In 2016, there were 38 movie sequels or franchise reboots in theaters.
This year, Condé Nast Entertainment is doing its part to make sure up-and-coming indie filmmakers get their chance to shine. CNE partnered with Indigenous Media for a film incubator series called The Big Script to discover new directors and writers. The Big Script was also produced by actor Josh Hutcherson, his mother Michelle and their company, Turkeyfoot Productions.
After narrowing down thousands of scripts collected on The Black List, an online database of mostly feature-length screenplays from undiscovered writers, Indigenous Media worked with the five finalists to turn their scripts into short films. All five are available on The Scene, CNE’s streaming site.
“I know what it’s like to feel like you’re on the outside and can’t get in,” Rodrigo Garcia, a film producer and co-CEO of Indigenous Media, told Adweek. “So, if you have good luck in life, I believe you have to share that.”
Garcia noted that despite the glut of sequels, reboots and superhero movies recently, “some of the most powerful films, like Manchester by the Sea or Moonlight, were indies.”
“They were made with blood, sweat and tears,” he said.
Hutcherson makes his directorial debut in the series with APE, one of the short films included in The Big Script. Even though he’s been in some blockbuster films, Hutcherson understands that it’s not easy to get them made, especially if you’re an unknown filmmaker.
“Even if you’ve made a bunch of movies, you can’t just start doing whatever you want,” Hutcherson told Adweek. “It sometimes feels impossible, even when everybody wants to make it.”
Hutcherson was going to be involved with APE, which he also stars in, nearly seven years ago, but it became one of those indie films that “never happened, and they almost never do,” he said. With the incubator series, he found what he said was a safe learning environment.
“I was protected because I had such great mentors to work with,” Hutcherson said. “They were totally open with me while still giving me notes along the way.”
According to Dawn Ostroff, the president of Condé Nast Entertainment, there aren’t a lot of opportunities for young storytellers to “get exposure on the right platform and to find the right audience.”
“We wanted to look for people who can tell stories with a different lens,” Ostroff told Adweek. “They can speak in the vernacular of the viewers on our platform.”
And with so many platforms to consider for different types of content, Ostroff is confident CNE is the “next-generation studio.”
“It’s exciting to be a part of finding new filmmakers and to show them off to generations who are looking for that kind of content,” she said.