Hey! Whachagonnado Today?

Got no plans this weekend?  Why not save the planet?

J. Hoberman has a nice article in the Village Voice equating the summer Hollywood releases with the different candidates and their world view (WALL-E as community orgainizer, THE DARK KNIGHT as the man that believes we should have no rules).  It provides a nice historical perspective on how cinema reflects the politics of the times, is totally worth the 3 minutes of reading required, but may be a tad too easy and misses the bigger point in the equation as I see it.

What's remarkable about the time we live in and how the political drama has played out, particularly against the backdrop of this week's self-inflicted collapse, is how we in a battle of participatory culture driven by the citizen/audience vs. corporately molded and fed arrogance.  This can be seen easily from Obama's triumph and incredible citizen backed finance and the True Indie Film Scene's paradigm shift to a DIY model.

We get a great opportunity where ever you live this weekend to vote with your dollars for the culture you want. Seriously. If you don't vote early and often, you will soon lose the opportunity to truly chose that type of culture.  Power comes to those who participate and is denied those that don't -- okay, it's not that simple, but nonetheless. Those that already have the power are mobilized and will soon deny the rest any opportunity to determine the films that are scene (read up on the battle to maintain NET NEUTRALITY now, if you haven't already).

What I am trying to say is that this weekend, and for a couple more to come IF WE GET OUT AND VOTE WITH OUR DOLLARS, there is a wonderful embarrassment of riches of True Indie films in the theaters being Self Distributed.  Of course we can also just sit back and watch what happens when we allow the power that is to permit greed to go unregulated, and then we can just fiddle as the economy burns down to its last dying ember.

I got a chance earlier this year to see Stuart Townsend's BATTLE IN SEATTLE early this year and was completely taken in by it's kinetic energy.  It captured the thrill of participation and action for the things you believe in.  Stuart's bringing the film out himself and he's taking his incredible cast directly to the theaters here in NYC.  It's at the Angelica if you are in NYC.

 For those of you in LA, I forward you an email from Michael Tully, who is the editor of Hammer To Nail, the blog I co-founded that is committed to building the home for ambitious film.  If you haven't checked out the site, and all the great reviews for True Indies, do yourself a true favor and do so now.  Here's Tully's pick of the week:

Hello friends,

An incredible no-budget film called Take Out is opening on five screens in LA this weekend and they really need all the help they can get. I've never actually met the director, Sean Baker, but I am a HUGE fan of this movie, as well as his newest movie, Prince of Broadway, so i'm trying to spread the word in my own tiny way. Go see it, or spread the word to LA folks who might be interested. Here's my Hammer to Nail review of the film:




It's also worth marking your calenders now too, because there are two truly great works that the filmmakers are personally bringing to you soon (or if you are NYC based did in the former case), Chris Smith's THE POOL and Lance Hammer's BALLAST.  You can not miss these movies.  At least you can't miss these films and claim to be a True Indie Film Lover and Supporter.

And then back to the here and now of whachagonnado this weekend, no matter where you are, you also have a chance to see Alan Ball's TOWELHEAD, which I had the pleasure of producing.  We are not self-distributing, but are the final release for the old guard upstart Warner Indie.  This is a film that embodies the reasons why I wanted to make films.  As Albert Berger, a friend and producer of many great films just emailed me: "It was provocative, unpredictable and infuriating (everything I want and expect from a This is That Joint)."  And the promise I made last week still stands: If you go and aren't convinced that it was worth your time and money, I will refund your money (and if I was Dr. Who, I'd give you back your time too!) -- upon proof of purchase.

Finally, despite protests to the contrary, I have always found inspiration and some workable analogies from the music industry.  If there was to be a True Indie Superstar (make that #4) we all need to look no further that Ian MacKaye, front man for both Minor Threat and Fugazi.  These bands self-distributed their work.   They priced their shows for their audience's pocketbook.  Their methods informed their work.  To this day, I just have to hear their chords to have my adrenaline pump and my mind race with the possibility of a true audience driven culture, and then comes this connecting the dots: Sir Ben as Ian M. (thanks MC Indie!):

Sir Ben Kingsley STOMPS into the shoes of Minor Threat's Ian MacKaye from Mean Magazine on Vimeo.

And if you have never seen Jem Cohen's INSTRUMENT, don't delay (True Indie Film Hero #5).