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Back when I started this blog in October (oh so long ago, eh?), my short term goal was to help filmmakers not be misguided as to what a festival, even Sundance, could do for their film. We posted a bunch about film festival strategy and it is all collected here.
Jon Reiss writes:
18.A feature film is no longer defined as a singular linear narrative told in under two hours. Filmmakers are recognizing the need to extend the filmic world beyond the traditional confines. Whether this is in Judd Apatow’s YouTube shorts for KNOCKED UP or in Wes Anderson’s prologue short for THE DARJEELING EXPRESS, the beginning of new models have emerged helping filmmakers continue the conversation forward with their audiences.
19.New models for production are being utilized. The most widely noted in this regard is “crowdsourced” work. Massify has recently brought together the horror film Perkins 14. This year brought us Matt Hanson’s and A Swarm Of Angels open sourced / free culture start-up THE UNFOLD; the trailer is mysterious (see below) and I am looking forward to the feature. These massive collaborative works are the ultimate union between audience and creator.
20. Grassroots has come to distribution. The Living Room Theater model advanced by Robert Greenwald’s Brave New Theaters empowers audience members and filmmakers alike bringing them together and invested in each others success. Filmmakers give the audience more power and control, and audiences recognize that they have to fight to preserve the culture they want. The Micro Cinema Movement‘s been at it longer and is still going strong.
21. The independent art house theaters are organizing. Sundance is hosting the first Art House Convergence this year prior to the festival, helping to build the knowledge base of these theaters and enhance their collaboration. This platform will be key to preserving the theaterical experience for films outside the domain of the major media corporations.
From Jon Reiss:
In the spirit of the holidays I thought I would share a thank you that one of my students from Cal Arts, Michelle Manas, sent out after completing the principal photography of her thesis film. I thought it was a nice way to use You Tube and to create a more personal thank you than the standard email thanks I am always sending out!:
My goal was to provide my friends, collaborators, and co-conspirators 52 Reasons Not To Feel Glum About The State Of Film Culture, and precisely that sector of independent art film culture I call Truly Free Film. I figured with the economy in the toilet, traditional media stepping into the grave, and a business leader or politician being revealed as a crook daily, we didn’t need more gloom poured on.
14. We have seen a perfect distribution model and its success: the Obama social network was nothing short of a thing of beauty. Its methods should be an inspiration for all truly free filmmakers. People had a reason to visit the site, to supply information, to reach out and connect to others. They were supplied the tools and a mission. Now go out and find someone to vote for the culture you want.
15. The DIY/Do It With Others model is now recognized as a real alternative to traditional make-it-and-pray-that-others-will-pay-to-distribute-it-for-you. Filmmakers are planning for it as a possibility from the start of production. This preparation becomes the key to success.
16.Filmmakers are recognizing the need to define their platform at early stage AND make it on-going. Be they producers like Bill Horberg or Jane Kosek , directors like Raymond DeFelitta and Jon Reiss ,or writers like John August and Dennis Cooper, creative filmmakers are taking upon themselves to find and unite their audiences at an earlier stage in the process. Okay, maybe it isn’t so Machavellian; maybe they just want to talk to people. Either way, it is going to lead to more people seeing better films.
17. A curatorial culture is starting to emerge. Creative communities need filters. Every year I have as many “want to see” films on my list as I do “best of”. It’s not that there is too much as some like to claim, but it’s that there is still too little discussion on what is best and why. We started Hammer To Nail (soon to debut in a new & improved form!) for this reason, but we are not alone. Although they tread in much different waters, popular email blasts/broadcasts like Daily Candy and Very Short List, these sites work as much as filters as they do identifiers. Social Networks most popular features are members “favorites” in their profiles. We are all being trained as curators, but are only now starting to share it publicly.