Last week we brought Paul Schrader to Toronto to present a screening of Taxi Driver and an exclusive clip from his upcoming film, The Canyons, to a sold out house. The screening was followed by a live conversation and Q&A where Paul was typically candid, revealing that IFC purchased his micro-budget Lohan-led film, The Canyons, for a whopping $1 million and that his next film, which will be a more traditional production with thematic similarities to his Lonely Man Trilogy films – will star Nicolas Cage.
The clip embedded below is an excerpt from that conversation: an expansive account of the inception, production and conceptualization of The Canyons (2013). This portion was especially important to Paul, who requested ahead of time to have a few moments to really get into the significance of the film in today’s “post-empire” culture — both broadly speaking and as a reflection of how cinema’s production, distribution and exhibition have drastically changed.
On the impetus for taking a new approach: “I thought I could ride the old broken horse of cinema into a kind-of sunset, but in fact that horse broke down so fast that it never made it to the sunset. It became clear that if I was going to finish out my career making films, I was going to have to re-think how it was done.”
On whether or not he would make another film the way he made The Canyons (crowdsourcing, micro-budget, etc.): “We got very lucky. Is this a repeatable thing? I’m not quite sure. Part of me says, “wow, we pulled it off”. You know, we sold the film to IFC for a million bucks so everybody’s in profit. The film hasn’t even come out yet. But in some ways I also feel like I walked into a casino and put my house on red and won. And the stupidest thing I could do is make a second bet because you’re never gonna win that second bet”.
Given Schrader’s confidence and the slick clip he screened that night at The Royal, we’re looking forward to checking out The Canyons. A new, un-filtered trailer (which we saw on Paul’s iPhone and is impressive) will be released soon.
Check out a full recap of our Live Directors Series event with Paul Schrader HERE.