
  • Moderated by Glenn Kiser (Senior Director, Dolby Institute)

“[Arrival] owes almost everything to Joe Walker. We never changed the nature of the story, but at the end of the day the script is just a blueprint.” –Villeneuve
“When you have CGI artists in Vancouver and London, the communication [about] how to be precise and give the right mood… was a challenge.” –Villeneuve
“Your first cut is never as good as your dailies—and never as bad as your first assembly.” –Walker

Week 4 – February 22 – The Independent Spirit: A Directors Roundtable


  • Andrea Arnold (writer/director, American Honey)
  • Robert Eggers (writer/director, The Witch)
  • Pablo Larraín (director, Jackie)
  • Moderated by Josh Welsh (President, Film Independent)

Week 5 – March 1 – Auteur TV: The New Creators


  • Pamela Adlon (creator/star, Better Things)
  • Rachel Bloom (co-creator/star, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend)
  • Aline Brosh McKenna (co-creator, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend)
  • Issa Rae (creator/star, Insecure)

Film Independent Directors Close-Up is sponsored by SAGindie, Directors Guild of America, Landmark Theatres, and Ovation.


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