They may not have a lot of Color at the moment, but, the methods of the Mumblecore filmmakers are relevant to up and coming minority filmmakers
There are several reasons for writing about Mumblecore, some too esoteric & distracting-for-the-topic-at-hand (such as my "theory of no race"), but there is one very good, relevant to minority, foreign, & third-world/emerging world filmmakers reason to keep an eye on the Mumblescene; they have, using easily doable techniques (more on that below) overcome limitations and obstacles that keep people (including minorities) from making & distributing movies.
But before we go too far let's tackle an objection/excuse that some minority filmmakers have put forth re: the success (a relative thing in indie film, but getting 2 weeks or so for their films at the IFC Center & oodles of press qualifies as a success for me) of Mumblecore; that being that the Mumblecore filmmakers are able to do what they have done only because they are "white".
I would say that this is not so. Although I can't think of a similar filmmaking group that is either heavily multi-ethnic or a collection of individuals from one or two minority groups, there does exist a significant number of well known & supported (by audiences & institutions) minority filmmakers in film/indie film. To name a few; Ang Lee, Spike Lee, Wayne Wang, Mira Nair, Jon Moritsugu, Robert Rodriguez, Greg Pak, Gene Cajayon, James Spooner. Were several minority filmmakers to get in touch with each other and decide to promote themselves under a group label, with the help of their blogger & film festival programmer friends, that act alone would guarantee extra publicity and opportunities for the filmmakers, as it has to Mumblecore filmmakers - I believe.
But before various individual minority filmmakers can get to the point of forming coalitions, films have to be made, here Mumblecore points to some great ideas:
- shoot cheap; Mumblecore movies - features - have been made for less than $5,000
- use what you have easy access to - yourself, your stuff, your friends, your city, etc.
- promote yourself; several Mumblecore filmmakers have blogged/or do & keep interested people updated with their MySpace pages
- make it fun & nice - even though one may not be a fan of a given Mumblecore title, in press the filmmakers sound like a bunch of fun/nice people to hang out with; which attracts people, including press people who want to explore that angle in their articles
- self-distribute - the most successful Mumblecore movies so far have engaged in self-distribution to various degrees. at least, judging by their past, most Mumblecore filmmakers are not opposed to or uncomfortable with self-distribution
- be willing to experiment both creatively & distribution business decision making wise; work with start-ups or try working with novel ways to attempt to generate revenue from your movie
There are of course countless other indie filmmakers who have done/do the things that Mumblecore filmmakers do to get their work done & out, but at the moment the indie spotlight is on this one group, and this is a good time to grab some tips & think about adapting them to your own needs - whether you are a minority filmmaker, a female filmmaker, a poor filmmaker, whatever.
Even though the works may be of various creative & entertainment value, and even though at the moment the group is heavily "white" & male, keeping an eye on Mumblecore is valuable to other indie filmmakers because they (Mumblecore) are low budget filmmakers and their story/how they do things offers ideas that might be useful to filmmakers of various ethnic backgrounds & genders & even nationalities in getting their own films made & out.