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The New Auteur

Independent Film in Times of the Internet

Monthly Archives: May 2010

I’m trying to prepare a paper on how independent film making, distribution and exhibition was handled in the past – especially in the UK. I think that we can learn a lot when we look at documentaries in the 1930s (above all, the independent film units and the workers film movement), the Free Cinema movement, the Workshop movement or film Co-Ops.

There are of course others too, but even by just looking at the ones I mentioned above, we could find some things filmmakers could take into consideration today:

  • Collaborate: A lot of those movements I am looking at share equipment, collaborate in the writing and/or production process or simply just support another when needed. There are too many people who try to be auteurs. Filmmaking is collaboration. That does not just make the films better, but this way, filmmakers can share fans among each other and, consequently, attract larger audiences.
  • Cooperate: Know who your audience is. Collaborate with organisations who share your vision, goals and, most importantly, audience. The workers film movement made films for workers. They exhibited them via workers film clubs. Exhibition in commercial cinemas was impossible to achieve.
  • Manifesto: Have something to say. Stand for something. Or better, be against something. This can be political (demonstrating against the establishment) or related to film (condemning common filmmaking practice and film language). Having something to say will make people listen. Write down what you stand for.
  • Niche: Hollywood is for everyone. They are too good in it. Independent filmmakers cannot compete here. But independents can cater for niche audiences. This can be geographical (local/regional/national) or topical niches. Make films about the problems of working class people in the north-west of England and you will have a build-in audience.
  • Love: Be in it for the love of it. Love the medium, the stories, your subjects.

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There wasn’t much of  a blogging routine over the past – what was it? – 6 months? That needs to change. In the coming weeks, I’ll update the blog with the things I have been working on lately:

  • A paper on defining the term ‘Sustaining’ in sustaining independent filmmaking
  • A paper I have given at ETICA 2010
  • A paper in development about McLuhan and the Internet
  • Another paper in development about the history of independent film distribution and exhibition in the UK and what today’s filmmakers can learn from it
  • Thoughts on my Interim Assessment, which I successfully passed in January

Well, that should keep me busy and help me to digest what I have written during the past months. And also, I’m in the second half of my PhD. So it’s downhill now – and time to get organized.

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