Death of indie films?
Recently Peter Bart (Vice President, and Editor-in-Chief of Variety) wrote an article about Why Art House Movies are on the Endangered Species List. In this article he crunches the numbers and comes to find that indie films are slowly declining in popularity with large distributors. His reasons for this are many, however the quote of note is where he says: “The filmmakers out there aren’t coming through, either. There are more indie movies being made but, for some reason, they don’t reflect the passion and artistic clout of films of the ‘60s or ‘70s.” To me this is the key to the article. Many young filmmakers are trying to make these ambitious projects in an attempt to produce a ‘mainstream-indie’ film. Only problem with this is that they miss the point of the indie film all together.
Indie film is supposed to be on the outside edges, its not for mom and pop America. Just look back prior to 2004 when the major distributors decided that indie was good business. Tell me you can’t see that pre major studio interest, these films were on the leading edge. All of them, for their time, were considered ‘edgy’ and ‘dangerous’. Now we just have indie films containing mainstream stories with no marketing budget, and big studio standard marketing plans. When you add this all up you get a half assed mainstream movie with a half assed mainstream marketing effort. Even as much as I dislike Juno I’d rather deal with its pretentious ‘desperate to be indie’ feel then an indie film desperate to be mainstream.
I for one can not claim that I know it all when it comes to the business of indie films. I am in the process of co-producing my friends first feature, and have not even done enough to earn that credit – quite yet. The one thing I do know is that films, like people, must stay true to themselves. There is nothing wrong with being indie so stop trying to be mainstream, and for god sakes if you don’t have a marketing budget stop trying to use the standard big budget marketing plan. Get gorilla, use viral marketing to your benefit, generate a buzz with the leading edge on the internet, and on that note…