Sofia Coppola is embracing the “freedom” of independent filmmaking, despite the “challenge” of bootstrapping financing.

The “Priscilla” auteur told the BBC that she would “never” be able to execute her filmmaking vision if she had a “lot of input from studio executives” with studio films even if it came with bigger production budgets.

“There’s a challenge and a freedom in making things small because if you have a big budget, you have a lot of input from studio executives, and I would never be able to make a movie like that,” Coppola said. “So I have that freedom.”

She added, particularly of indie film “Priscilla,” “You have to be really crafty and it was really hard but I had the best team…we were able to re-use sets and I don’t know how we made so many costumes! It was all hands on deck and just having really creative department heads.”

The A24 feature that charts Priscilla Presley’s (Cailee Spaeny) romance with Elvis Presley (Jacob Elordi) over the span of a decade had less than a $20 million budget. Coppola had to compromise about shooting digitally and having a shorter production schedule.

“I would have liked to shoot on film, but we shot digitally because we had to move so fast,” Coppola said.

The “Lost in Translation” director addressed “fighting” for financing as an indie female filmmaker, saying, “I just see all these men getting hundreds of millions of dollars and then I’m fighting for a tiny fraction of that. I think it’s just left over from the way the culture of that business is. It’s frustrating but I’m always fighting to get it and I’m just happy to get to make my movies independently and find people that believe in them. I’m happy there are more and more women directors, but it’s still such a small percentage.”

Coppola added that it was “really important to me to be able to show a female perspective” with “Priscilla,” as with all of Coppola’s filmography.

“It was tricky to get the tone right because I didn’t want it to feel creepy,” Coppola said of the Presley love story. “I wanted it to be from her point of view, being romantic, but I had to turn off the side of my brain that’s a mother and an adult. She’s a young girl with Elvis, this rock star and what would that feel like? So you have to shift perspectives. I just always tried to go back to Priscilla’s experience and I thought if I could just show it through her perspective and suspend judgement, then hopefully after the movie it invites conversation.”

“Priscilla” producer Lorenzo Mieli told IndieWire that financing “Priscilla” was “not an easy moment” despite Coppola’s star power.

“We had to explore many creative ways of putting that movie together,” Mieli said. “It’s Sofia Coppola and ‘Priscilla’ is undeniable. Sofia is Sofia. But people felt that after last year, when many of these movies didn’t succeed at the box office, everyone was scared. Nowadays, you need to find someone who can believe in the whole life of a movie and not just a few weeks of the release. […] It’s very hard to sell eccentric films in the traditional way to studios.”

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