Over the past few years, television's begun to challenge film as the preeminent outlet for American storytelling, the breadth of interest and means of distribution at an all-time high for a medium that can no longer be looked at as of inferior artistic merit. While mainstream film is driven far more by a focus on box office receipts than quality, the small screen has quietly matched (and in some cases usurped) Hollywood as a vehicle for both widespread popularity and artistic dignity. And as industry interest in and funding for mid-budget films wanes, TV has become an ever more attractive place for independent filmmakers looking to work with more resources and to have a platform to which millions of homes across the country have easy access.
In a panel discussion last night in Los Angeles presented by Indiewire and the New York Television Festival, speakers from diverse corners of the entertainment industry gathered to discuss the changing tide of the TV industry, and how in many cases indie filmmakers have looked to cable and network platforms to realize projects that might otherwise languish in cinematic purgatory. The panelists were Susie Fitzgerald, AMC's SVP of scripted programming; Ray McKinnon, the creator/executive producer of Sundance Channel's upcoming drama "Rectify"; and Tom Young, a scripted TV agent at CAA. Indiewire's Dana Harris served as the moderator. Here's what we learned: