As I reported from Jeonju, I saw some good “indie” films, among them BALLAST. It was a very nice film, which still is vivid for me. At the time I saw it the filmmaker, Lance Hammer, whom I met there, said he’d be giving a go at self-distribution, despite good notices from Sundance etc. It’ll open soon at the Film Forum in NYC, which, sadly, is probably a kiss of death.
Here’s an NYT article on DIY distribution, or more about the collapse of any kind of meaningful “indie” distribution in the US (and most other places too). Of course one might make a long essay about how curious it is that as means of delivery/distribution multiply, rather than getting a wider range, capitalism clamps down and you can watch Batman XX , or some other bloated Hwd film, but, god forbid, a foreign one, or an indie that doesn’t have stars, well fukdatman. Of the films mentioned in this article most sound accessible, even “easy,” but most likely they’ll get their week or two in marginal cinemas, an audience of 10 or 50 thousand, and the makers won’t see a dime, even after all their DIY distribution work. Long gone are the days when your quirky (but easy to take) indie film might pick up a Miramax 3 million deal.
So if you’re looking to get rich making your little indie film, dream on. On the other hand, if you can psyche yourself up for the coming depression (of among other things, your income), you might consider the route I took: modest little films that cost $100 or $1000 or even $2000, no pay, and if you luck out, you get in a handful of festivals, one of which might fly you to where ever and put you up 3 nights, from which if you are fantastically lucky you might pick up some kind of TV sale where you will actually see a little money, and then you can peddle DVDs and pick up anything from a few thousand to maybe 20K. Doesn’t exactly sound like a living. Unless, perhaps, you have ten of these over time, and you are frugal, etc.
Today I got a note from Australia letting me know that All the Vermeers, Sure Fire, and Speaking Directly can all be seen on the net. I suspect there’s others too. Of course I don’t get a penny….