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Yeah, don't worry about that Mark Gill speech too much, fear is mostly a Hollywood thing

Yes, some divisions - the "indiewood" ones - of Hollywood may be in trouble, as Mark Gill spoke of in his recent speech; but, the list of problems don't really affect real indie filmmakers. See the indieWIRE article for Gill's list of woes in their full & original version; I'll just offer a brief version of each "sky is falling" item & my brief thoughts about each as it relates to real indie film:

1: Re: Picturehouse and Warner Independent closing

That's an indiewood thing, does not affect real indie filmmaking & distribution.

2: Re: New Line's staff cut

Again, an indiewood thing.

3: Re: Paramount Vantage

Another indiewood thing.

4: Re: Sidney Kimmel

Another indiewood thing (i think, not too familiar with SK).

5: Re: ThinkFilm's financial troubles, lawsuits, etc.

Now we are bordering on the real indie world. Hopefully Think & filmmakers, vendors will work out their problems (meaning people owed money will get paid eventually).

6: Re: Another five companies in financial trouble

Which companies? More indiewood places?

7: Re: Wall Street money to Hollywood drying up

That's a Hollywood problem. Not relevant to real indie filmmakers. Actually, Hollywood only focusing on the tent pole movies, etc. will be good for real indie filmmakers - the smaller/character driven movies for grown ups will be made by off-Hollywood filmmakers when Hollywood no longer wants to make & sell those.

8: Re: 5000 movies got made last year, 603 released theatrically

That's cool. There is always space for more. Real indie films mostly screen at festivals or DIY screenings at alternative spaces or at theaters that are slanted towards real indie stuff. Hollywood theaters having too many Hollywood & indiewood movies to show is not a problem for real indie filmmakers.

9. Re: rising advertising costs

We have blogs.

10: Re: other entertainment options

That's cool. People looking for good movies will still find them.

11: Re: most American independent films not selling well overseas.

That's cool. There's 300 MILLION people here in America - that's a lot of people. Just 10,000 or so customers can make a real indie film a financial success.

12: Re: indie film financiers exiting the business

That's cool, most real indie films are mostly self-funded anyway.

13: Re: the rising cost of theatrically releasing a movie

Most real indie films don't get a theatrical release, they get festivals, other screenings, & then on to DVD, etc.

So, real indie filmmakers, don't worry about people whose biz model is based on Hollywood freaking out about changes; grab your MiniDV camera, grab some talented & underemployed actors, write that great & or very interesting script, shoot your movie for somewhere between nothing and $10K or so, submit to festivals, do other screenings, sell DVDs, be happy, & repeat.

The sky is not falling for real indie filmmakers. There is no sky/limit/limitations that can hold real indie filmmakers back at this point (all you need is a day job for $s + a DV camera + time). People have been making off-Hollywood, actual indie films under much tougher conditions for decades. Now is a great time to be a real indie filmmaker; the Hollywood & indiewood people will find other things to do if & when their biz model becomes outdated, no doubt (and I think they are a little bit paranoid at the moment, as long as theft/illegal DVDs & downloading is curbed, H-wood should continue to be a popular & profitable business; lots of people in this world have loved Hollywood movies for close to a hundred years).

Hollywood & indiewood are not necessary for making & showing/selling movies. Even if those two elements of the entertainment economy close down, there will still be movies made & shown by people - specially by people who, at the moment, are driven to make movies even when they are far outside of Hollywood - yeah, the real indie types. So, no worries. The sky is just fine for us.

- Sujewa


Sabyesachi said…
What the heck is Indiewood? And real people are losing jobs - why are you so dismissive? And what, exactly, is "real" indepenent film? Have you defined it? I'm just curious, that's all.
The Sujewa said…
Hi Sabyesachi,

Indiewood is Hollywood companies creating divisions to make movies that are similar to independent movies (made outside of Hollywood, first gaining prominence in recent times with the 80's debuted filmmakers such as Jim Jarmusch, Spike Lee, & also similar to some foreign movies - stuff that Hollywood did not produce & sell in any significant way in the late 60's to late 80's period). Many of the companies that Gill speaks about in his speech are indiewood companies.

Yes, no matter what type of business it is (as long as it is legal & not evil) people losing jobs is bad news. However, we do live in a country with 300 million or so people; most of whom, I think, like movies, and movies are still very popular world wide. Hopefully people who lose jobs in Hollywood/indiewood will find other meaningful & well paid work - whether in the film world or outside of it.

Real independent movies are movies made outside of Hollywood; without Hollywood or large companies backing them to the tune of millions of dollars, without guarantee or even eventual Hollywood distribution, and without
using Hollywood actors. Real independent film has always existed in America - first with people such as Oscar Micheaux (kept out of Hollywood due to racism), then the first wave of well known independent filmmakers in the 60's - of whom Cassavettes was one (granted he made his money by acting in indie movies), and then early works on people such as John Waters, John Sayles, Spike Lee, etc. Down the line to thousands of people who make low-budget, non-Hollywood movies - fiction & doc - short & feature - now; movies that mostly play at festivals or screenings arranged by the filmmakers or other interested parties such as programmers of certain theaters, and see a broader exhibition life on DVD, etc. Some recent real indie titles: Afro-Punk, Quiet City, Robot Stories (though there was some H-wood participation in that), Dance Party USA, Medicine for Melancholy, my own Date Number One,
Kicking Bird, Mutual Appreciation,
The Puffy Chair, Scum Rock.

Hollywood getting out of the art/indie/foreign type movie making biz because it does not make enough money for them is not really a big deal, as far as I am concerned, for the art/entertainment form and for people who are actual independent filmmakers who want to use the medium of film to tell stories - whether they are supported by established companies/Hollywood, etc. or not.

Recently I've seen a couple of sites that mostly focus on indie film; the real/non-Hollywood part, as well as Hollywood supported indies/indiewood accept Gills words at face value as something that applies across the board to all indie filmmakers - that is not the case - the stuff that Gill is talking about are mostly indiewood problems. With the mushrooming of film festival, affordability of digital filmmaking, heavy use of DVDs as a home ent. format, developments in web based distribution, now is still a very good time for filmmakers who want to work outside of Hollywood; perhaps the best time ever.

Let me know if you have any other questions about the post. Thanks.

- Sujewa
Sabyesachi said…
Wow. Damn good response. Thanks! Especially the distinctions between the divisions between indiewood and hollywood. I'll let you know if I have more questions. Thanks again.
The Sujewa said…
No problem, thanks for the interest.

Also, re: "of whom Cassavettes was one (granted he made his money by acting in indie movies)," in an earlier comment of mine, that "acting in indie movies" should read "acting in Hollywood movies", typed that before i had my AM coffee :)

- Sujewa
tom said…
hey sujewa,

I've been thinking about this very thing a good deal lately - like alternative music in the late 90's, the cool factor of independent film is dying down after a long span since Sex, Lies, and Videotape and the dynamic is swiftly changing. In the end, it could allow new voices to develop and create stronger filmmakers on the fringe. it would have been nice to have the stability of a larger infrastructure, but the emphasis is now returning to true independence.

keep up the good work.

The Sujewa said…
Hey Tom,

Thanks for swinging by the blog, & congrats on all the successes being enjoyed by your movie New Year Parade, looking forward to checking it out at some point.

"I've been thinking about this very thing a good deal lately - like alternative music in the late 90's, the cool factor of independent film is dying down"

I don't think so. For the general audience, I think the cool factor is increasing, as visible by the increased interest in indie film fests.

"...after a long span since Sex, Lies, and Videotape and the dynamic is swiftly changing. In the end, it could allow new voices to develop and create stronger filmmakers on the fringe."

Because of the web, there won't really be a fringe anymore - stuff will be available to people who know where to look for it on the web.

" would have been nice to have the stability of a larger infrastructure,"

I don't know if Hollywood ever provided such an infrastructure to indie filmmakers. Such a thing however is being built on the web through blogs & other communities.

"...but the emphasis is now returning to true independence."

I think all 3 areas - Hollywood, indiewood, & real indie will continue on. With, as you said, an increase in real indie activities.

- Sujewa

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