Iconoclastic director/provocateur Oliver Stone was presented with the Gotham Award Tribute at the Gotham Awards last night. He told young filmmakers during his acceptance speech, "I’d point out to those of you who are struggling to be independent and to stay independent, that’s the hard part, staying independent, I’d like to remind you that you can be critical. You can be critical of your government, and we’ve forgotten that."
He also said, "The 1970s can come back, if you embody that in your own work"—the 1970s are considered the golden era of American filmmaking—"So don’t go easy on what you think is wrong. Think internationally. There are other values beside our little echo bowl we have there." From Indiewire:
Stone, whose most recent film is the Joseph Gordon-Levitt-starring Edward Snowden feature film “Snowden,” also pointed to some of the lessons he learned while making that film to rally filmmakers to continue to make bold, forward-thinking work in an uncertain time.
“Sometimes there is bad news,” Stone said. “As Mr. Snowden said very clearly, that the mechanism is in place now so that when there is another terror attack, which inevitably there probably will be in this country, the next president, whoever he may be, will have the authority to really close down the system in most oppressive way than it’s ever been.”
Stone also has an unreleased 2003 documentary about Fidel Castro that you can watch here.
The Gotham Awards, hosted by the Independent Filmmaking Project, are given to independent film and TV projects. Keegan-Michael Key was the emcee, and he joked that Stone was taking "time off from writing [his] Trump screenplay…Please tell me you’re doing that," and suggested some titles: "JFKKK," "Natural Born Killers 2," "W Wasn’t That Bad After All" and "Wall Tweet."
Politics were referenced throughout the evening; presenter Damian Lewis joked about the Audience Award, "The film that receives the most votes is the winner! What a brilliant idea!" And writer-director Barry Jenkins, whose Moonlight, a critically acclaimed coming-of-age about a gay African-American man, won the Audience and Best Screenplay and Feature Awards, said, "These are marginal people and marginal lives. It’s [great] there’s a platform to center these stories, because they’re needed now more than ever."