DCU is back! And so is SAGindie as a sponsor! Film Independent’s annual DIRECTORS CLOSE-UP kicked off in Los Angeles on January 30. Attendees of the five-week series are able to hear firsthand accounts from moviemakers and other industry folks on what it means to make an independent film in 2019.

Check out the 2019 schedule and find photos and highlights below!

[UPDATED 2/21/19]




Week 1 – January 30 – Nicole Holofcener: The Land of Stellar Performances

Embed from Getty Images

  • Nicole Holofcener (writer/director, The Land of Steady Habits)
  • Jeanne McCarthy (casting director, The Land of Steady Habits)
  • Thomas Mann (actor, The Land of Steady Habits)
  • Moderated by Karyn Kusama (director, Destroyer)

“You usually read the script first and if the script really connects with you and you get excited about it, you meet the director and hope that the way you see it resonates with them.” –McCarthy
“You can sense a personality a little bit [in an audition]. Whether it’s a warm, open, ‘happy-to-be-there’ personality or not, which could be nerves, sometimes.” –Holofcener
“I generally like to meet the people if I’m going to just offer them a role, and they generally want to meet me… I can just get a sense of ‘Oh, this is what it’s going to be like,’ ‘no thanks,’ or ‘Yay!’” –Holofcener
“Meeting with [Holofcener], you just know you’re going to be a part of something that’s already good, whether or not you’re in it.” –Mann


Week 2 – February 6 – The Storytellers: Writers and Directors

Embed from Getty Images

  • Jane Anderson (writer, The Wife)
  • Billy Ray (writer, Overlord)
  • Robin Swicord (writer/director, Wakefield)

“When you write a movie that’s not for you to direct, you have to think of it as a relay race. You have to run your lap, and then you hand off the baton.” –Ray
“It’s very easy for us to feel possessive over our own vision as a screenwriter. But it’s a collaborative art. We’re not novelists.” –Anderson
“Directors [sometimes] will focus on minutia in the script, instead of coming in with the big picture… I feel that writers often start with big-picture, then figure out at the granular level how [to] serve that big-picture.” –Swicord
“Say, here’s what really matters to me about the script, these are hills I would die on. And if you pick a select few of these, as opposed to I’m going to fight you over every single word behind every single page, then [directors] respect that.” –Ray


Week 3 – February 13 – Another Type of Narrative: The Truth of Docs

Embed from Getty Images

  • Alexandria Bombach (director, On Her Shoulders)
  • Talal Derki (director, Of Fathers And Sons)
  • Bing Liu (director, Minding the Gap)
  • Morgan Neville (director, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?)
  • Sandi Tan (director, Shirkers)
  • Moderated by Lisa Leeman (director, One Lucky Elephant)

“Thinking about perception – who’s telling what story and how we’re telling it – is very important to me.” –Bombach
“There are two questions that always haunt you: ‘What your film should be about?’ and second, ‘Will I get the right access to the story?’” –Derki
“Right now, my criteria for making a film is a film that I can’t imagine not making.” –Neville
“I knew it would destroy me psychically, financially, spiritually — and it did! That comes with making a film. It should destroy you.” –Tan


Week 4 – February 20 – The Independent Spirit: A Directors Roundtable

Embed from Getty Images

  • Bo Burnham (writer/director, Eighth Grade)
  • Debra Granik (writer/director, Leave No Trace)
  • Barry Jenkins (writer/director, If Beale Street Could Talk)
  • Tamara Jenkins (writer/director, Private Life)
  • Boots Riley (writer/director, Sorry to Bother You)
  • Paul Schrader (writer/director, First Reformed)
  • Moderated by Josh Welsh (President, Film Independent)


Week 5 – February 27 – Thrill Seekers: Directing Dynamic Genre


  • Fede Alvarez (writer/director, The Girl in the Spider’s Web)
  • Floria Sigismondi (director, The Turning)

Film Independent Directors Close-Up 2019 is sponsored by SAGindie, Directors Guild of America, Landmark Theatres, Breaker, and Sexton.


If you’re interested in receiving invites to special events like this, sign up for the SAGindie email newsletter.

Pin It on Pinterest