One of my favourite filmmakers and bloggers is Ted Hope. I have been a lurker – stunningly mesmerized by his career as a filmmaker since he set up shop with James Schamus and created New York’s Good Machine away back in 1991 – the year before I started Raindance. Ted’s Good Machine launched most of the major indie careers: those of Ang Lee (The Ice Storm), Hal Hartley’s Flirt and over a hundred others.
Today I was contemplating the future of Raindance, as I often do, and the future of independent film-making, when I stumbled across yet another of Ted’s brilliant posts: 15 Predictions of the Future of Indie Film.
What is interesting about Ted’s list is that five of his fifteen relate directly to possibilities created by the advances in digital innovation. Specifically, Ted talks succinctly about Multi-territorial Short Term Limited Platform Licensing, Customized Positive Ratings For Films, Immersive Cinema, Dynamic Pricing, Filmmakers Will Start To Share Data.
Eight of the remaining ten predictions are thought pieces, of which are three I want to highlight the most: that some indie filmmaker is going to make a killing on self-distribution, soon all filmmakers are going to be talking about ‘priming’, and finally, enrollment in film schools will start dropping (making our postgraduate film degree much more relevant).
What does this mean? It means you have a lot of F**King homework to do – and there isn’t a better way to shortcut the process than by reading Ted Hope’s 15 Predictions of the Future of Indie Film.
Now for my two cents? What has Ted missed?
Firstly, we are going to be seeing a lot more of live event cinema. Whether it is Wimbledon on screen in a multiplex, with artificial turf and ushers selling strawberries and ice cream – as they have done the past two years at the VUE Piccadilly (the home of the Raindance Film Festival); or Opera from Covent Garden, event cinema is here to stay. Companies like London’s Secret Cinema prove weekend after weekend that people will pay a premium to get dressed up and go and see a film if it is marketed enough.
Secondly, as film exhibition margins get shaved thinner and thinner, I predict that more exhibitors will move into film production, and literally cut out the middlemen of sales agents and distributors. This means that the 50 seat cinema in their multiplexes can be filled with independent film – the films that we all know we can make cost effectively. And it’s here that I would challenge Ted to a debate: Theatrical distribution still has a huge place, and online and so-called ‘self-distribution’ is merely the hand-maiden of the good ol’ Friday Night at the Movies.
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