First things first…. Stop using these terms as if they are the same damn thing! They’re not. Under the umbrella of cinema, both forms exist independently of one another.
STOP CALLING MOVIES FILMS and VICE VERSA.
MOVIES are the domain of friggin’ Hollywood. They are mostly designed by committee and are all about making money and then selling crap to kids. Movies are repeatable, franchise-driven machines sold by moviestars and the PA$$ION to make money. They are not about the art of cinema. They are market-driven, focus-group curated pimped out showgirls whored to multiplexes and the masses on a regular feeding schedule. Okay?
FILMS are an auteur-driven art form (a writer, producer or director ) celebrating a unique and singular visionary who will often do (almost) anything to get their cinema made – and they exist outside of the established movie system and now only find a home at a daring film festival (or now online more often than not). They will not have known actors or marketing tie-ins and will dig deeper and explore dificult, dark and unusual subject matter and rarely give a shit about a flashy ad campaign with a burger chain or conglomerate. There are rare exceptions when both might exist in a perfect storm (so don’t start quoting Chris Nolan or Darren Aronosfsky at me) but these are the exceptions rather than the rule. Yes, there are indy ‘films’ that get all the love at Sundance and other Fests made for beaucoup bucks – but they’re really just loss-leaders for Oscar bait or stars wanting to do something that doesn’t involve a green screen or friggin’ comic book.
Today’s truly Indy film and the next generation cinema that’s emerging online is all about reclaiming and refining our terms of engagement with today’s audiences and telling bold, daring and original stories that have to be made – so the first thing we can do (as artists, commentators and educators) is draw a clear distinction between the two camps and the work that is done.
I love both flavors of cinema (and can speak and work in either) but for us truly-independent working outside of the established ranks, it is important to recognize that this blog is going to be more about artisans than assholes. Movies don’t need help. Films do! Stop trying to make movies. Start making films.
If we don’t do something soon to stem the tide of comic-book ass-blasters from the studio system and provide an opportunity for audiences to enjoy something else, it will be our own fault for refusing to admit that the movie industry doesn’t give two shits about the condition of cinema today.
If we don’t start examining alternate means of distribution (and pricing), we have no excuse when viewers deluged by pre-chewed cinema just keep lapping up the pablum. God, I miss the 70’s US Cinema. At least the studios tried to develop adult-themed movies. Hell, I remember when festivals like Sundance actually premiered ‘real’ Indy pictures and not the studio-sanctioned star vanity projects that clog Park City.
So, pick a team. If you’re all ‘movie’ and want to be a studio brat more power to you. Go and join the others swilling at the trough and try and find a place. We’re still be working and screening our work while you figure out how to make a mega-commercial. If you’re still reading and are starting to get that this blog is going to pick a pretty hard line in the sand, you’re damn right.
There’s no point in pandering or begging for permission (and cash) to make your independent films and getting them seen. It’s all on you. What are you willing to do? How far will you go?
The only way you will be able to make film that matters is if you do it yourself and look to a new way of thinking about your indy cinema and making some clear distinctions for yourself.
No one is going to send you a limousine or guarantee you a career just because you made an indy feature film (or two). The old way is gone.
You don’t have to give up on the Hollywood model (if all you want to do is sell out). It’s stylish and sleek and a polished turd that sells worldwide. I enjoy as much as the next person the bombastic visual effects and over-the-top fireworks (not to mention the sound, fury and hyperbole pounding through the theater). Movies excel at this! I’m just not trying to sell films to a business that is only interested in star power and servitude. Movie are not films. Films are not movies. Both serve different masters or mistresses. Who are you going to serve? How about starting with yourself – and your own original audience. #divorcehollywoodnow