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“Making something out of nothing” is what filmmaker Mira Nair called the Filmmaking workshop that she was doing in the spring of 1999 in Cape Town South Africa. The bulk of the students were from the black and “colored” townships way outside the city and traveled more than an hour each day for their two-week initiation to cinema. It was the dawn of the post apartheid years and they were pregnant with compelling and amazing stories that they wanted to bring into the world either through narratives or documentaries. For decades, generations before them had their voices stifled, and they were fighting to finally become the narrators of their own history and had chosen filmmaking as their weapon. And I was there to film that process. “Show, don’t tell, make films that are accessible to you, be inspired by what’s immediate, cut your cloth”. [...]
Filmmakers, you’ve been lied to. Film school has taught you to pitch the WHAT about your project — WHAT is the story, WHAT is the cast, WHAT are the target group for the film etc — but the WHAT is not the most important element when it comes to crowdfunding. The WHY is! You see it comes down to your likability on camera. ‘But I’m cool and I’m a great filmmaker’ I hear you say. While that’s good for you, that’s not why people want to engage with your crowdfunding campaign. [...]
Currently, I’m crowdfunding on Kickstarter for The Quantified Self, an experimental story about a family that records and analyzes everything about themselves. It’s my third science-fiction film mainly because where I grew up science fiction represented hope for something better. Just twenty years ago I was a humble physics student at Kharkov State Polytechnic University in the former Soviet Union. When I came to the US I had to start from scratch like every immigrant. My first job was $4.75 an hour working at a hardware store on Coney Island. It took me 15 years to get a stable job in IT on Wall Street. It also took me 15 years to realize that I was moving away from myself. I felt depressed and confused. Having a job I didn’t like eroded me from inside and made me rather passive and ignorant about the world around me. Something was missing.
Over the past years I directed two no(?)-micro(?)-low(?)-budget (what’s the latest on who qualifies?) features and a dozen short films and almost every time I held open community meetings seeking the public’s support. I didn’t think this was anything special but the producers on Free in Deed asked me to describe the rationale for running ‘Open Call Info Sessions’ to the community on low-budget projects instead of traditional ‘closed-door auditions’.
About 3 months ago we made the decision to self-distribute BLUEBIRD in North America. From the beginning, our goal was to make an intimate, quietly affecting ensemble drama. For writer/director Lance Edmands, there was a specific kind of feeling he was trying to express with the film. There was a unique sense of loneliness, solitude, and isolation that was linked directly to a region of Northern Maine and the culture that permeates the area. Lance grew up in Maine, and he felt that these melancholy emotions stood in stark contrast with the great rugged beauty of the state. We wanted to explore that conflicted feeling in way that would resonate personally with a viewer. It was important to us to maintain the subtle, quiet tone of the film both in the way we made it and the way we brought the film to an audience. With that in mind, we spent the last year considering various distribution offers and scenarios as we traveled with the film to festivals. [...]
We’ve seen and heard on the first two episodes of ReInvent Hollywood how technology and desire are changing the nature of the film form as well as how artists consider their work and relationship with the business. Barriers to entry of both creation and distribution have been crushed. Platforms abound for a wide variety of formats, aesthetics, and engagements. As a result we are all overwhelmed by an abundance of culture and leisure time options, challenging both business and consumption models. How do these same changes effect things on the side of the audience? In tackling that issue on “ReInvent Hollywood: The Audience”, I found a new way to explain what the Film Industry must do in our era of transition. [...]