“There’s nothing like seeing a film in a movie theater,” says actress and first-time film producer Rachel Brosnahan (“I’m Your Woman”) But in the midst of an explosion of streaming distributors like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, “I feel like projects are having renaissances that came out so long ago, and that’s really exciting … Streamers are also providing a lot of opportunities to new voices, to different voices.” We discussed this and more with six producers for our “Meet the Experts” panel. Watch the entire group discussion above.
Joining Brosnahan were fellow “I’m Your Woman” producer Jordan Horowitz, Peilin Chou (“Over the Moon”), Samantha Housman (“Wander Darkly”), and Jess Wu Calder and Keith Calder (“One Night in Miami”). They’re all enthusiastic about the opportunities presented in the streaming marketplace. Horowitz thinks one key advantage is in escaping the “backwards-facing” studio model of judging projects based on how much money similar movies have made in the past. “What the streamers provide is a different business model that’s more subscription-based … about finding new audiences so you can continue to grow outwards.” Click on each name above to watch an individual chat with each film’s producer.
And as Keith Calder notes, the reason a studio green-lights the next movie or doesn’t can be based on “a single person’s opinion on what made that movie successful,” reasons that they maybe “haven’t yet worked out themselves in therapy,” Chou adds. Chou produces animation for Netflix, which is a lengthy process where “the pressure of the opening weekend” is “looming over you through the entire production process” with an incredibly high bar to clear for financial success. Streaming reduces that pressure too.
But it remains to be seen whether streaming will remain such a fertile ground for creative opportunities. “The streamers are young, and I think they’re built on an economic model that’s still being figured out, so I’m optimistic,” says Keith Calder, “but I do think the jury is still out on if that will be the case or if this is a side effect of a growth period that may not stick around afterwards.”
Housman agrees that the future of the medium is an unanswered question. She remembers how Netflix financed her movie “6 Balloons” with writer-director Marja-Lewis Ryan in 2018, which elevated both of their careers. But “I don’t know that Netflix would ever make that movie now … Are the Netflixes and the streamers going to continue to take risks on newer filmmakers and riskier content?” One thing seems clear though: there’s no shortage of unique creative voices if the technological revolution continues to welcome them.
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