In an effort to get independent filmmakers to be seen by the world, actor James Caan has stepped into the Chairman position for the new website Openfilm.com. Caan launched the website with fellow writers, producers and directors, including son Scott, Robert Duvall and Mark Rydell, who all sit on the advisory board and will counsel budding filmmakers on their craft.
The website allows these up-and-coming filmmakers to post their live action and animated films, which can be commented on by viewers. To help these filmmakers showcase their passion and talent, entertain the world and helped be discovered by independent and big movie studios alike, Caan will mentor and guide them. He will partake in the twice-annual webcasts, during which he answer questions by aspiring filmmakers, and help judge Openfilm’s online competitions.
Caan has starred in both big budget and smaller, independent movies alike, as if he finds a script with a story he’s passionate about, he’ll happily jump on board. He aims to make the best possible movies he can, and tries not to worry if they’ll be blockbuster hits.
Some of Caan’s work includes his Oscar-nominated role in ‘The Godfather,’ his Emmy-nominated turn in ‘Brian’s Song,’ his surprising take in ‘Misery,’ the audience favorite ‘Elf’ and the television hit ‘Las Vegas.’ But he will be able to relate to independent filmmakers, as he has also starred in independent and lesser-known movies, including ‘This Is My Father,’ ‘Luckytown’ and ‘Jericho Mansion.’ Here is our interview with actor James Caan.
SY: Openfilm.com was launched as a venue for filmmakers to showcase their movies on the internet. The website also serves as a social networking community for these filmmakers to interact with viewers, and for bloggers to share their production knowledge and industry news. As the chairman for Openfilm, why do you think it’s important for filmmakers to have such a website?
JC: Aside from what you’ve already mentioned, our building relationship with all the film festivals (which as you know is an important ingredient to all independent filmmakers). The most important thing to independent filmmakers, I believe, is the need for it to be seen. Besides the advance online technology, we have a distribution network of 12 million people worldwide that is steadily growing. Lastly, we are giving large cash prizes quarterly, and once annually towards future projects.
SY: Why did you, your son Scott (who is an Advisory Board Member and serves as Openfilm’s Chief Creative Officer), Advisory Board Member Robert Duvall and Advisory Board Member (director, producer and actor) Mark Rydell decide to get involved with Openfilm? What is it like working with them?
JC: To the first part of your question: we all have the same passion for discovering new talent, actors and directors alike. To the second part: my son is my son, and Mark and Bobby are not only dear friends, but both people I highly respect.
SY: As the chairman for Openfilm you will be mentoring the next generation of filmmakers by judging their submissions and serving as a judge to its competitions. What advice do you have for young filmmakers just starting out who are considering taking part in what the website has to offer?
JC: In reference to your first statement, all our members in conjunction with the advisory board will serve as judges. As far as advice: work with your heart and tell a story.
SY: What will you base your critiques on? What sorts of characteristics/traits should these filmmakers include in their movies?
JC: Quality, integrity, and talent.
SY: You have won acclaim for many of your bigger film and television roles, including 1972’s ‘The Godfather,’ 1974’s ‘The Godfather Part II,’ 1990’s ‘Misery’ and 2003’s ‘Elf.’ How is working on these films different from working on smaller, independent movies?
JC: Obviously, time is a great luxury – as in “haste makes waste”. Usually you have a more experienced production staff, extremely well-versed crews, time to make things prettier and better, and the ability to fix mistakes after they happen. It’s easier. And you eat better, too.
SY: While you have starred in bigger budget and more popular movies, others, including 1987’s ‘Garden of Stone,’ had a limited release and garnered smaller amounts of money. How should filmmakers looking to post on Openfilm deal with the prospect that not all of their works will become blockbuster hits?
JC: No one person can tell you what will or will not be a blockbuster hit. Just think of making the best film you possibly can. If everything clicks, the money will follow. Have faith.
SY: After working on Openfilm, do you have an interest in starring in independent movies in the future? Why or why not?
JC: I too try to work with my heart. So if there is something I want to do or am passionate about, I’ll do it. That includes cartoons. Thank you.
Written by: Karen Benardello