IndieWire Honors Video: Cary Fukunaga Explains Why TV and Film is ‘100% Blended Now’

On November 1, the 2018 IndieWire Honors ceremony celebrated eight filmmakers and actors for their achievement in creative independence. We’re showcasing their work with new interviews conducted right before they accepted their awards at the event.

Few working storytellers today have embodied the growing merger of TV and film better than Cary Fukunaga. At the epicenter of that crumbling format divide through projects like “True Detective” and most recently “Maniac,” Fukunaga now has the perspective to say that those old distinctions are pretty much gone.

“I think it’s definitely 100% blended now,” Fukunaga told IndieWire.

Citing the work of fellow Netflix creator Alfonso Cuarón, Fukunaga pointed to “Roma” (what he calls “a major cinematic work”) as a key example of how what constitutes “cinema” is blurring, even outside the confines of episodic storytelling.

“Once you have great filmmakers like him crossing over, and the way in which people consume the story [comes] from so many different devices and platforms, what is ‘cinema,’ what is ‘television,’ what is ‘streaming’ anymore? It’s really difficult to apply,” Fukunaga said. “You definitely have old-guard people trying to hold on to labels that don’t really apply anymore.

Alluding to the forthcoming news that he and David Lowery would be teaming up on a TV adaptation of the Joe Dante film “Explorers,” Fukunaga followed his own assertions, saying that his plan will be to hop between features and episodic as long as he has the chance.

“I have a couple projects that I want to do that are definitely for the streaming television world, just because of the length of the stories. I think I’ll just keep going back and forth, wherever makes the most sense for the story,” Fukunaga said.

Fukunaga received this year’s Auteur Award, a label he’s grateful for, but insists his superlative work doesn’t come without collaboration from people at every department level and the overall framework to help make it happen.

“On the authorship side of things, it’s always great when someone gives you the reins, whether it’s a studio or a financier, to make something that is that vision that’s inside your head,” Fukunaga said.

“Maniac,” his latest foray into TV, was conceived of as a 10-episode limited series. Scratching the surface of so many different alternate realities gave him plenty of new visual outlets to explore in his future work.

“There’s so many worlds we could have continued exploring. It just fed the fire more than anything to keep looking in different styles of filmmaking and different storytelling,” Fukunaga said.

One such potential avenue is his upcoming James Bond film. After a surprise announcement, Fukunaga now has the reins of one of the world’s most potent franchises. So far he’s gotten plenty of support from his inner circle, but has learned to largely block out the rest.

“I don’t have any Google alerts on myself. That’s probably a good thing,” Fukunaga said. “So I don’t really know how people reacted, because I don’t really want to hear any negative perspective on it. Amongst my friends and stuff, everyone’s really excited. I’m obviously very excited to be digging into it.

Watch the full interview with IndieWire Executive Editor Michael Schneider below:

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