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December 28 at 1:32pm

Support Your Family! Give To Indie/Art Film Infrastructure

By Ted Hope

I have always supported the idea that you need to vote for the world you want with your dollars. I am the odd bird that believes in both optional and mandatory contributions to a better world; what’s all the beef about taxes? If our tax dollars really went to things I cared about, I would be all for more of them (as long as there was REALLY HEAVY penalties for corruption too that is). Hey, I’d even vote for mandatory conscription if it had more options than just military and if they provided some real training to the participants. But that’s a different subject, better suited for rants elsewhere. Let’s get back to the world of cinema…

Here on TrulyFreeFilm the goal is to find a way to build an infrastructure that can support diverse work (and promote it — the work, the participants, & the infrastucture). To that end, I think everybody that partakes in and benefits from the infrastructure, should give back to it. Sometimes this giveback comes in the form of labor and participation, and sometimes it depends on $$money$$. It costs to build the world that we want and being responsible means accepting that fact, and recognizing that it is our place to contribute.
By that standard, how much show one give to build the infrastructure for the culture we want? Should it be 5% of your income like they encourage in some churches? Perhaps even more is mandated when it also is your livelihood that needs support, right? If we don’t support our industry’s infrastructure, how can we expect it to be around to support us?
Beyond money though, we must fight for what we want with our actions. The phrase “stand up for what you believe” always felt off to me. Shouldn’t it be more “Step forward for what you believe“. Even if you are broke (it is indie film afterall) then hopefully you still have some time you could you give weekly to move the culture a bit closer to the one you want. Why don’t more people use their labor in this way?
So… what should we all be doing? Well, I have made that list before.
Maybe it’s time to air our laundry. Show our true colors. Perhaps we should discuss what we each really do, and figure out what more we can do. I am pretty public with my thoughts already, and with most of my actions too. But is it enough?
So… this is that list of mine as to what I have done this year to support indie film in terms of donations. I am showing you mine, not so much in hoping you show yours too, but to motivate you & others to do likewise). I recognize this list is just a start. I want to get more on the ball. I hope this list doubles next year — particularly in the artist support category (this is the dawn of crowdfunding). We all have to do a whole lot more. I know I have to give more money for a more diverse and vibrant cinema. I need to do more to support the existing apparatus. So this is that list in hopes that maybe you will be motivated to give a little more.
Exhibition Membership: Film Forum
Sundance Creative Producer Lab Mentor
Made In NY Mentor
This is that Internship Program
Active Membership In Organizations
The thing that I have been wrestling with is that I do not participate in any organization. I have previously been on the board of the IFP and have been on various advisory boards, but as of now I am not on any other than the Adrienne Shelly Foundation. I have thought hard about becoming more involved in the PGA, the IFP, & FIlm Independent but for various reasons of my own, haven’t thought my time is best spent there, as much as I admire each organization. I think this is a failing on my part but am not sure how to best to resolve it. I like to work where I am most needed and those organizations have a lot going for them already — although personally speaking I still think it is a lame excuse.

Supporting More Artists
Hopefully this will become easier to both identify and give in the new year with the rise of crowdfunding models.

Supporting More New Model Exploration
Hopefully this too will become more widespread and easier with crowdfunding in the new year.
Note to self: resolve to do better in 2010.

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  1. Mark Elijah Rosenberg / Dec 28 at 1:32pm

    Thanks for the support, Ted! And for all that you do and inspire.

    Mark Rosenberg
    Founder & Artistic Director, Rooftop Films

  2. Lorie M / Dec 28 at 1:32pm

    It seems to me that the two sides of the coin include how to raise money to make a movie, and how to make money from having made it. I think the OpenIndie model is a cool idea for the latter; but, I can't think of a group-alternative funding idea for the whole indie film community that I'm enthused about. I can bemoan the US's lack of filmmaking subsidies, but I can't envision a funding entity/organ-ization to play that role for US indie filmmakers. I don't see any entity with deep enough pockets being that altruistic.

    Which makes me think that it might be helpful, instead, to encourage indie filmmakers to continue educating/seeing themselves as the entrepreneurs that they need to be.

    Or, another thought here, ad hoc. Since I recognize that many writer/director/filmmakers don't thrill to the entrepreneurial/producing/sales side of things, maybe there's an idea to explore in some sort of association or league of indie producers that they know they can approach/submit to?

    In this indie producing association, let's imagine that revolving groups of members are supported (as groups) for, say, a minimum of 3 years each with shared development funds, business/marketing planning, legal advisement, sales support, web development, and so on. Member producers might be grouped together by types of projects they gravitate to: dramas, genre, comedies, experimental. Perhaps, group members might be selected via a fellowship /grant type program, with say, 3 fellows per group, per round, or something like that…

    The fellowships might be supported via member dues and submission fees, as well as grants, sponsors, etc. AND, since there'd be a layer of vetting in selecting the supported producer Fellows, as well as the projects they take on, perhaps there'd be promise in raising private equity for "slates" of indie movies, as well as possibly selling their finished projects as slates…?

  3. mikehedge / Dec 28 at 1:32pm

    great list. your effort in the indie film world in much appreciated.


  4. Luci Temple / Dec 28 at 1:32pm

    Hi Ted,
    have just happened across your blog, and wanted to say thanks for the great site, lots of top links and articles. I do case studies on my blog about indie filmmakers who are being innovative about how they fund, promote, distribute, and monetise their projects, and am also trying to work out the optimum indie film business model going forward by analysising the differences in what people are doing. I suspect there will be a lot more experiment in this area over the next couple years before a few of the best models will outshine the rest. It's an exciting (albeit confusing) time!

    Thanks :)

  5. The Sujewa / Dec 28 at 1:32pm

    Good idea, I wrote about a similar thing – about why IFP type organizations are useful (or how they can be made useful) to even the most self-reliant/solo filmmaking DIY filmmakers:


    (scroll past the 60+ film blog headlines)

    For myself I plan on becoming more active with IFP this year, & renewing my IFP membership in April.

    Also, would like to find out this year more info about starting a credit union for indie filmmakers; how such a thing could be made to work well also how such an entity could be financially successful.

  6. Danielle DiGiacomo / Dec 28 at 1:32pm

    thanks ted and sujewa for your support of IFP. we really appreciate it!

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