Making a low budget feature film with $100,000 is an incredible feat, and evermore achievable with high-end equipment now available at consumer prices. Below that line is the zero/no budget films made for $10,000 or less. These are works of passion and pure commitment to the craft. Some of these you have seen and some you should seek out.

Low Budget Filmmaking

Low Budget Filmmaking

These astonishing debut films were each made for 10k or less. Have you an idea for a film? Can you get the 10K cash together? Why not study these films? See if you can see what they have that made them great. And then go do it?

Remember that making a feature for 10k is one thing. Getting it seen and monetised is another. Each of these films is very different. Many of them break the ‘one location’ rule as well. All are compelling films that manage to tell a story despite their low budget restrictions.

Paranormal Activity (2007)

Budget: $10,000 – $15,000 estimate
Director: Oren Peli
Trivia: Filming was completed in 10 days and shot entirely in the director’s own home.

Eraserhead (1977)

Budget: $10,000 estimate
Director: David Lynch
Trivia: Shot over 5 years, resulting in sets being torn down and rebuilt.

Cat Skin (2017)

Budget: $10,000 estimate
Director: Daniel Grasskamp
Trivia: Production started in April 2014 and finished in August 2015, amounting to 21-days of filming in total. Filming began with its two leads, but all supporting roles were cast throughout production.

Newlyweds (2011)

Budget: $9000 estimate
Director: Edward Burns
Trivia: Shot over the course of 12 days in New York City.

El Mariachi (1992)

Budget: $7,000 estimate
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Trivia: Robert Rodriguez didn’t storyboard the film as there weren’t any crew members to show them to.

Primer (2004)

Budget: $7,000 estimate
Director: Shane Carruth

Trivia: The shooting ratio was 2:1, but at most an 80-minute movie could be made from the footage – the film is 78 minutes long. Screened at Raindance

Following (1998)

Budget: $6,000 estimate
Director: Christopher Nolan

Trivia: Production took over a year because all cast and crew members had full-time jobs and were only available on Saturdays. All shot around the original Raindance office on Berwick Street, London. Screened at Raindance

The Unforgiving (2010)

Budget: $5000
Director: Alastair Orr
Trivia: Shot at weekends, the film was edited during the week between each shoot.

Layover (2014)

Budget: $5,000
Director: Joshua Caldwell
Trivia: Shot on a 5D over the course of five weekends, followed by another eight months of editing.

Colin (2008)

Budget: $70
Director: Marc Price
Trivia: The unbelievable low budget was achieved by using leftover make-up, free extras and homemade special effects. Screened at Raindance

Egomaniac (2016)

Budget $6,500
Director: Kate Shenton
Trivia: Kate is a Raindance Postgraduate Mentor. This film premiered at Frightfest and was cast and rehearsed at the Raindance Film Centre. Kate is working on a second horror feature.

About 

Elliot Grove is the founder of Raindance Film Festival and the British Independent Film Awards. He has produced over 700 hundred short films and also five feature films, including the multi-award-winning The Living and the Dead in 2006, Deadly Virtues in 2013 and AMBER in 2017. He teaches screenwriting and producing in the UK, Europe, Asia and America.

Raindance trailer 2017

Elliot has written three books which have become industry standards: Raindance Writers’ Lab: Write + Sell the Hot Screenplay, now in its second edition, Raindance Producers’ Lab: Lo-To-No Budget Filmmaking and Beginning Filmmaking: 100 Easy Steps from Script to Screen (Professional Media Practice).

In 2009 he was awarded a PhD for services to film education.

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