The Micro Budget Film Debate

Where is the anger these days? And why do filmmakers need to be so meek and mild about the way this country’s film culture is manipulated?

Visionary, Distributor and Long-time champion of independent filmmaking, David Wilkinson, has stirred up a hornets nest with some poignant comments about filmmaking, film distribution and the myths of micro budget filmmmaking.

Here is his post on his Facebook page – Go and like this page immediately.

Here is part of what he says: (with our comments in red)

Micro budget Microwave film SHIFTY has sold 73,000 units on DVD in the UK.

Writer/Director Eran Creevy is a student of Raindance and to the Lo To No Budget Filmmaking course at Raindance.

Many films with budget 100 times that don’t not sell this many. I know I have distributed a few $10 million plus films. SHIFTY is a blueprint for other filmmakers !

Why has this worked and other low budget films did not. I do wish more British & Irish filmmakers would spend time analysing successful films and why they do work. So many filmmakers I meet base their own movie on a film that they perceive is successful but has actually been a flop worldwide.

I had a meeting in Cannes with a filmmaker with a completed drama. It was good. But. Despite been told by many distributors and sales agents before they shot the film that dramas were the hardest genre to sell and that their’s had many problems and so the chances of success were limited, they went ahead and made the film. If someone said to them don’t build your house there because its sand and if you do the house will collapse, they would have gone and found land that was solid. Not so with films. When told that a particular film has a very limited market many filmmakers go “ fuck you I will make it anyway”. There is a part of me that admires this but a big part of me just thinks – idiot.

God, David – how many times have we seen this very same type of film submitted to Raindance or the British Indpendent Film Awards. It’s why we focus so much of script development and writing in our trining programme.

So very many British & Irish films I have seen over the last 20 years have just been very expensive home movies watched by those involved in the making and very few others. One fool, and he was most definitely one, spent £1 million of someone else’s money making a unsellable film. I know this because I tried very hard to distribute it. Rather than take advice to improve the story/ script before shooting, he made it his way “ because I am the best director of my generation”. I last saw him flipping burgers in a farmer’s market in North London…..I rest my case !

Again, well said, David!

Elliot Grove, Raindance Filmmaking, Chris Jones, Skillset, Doc/Fest, the London Film Festival, London Screenwriters Festival, Galway Film Fleadh, etc, etc, etc all hold panels, events, courses that will help make you a better filmmaker – GO TO AS MANY AS YOU CAN !!!
Knowledge is power.

Aaaah. Blush

What are you reading this for?

Go and like David’s FB page immediately!
And comment! speak your mind! Get angry!
Go and comment on the BFI’s New Horizon’s Policy Review – you have til June 10th! Your next chance is in 5 years

Then: Go write, direct, produce and film!



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The Raindance Film Festival runs each Autumn in London's Leicester Square.

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