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Showing posts from March, 2011

Words + Images = "Make The Film"

For this post, I thought I'd let your eyes AND ears have a go at it. In the video below I've juxtaposed images from Stan Brakhage 's Black Ice with interview audio of Harmony Korine from the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival . Consider it another "call to arms" for the emerging wave of new independent digital filmmakers and content creators. Now watch.

DIY Screenings & Niche Film Festivals

Last week when I wrote of the importance of online peer-to-peer content curation , I forgot to mention that we shouldn't lose sight of the communal experience of moviewatching. In fact, because the general mass-going film festival experience has grown too big for its own good, now is the perfect time for to seek or create some niche programmed (underground) film festivals. For example take MoFest , a weekend long festival ( April 16-17 at the Portage Theater in Chicago ) that focuses on the works created by industry folk from the Midwest. This fest describes itself as being "dedicated to the hardest working film crew in the world. We are the people who assist, grip, light, record, prepare, style, sweep, scout, iron, paint, cook, edit, design, drive, sweat, and bleed for other directors’ projects. Now it's time for OUR creativity to take center stage!” A festival like MoFest is the direct offspring of a festival-programming universe that has lost footing with i

Shoot and Shoot and Shoot

Anyone who knows my shooting style knows that I'm not a fan of tripods. To me, most static "pretty" shots that I see from other indie filmmakers represent an analogy for an elusive Hollywood-esue model of moviemaking. Ever been on a student film set and notice how much of the day goes to laboring over a shot that really doesn't grab you in the end? We go to the movies and are swept away by the big budget vistas and then for some reason we're convinced that our camcorder, a tripod and a light set will accomplish the same feel. And when it doesn't, we're surprised. But we shouldn't be. At the end of the day, it's all about the content of what we're trying to show, say or provoke in an audience. So instead of trying to mimic or recreate a sense of grandness without the necessary resources (like an outrageous Hollywood budget for example), why not create our own language for the cinema? Let Hollywood make Sucker Punch . We'll instead focus on

The Real Struggle For Indies: Content Curation

A common oversight in our creative field is the curation of GOOD or STIMULATING content. Social media platforms like Vimeo give us all megaphones that can sometimes create more white noise in our arena; this can hinder the validity of an emerging new wave of indie filmmaking because there is such a high flux of content coming and going. The bottom line is that most online content (video, film) is quite bad. And not bad in an intentionally volatile or spiteful way. It's just that everyone is putting everything online. So where do you go? How do you compete with the dancing cat videos when your content is a 7-minute silent film? The key is going to be in the "micro"-curation among the independents . It's going to involve some meticulous cross-promotion of engaging or interesting works by our peers. This is harder than it sounds. The reason is that much of our time is already dedicated to actually creating content and then promoting ourselves as branded entities o

The Notion Of Independent Group Distribution--Can It Work?

Independent writer and director Ben Hicks forwarded me his recently published mammoth of an article titled " The Evolution of Film Independence " and his call for a new industry of indie distribution is both compelling--and capable of happening. "So what is Independent (group) Distribution? Independent (group) Distribution is when a team of independent filmmakers unite under one Film Collective, in order to effectively distribute their collective works. A Film Collective is nothing more than a trademarked name and logo that the Film Collective’s members share. No one is the owner of the Film Collective and the Film Collective does not own any of the films, the filmmakers do. Each filmmaker is only responsible for their films and are not involved creatively or financially with any other filmmaker’s work. Each Film Collective member must have their own production company from which each individual filmmaker’s films are produced through and which any

What Our Micro Industry Needs: More Story Drivers

Pillars are integral instruments to sustaining viable foundations. I'm not telling you anything new there. Yet, in our arena of DIY moviemaking, culture refining and trendsetting, this idea of "pillars" is becoming more of a dire thirst and essential element.The reason is because it's easy to get lost in all the hub bub of day-to-day developments in our new media landscape. Whether it's a new viable force on the distribution front or an aggressive hypothesis on how to crack the current distrib-infrastructure, what we usually are presented with is solely "situation." What we need more of are calculated perspectives and forward-thinking game-plans . Film Courage offered some useful feedback on the recent DIY Days but what we must never take for granted are the bullhorn-grabbing orators and innovators who are sharing their story. Below are two presentations that I consider to be essential viewings. The first is by Michael Margolis , the guru be

Today's Movie: A Cultural Collective Narrative

"The issue of ‘convergence’ is having a significant impact on micro-budget feature film-makers. It is opening up vast new possibilities to profile and distribute work alongside established industry methods ."  That's the potent opening line in a resourceful post hosted by Film London 's microbudget-film-centered platform Microwave . Cross-promotion and intuitive marketing schemes have become popular staples of indie filmmaking and why not? It's hard enough to get your film financed, so being able to attract outside capital from branded franchises is a welcomed feat. The hard part is being able to embed these products carefully within your work; I mean, you're still making your piece of art, not a ho-hum corporate commercial. Still, free services like Product Place Me! give filmmakers the opportunity to get clever with their sponsors' products. But cross-promotion in filmmaking is just one avenue of a larger "Cultural Convergence"

"I Think This World Would Be Unlivable Without Art"

In the wake of a tepid  Oscar  telecast and the mass media channels becoming flooded with fashion and gossip centered content, I thought I'd point my fellow indie filmmakers to some powerful words. They come in  Steven Soderbergh 's concise and stirring acceptance speech from winning the  Best Director  Oscar for  Traffic . To this day, it remains one of the more memorable speeches and  reaffirms the validity of our artistic drive .