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ShoWest Panel: How Indies Got Their Groove Back

showestbig.JPGShoWest, the annual distribution industry conference and trade show, wraps up today in Las Vegas. The three-day event is packed with vendors, panels and buzz. (Attendees got an inside look at the Pirates 3 trailer!)

The Hollywood Reporter covered a Wednesday panel titled "Independent Film Takes Center Stage," a conversation about independent film's recent surge in noteriety. In attendence were studio execs Bob Berney (Picturehouse), Mark Urman (ThinkFilm) and Bob Yari (Yari Film Group), actors David Duchovny and Judy Greer (The TV Set), as well as Jennifer Lopez and Leon Ichaso who produced and directed El Cantante, respectively.

The eclectic mix sparked interesting conversation, according to the play-by-play. Discussion ranged from the marketing strategy behind "The TV Set" and "El Cantante" to selecting the perfect release date for an independent flick.

Both movies represented on the panel are taking cues from recent box office successes like Pan's Labyrinth, a movie that ended up bringing in $35 million in the US alone. Urman plans on targeting The Daily Show's audience, and Berney's got Labyrinth's Spanish-speaking demo to reach out to. Limited budgets demand a creative approach to marketing, and both studios seem up for the challenge.

The panel's quick to thank theaters, too, acknowledging that finding more outlets for independent films ultimately means a bigger cut of the box office pie. It's no wonder big shots like AMC have added art house screens to their theaters; these days, it's a win-win situation.

This time last year, we already knew that Little Miss Sunshine was the breakout indie hit of the year. Nothing's grabbed as much attention yet in '07, but the year's still early. And if the industry folk on yesterday's panel have anything to do with it, there are plenty of independent hits headed to theaters in the very near future.

Posted by on March 15, 2007 11:24 AM
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