Oppenheimer is one of the biggest movies of 2023, it’s a heavy favorite to win a lot of Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director, and star Cillian Murphy is in a heated competition with Paul Giamatti for Best Actor. 


But before all that, Cillian is at the Berlinale, introducing his new film to the world. Small Things Like These opened the Berlin Film Festival last night, with Cillian and his Oppenheimer co-star Matt Damon on hand. Cillian stars in and produced the film, which is an adaptation of Claire Keegan’s novel of the same name. Matt Damon is also a producer, along with Ben Affleck (who stayed behind in LA). 


The film is financed through Matt and Ben’s Artists Equity shingle, which seeks to create greater equity in productions amongst filmmakers and artists (Air was produced the same way). Matt and Ben have been through it all in this industry, and I do appreciate they’ve come out the other side trying to make things even a little bit better for others. They don’t always say the right thing—Matt especially—but when given the opportunity, they created a production company with the specific goal of increasing profit participation among the people who actually make the film. 


Artists Equity is only in its second year of output, but I am SO interested to see what they can accomplish, and if this is a model other production companies can adopt (same as I am watching Jim Cummings and his efforts to encourage filmmakers to work outside the studio system entirely). The entertainment industry has always been a business of ups and downs, but the last decade has exposed some serious rot at the core of the business model, from streaming decimating revenue streams to hyper-conglomeration sucking all the risk and creativity out of mainstream filmmaking (that’s why Barbie was such a shock to the system last year, it’s a genuinely weird studio movie). If ANYONE can carve out space for filmmakers to take chances and create more economic stability and equity while they’re at it, I’m for it. 


Here is Cillian at the premiere of Small Things Like These last night, along with Matt Damon, Emily Watson, Eileen Walsh, and director Tim Mielants. Ben Affleck is pictured in Los Angeles, along with iced coffee.