Reasons Independent Filmmakers Are ThankfulAmerica is hunkering down for their long Thanksgiving weekend. Any excuse for a holiday, eh? Still, there’s lots to for independent filmmakers to be thankful for too:

1. Self distribution seems to be working

Filmmaking has been democratised by the technology revolution: cheap cameras and the internet have yadda yadda yadda. Look, the truth is nobody knows if indie filmmakers are going to be able to extract a decent business model of VOD, festivals, streaming, torrenting and social media. But so far we’ve seen some progress along the right lines. Festivals like us and our American namesakes are giving films and audiences an online interaction platform. Websites like Kickstarter are helping people raise funds in new and exciting ways. Even studios are beginning to experiment with online releases. It’s by no means a perfect system, but there’s hope.

2. BFI money

The closure of the UK Film Council last year by the coalition governement need not bring panic to your plans for UK government film funding. The money is still there, but now is being distributed by the BFI. Their Film Fund is at the heart of UK film finance. Everything from development, through to production and distribution. Get details here.

3. EIS best in world

The U.K has one of the best tax programmes in the world for filmmakers. It’s an investment tax wrapper designed to attract investment into small manufacturing businesses (of which film production is a qualifying business) It’s called the Enterprise Investment Scheme. You can find out about it here, and get more in depth on our Movie Money course.

4. British Filmmakers are representing

Britain punches above it’s weight in the filmmaking community. We consistently produce talent in front of, and behind, the camera that makes the rest of the world jealous. Recent examples? Lynne Ramsey, Ben Wheatley and Steve McQueen to name just three on the indier side of things. Of course, we could always bring up the Nolans, the Hopkins, the Scotts too.

5. There’s still a market for intelligent films

Look, there’s always going to be a market for the big Hollywood fare, that’s stating the obvious. But there’s also been a lot of fear that this is becoming at the expense of more intelligent fare. It’s good to know that there are still people out there who like ‘the thinking (wo)man’s’ version of things. Like the thinking (wo)man’s Fast and Furious, or the thinking (wo)man’s James Bond.

6. Awards Season

Speaking of which, it’s more or less awards season. That means better, if not necessarily good, Hollywood films. We’ll get the ball rolling with the amazing BIFA‘s shall we?

7. We don’t go to prison for our jobs

The Arab Spring has been simply amazing to watch (even if events in Egypt are tarnishing parts of it as I write). The overthrow of dictators, I hope we can agree, is generally a good thing. It comes with freedoms and stuff like that. But in some countries, simple freedoms that we take for granted, like y’know, making a film, might get you lashed or land you in prison. It’s like locking up Mike Leigh.

8. Raindance submissions are open

We’re thankful that we get to see more great films from indie filmmakers. They get better every year. Want to enter?

9. Amazing websites

We’re grateful for the internet. No, not for that reason. More for the following:

slashfilm
indiewire
twitch
ted hope
imdb

10. We only have to eat Turkey once a year

Unlike our poor American cousins who are having it today and next month. It’s dry, nobody really likes it, admit it. Read our Box Office Turkeys of 2011