“Movers and Shakers” Producer’s Panel moderated by Glenn Whipp

Reviewed by Vincenzo Muia at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2016. Lobero Theater.


The Producers Panel is moderated by Los Angeles Times’ Glenn Whipp, who covers the awards season for the Los Angeles Times, beginning at the fall film festivals and continuing to the Academy Awards. This year featured a stellar lineup of award-winning Producers involved in award-winning projects including: Mary Parent of The Revenant (Alejandro González Iñárritu, 2015), Jeremy Kilner of The Big Short (Adam McKay, 2015), Ed Guiney of Room (Lenny Abrahamson, 2015), Steve Golin of Spotlight (Tom McCarthy, 2015), and last but not least, Finola Dwyer of Brooklyn (John Crowley, 2015).

The panel allows the producers to discuss the responsibilities of a producer as well as insight into one of the most demanding jobs in the film industry. Let’s begin with Mary Parent’s definition of a producer: “Being a producer involves a give and take relationship to help make the best possible movies possible. As a producer, we provide solutions to the director, especially of any arising issues involved during the filmmaking process.” Much of the panel discussed the current projects in consideration for the Academy Awards, each offered a bit of insight into the projects.

According to Mary Parent, The Revenant (which received 12 nominations), finished filming in Argentina, as the thawing snow in North America affected the cinematography of the final scene. The location was chosen as it not only provided a snowy setting but provided the same foliage, avoiding any match errors. Production for the film lasted approximately 10 years.

Jeremy Kilner, The Big Short, indicates the film gave a creative form for the dialogue of the concentration of power, fairness, and how the economy is organized. The film provides an outlet for the frustration of anger after the economic financial crisis of 2008 due to the product of the states of wages, the psychological state of home ownership, manipulation of the derivatives market, and bank bailouts. According to Kilner, “the film explores bond trading and the expectations the public has about the financial institutions.” Director Adam McKay, who had a profound resentment of the economic crisis and the goverment’s response, relished the opportunity to expose the truth.

Ed Guiney of Room spoke about the limitations within the film, the film revolves around a five year old actor (Jacob Tremblay). The film was adapted from the best-selling novel “Room” (2010) by Irish-Canadian author Emma Donaghue and made a huge impact for the film, similar to the early blockbuster film strategies of the early 1970’s. Financial backing for the film was provided by U.K.-based Film Four, the Irish Film Board, as well substantial amount of subsidies financing. According to Guiney, the film was very intense and challenging for the cast as the first half of the film is filmed inside a room and the second is outside of the room. The atmosphere, according to Guiney was familiar, warm, and friendly. Two camera were always utilized and during filming, the lens was never outside of the room. Filmed in Toronto, Ontario.

Steve Golin of Spotlight indicated that the film contains an ensemble cast and shot was mostly in Toronto as well as some scenes in Boston. An interesting note, according to Golin, was the first test screening began with an all-Catholic audience due to its subject matter. According to Golin, the cover-up in the Catholic Church during the abuse scandals was complex and the film allowed victims of abuse by Catholic clergy to come forward. A positive reaction was received in Venice, Italy during screening.

Finally Finola Dwyer of Brooklyn states that the film was made on a budget of $11 million dollars and held 12 partners in its financial backing. It was co-produced by the UK, Canada, and Ireland. Filming was completed in 3 cities (Brooklyn, Montreal, and Dublin), surprisingly, most of the filming was done in Montreal as the brownstone buildings in Brooklyn, NY were an issue for certain scenes and Montreal offered similar architecture without the issues.

The issue of race and gender equality was presented by the moderator, and according to Mary Parent, she is able to succeed in her position simply because she is good at what she does. All of the Producers spoke of the hot topic issue of racial equality amongst the Academy, and all agreed the Academy should be progressively diverse in order to celebrate film from all over the world, from every culture.