06/01/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Why I Support First-Time Filmmakers and the Importance of Celebrating Their Work

When I began Xingu Films more than 15 years ago, I was driven by the need to take control of my own career, rather than sit at home waiting for my agent to call. As a first-time producer, I suddenly had to learn a great deal in a short amount of time, but I was lucky enough to have many friends and contacts who could point me in the right direction. Most first-time filmmakers are not so lucky. So it has become almost a mission on my part for Xingu Films to search for fresh young writers and directors, nurture their talents and skills, and provide them with the chance to break through into the film industry and launch their careers.

Over the years, I've been fortunate enough to play an instrumental role in bringing to the screen some tremendous projects by some of today's finest and most exciting directors, including Guy Ritchie (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels) and Dito Montiel (A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints). There has been something special in each of them, the stories they wanted to tell and their willingness to work tirelessly to engage the audience, even with limited resources. Duncan Jones has that same passion, creativity and drive.

Duncan came to me with the screenplay of Moon, the story of which he had conceived and then co-written with Nathan Parker. It was pitched as a science fiction film, which to me often signals a rather masculine preoccupation with special effects. However, I soon realized that this was a different kind of sci-fi. Psychological drama drives the narrative of this movie, which I think is hugely appealing to a female audience. If Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus, they can have a meeting of minds watching Moon! Duncan's vision has made this possible. His ease with the camera and his intelligent direction of the actors has brought an independent sci-fi film to life.

Few people would relish producing a science fiction film on a budget of only $5 million, but that's what I love--the challenge of telling a story with the resources available. With that kind of budget for this kind of film, you have to be prepared to get your hands dirty--looking for pockets of money all the way through to the very end of post-production, begging for favours, stretching our resourcefulness to the max. It's exciting. Each film is a new beginning, each director a new collaboration and a new opportunity to invest in the futures of gifted and creative people.

This excitement is unique to working with first-time filmmakers. And festivals like Tribeca are so important, because they allow companies like mine to showcase new talent to a greater audience, and one who'll be prepared to embrace it. I'm very proud to say that Moon was received very warmly at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, and will be on nationwide release this summer through Sony Pictures Classics. I hope you'll take some chances on movie night and see not only the big studio titles but also some independents - these are the hidden jewels of the film industry, and the showcases for the future greats of cinema.

Note: Moon premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. It screens this week at the Tribeca Film Festival and opens in theaters on June 12. Moon will be distributed domestically by Sony Pictures Classics.