Written by Rob Feld INDIE MEANS
Strange Love for Indie WRITING PARTNERS IRA SACHS AND MAURICIO ZACHARIAS FIND THAT LOVE IS STRANGE.
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ndependent film is dead,” cries Ira Sachs over the construction noise coming from Little Italy below. “Long live indie film!” Sachs has been around long enough to see the evaporation of the companies that supported and financed the sort of films he made. To survive, he’s been clever and safely adjusts to the grim new world. “Long-term, there are no sustainable careers for an independent art filmmaker,” Sachs declares. “The death of the independent film business—not independent film—took me a while to understand, internalize, and confront head-on. It ultimately led to the creation of Keep the Lights On,” the first film on which he and co-writer Mauricio Zacharias collaborated, inspired by a fraught relationship from Sachs’ past. “It was made differently than my previous films in terms of how I understood the possibilities of financing.” Sachs had become involved as an organizer in the gay community, which he found enriching both creatively and economically. “I’ve created a network of relationships that makes it possible for me to make movies,” he says of his financial base. Sachs and Zacharias are now in the scripting phase of their third consecutive film together, with their second, Love Is Strange, picked up for distribution by Sony Classics at Sundance and currently in theaters. The film is a love story of a couple, Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina), who, after 38 years living together, seize the opportunity provided by changes in matrimonial law to formally “legitimize” their union. Their bliss is short-lived, however, as George is fired from his job at a Catholic high school for marrying a man. The circumstance makes their New York apartment unaffordable and the two must separate—temporarily, they assume—and bunk with friends and family while they regroup and search for a new home.
Mauricio Zacharias (seated) and Ira Sachs
The first image Zacharias says he had for Love Is Strange came from Sachs’ description of his elderly uncle, an artist like Ben, who had been in a relationship for a long time. “We wanted to talk about that type of relationship, 40 or 50 years together,” he says, “mature and peaceful because it |
is toward the last phase of their lives. It is rare for couples to look back and feel that they would do it all over again.” Along with a news story of a man who had been fired for marrying his partner, they also had the tradition of the “remarriage comedy”: Philadelphia Story, Adam’s Rib, The Palm Beach Story.