AFI Fest: 8 Acting Contenders from 2018 Indies Compare Experiences

Eight performers who did standout work in 2018 independent films participated Sunday in the fifth annual AFI Fest Indie Contenders Panel, presented by The Hollywood Reporter: Willem Dafoe (lead actor, At Eternity's Gate), Richard E. Grant (supporting actor, Can You Ever Forgive Me?), Kathryn Hahn (lead actress, Private Life), Felicity Jones (lead actress, On the Basis of Sex), Joanna Kulig (lead actress, Cold War), Thomasin McKenzie (supporting actress, Leave No Trace), Rosamund Pike (lead actress, A Private War) and John C. Reilly (lead actor, Stan & Ollie and The Sisters Brothers).

As you can see in the video atop this post, the five actresses and three actors spoke over the course of a 90-minute conversation — in front of an audience of 200 in the Blossom Room of the historic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel (the same room in which the first Oscars ceremony took place) — about a wide range of topics. Among them: how they came to their 2018 indies, how indies have factored into their careers in the past, the pros and cons of making and promoting indies versus studio films, and more.

If you enjoy watching this year's panel and would like to check out any of the prior editions, you can do so below.

The 2017 panel featured Sean Baker (co-writer/director, The Florida Project), Richard Gere (lead actor, Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer), Salma Hayek (lead actress, Beatriz at Dinner), Diane Kruger (lead actress, In the Fade), Kumail Nanjiani (co-writer/lead actor, The Big Sick), Robert Pattinson (lead actor, Good Time), Margot Robbie (lead actress, I, Tonya) and Lois Smith (supporting actress, Marjorie Prime).

The 2016 panel featured Kate Beckinsale (lead actress, Love & Friendship), Adam Driver (lead actor, Paterson), Sally Field (lead actress, Hello, My Name Is Doris), Rebecca Hall (lead actress, Christine), Margo Martindale (supporting actress, The Hollars), Viggo Mortensen (lead actor, Captain Fantastic), Ruth Negga (lead actress, Loving), Chris Pine (lead actor, Hell or High Water) and Miles Teller (lead actor, Bleed for This).

The 2015 panel featured Ramin Bahrani (writer-director, 99 Homes), Blythe Danner (lead actress, I'll See You in My Dreams), Saoirse Ronan (lead actress, Brooklyn), Jason Segel (supporting actor, The End of the Tour), Sarah Silverman (lead actress, I Smile Back), Lily Tomlin (lead actress, Grandma) and Olivia Wilde (lead actress-producer, Meadowland).

And the 2014 panel featured J.C. Chandor (writer-director, A Most Violent Year), Damien Chazelle (writer-director, Whiplash), Marion Cotillard (lead actress, Two Days, One Night), Jake Gyllenhaal (lead actor, Nightcrawler), Bill Hader (lead actor, The Skeleton Twins), Michelle Monaghan (actress, Fort Bliss), Kristen Stewart (supporting actress, Still Alice and Clouds of Sils Maria) and Tilda Swinton (lead actress, Snowpiercer).