The last, and arguably most important panel of the festival’s second weekend, was the 2011 SBIFF Director’s Panel: Directors On Directing. I don’t know if it was because I arrived early or because I work with lynda.com, but I found myself sitting in the front row. Quite a view.
Moderator Peter Bart from Variety started out with an observation that unlike in previous years, most all of this year’s Oscar nominated films were low budget films, except Pixar’s Toy Story 3, which costs $200 million. Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan was among the highest budgets at a relatively paltry $13 million. Debra Granik’s Winter’s Bone was a slim $2 million and even David O. Russell’s The Fighter weighed in at only $11 million. The directors described how not having money to throw at problems required innovative creative storytelling techniques and in many ways, made the films better.
Since this troupe of directors have been tied together doing the Oscar circuit of award ceremonies and interviews, they talked about how this effects their work and the camaraderie they’ve developed. Their overwhelming desire was to get back to work as soon as possible. In the meantime, they joked about acceptance speeches, not sounding glib, and thanking the people most important to them.