25. March 2015 · Comments Off on What is old is new again… · Categories: Feature Films, Film and Stuff, General

BlairLots of legitimate griping out there about how “Big Hollywood” (if it even really exists anymore) cranks out repeatable, highly programmed, based entirely on something else that made somebody money once “content”.  One of the appeals of independent film is that, although nobody wants to starve, expectations are for the most part more balanced between those driven by love of film and those driven by love of spreadsheets.  It’s an old argument that despite the decentralization of content distribution modalities seems to be very much in play today.

It wasn’t always so, there was a time when studios took risks, recognized artists for what they were and as an outcome some of the greatest films and artists of the 20th century emerged.  Two of my favorite examples were Sam Peckinpah and Stanley Kubrick.  Two more different artists you would be pushed to find. What they had in common was a very “indie/outlaw” approach to filmmaking while still working within the system.

When Peckinpah was shooting “The Wild Bunch” he famously moved the sets, actors etc. (and these were some big names) to “alternate shooting locations” without getting permission from the studios, he decided to stop sending in dailies because he didn’t want any interference with his vision (you didn’t do stuff like that then).  End result was certainly one of the most controversial films of its day.  Kubrick was a much bigger name and was famous for working really, really cheap.  A lot of his films had indie sized crews with Kubrick himself (control freak that he was) running virtually everything himself.  But like a indie filmmaker he had far more control over all aspects of his work than other big name directors of his day. For example in the case of “A Clockwork Orange” he actually had his own hit film pulled from distribution because he was concerned about the rash of copycat crimes it inspired among the less intellectually blessed in the U.K. at the time.

So my hope is that Hollywood and the myriad other major players will someday recognize that better films come from greater risk (kryptonite to the spreadsheet crowd).   Indie film makers by definition shoulder most if not all of the risks in creating films, finding distribution and audiences. The pendulum needs to swing back; people want really great films again.  To the studios – split the risk and take a chance – to the filmmakers don’t give up, learn from the past… the future is yours.

©2015 Ottawa Independent Film Festival

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