Jeff Lipsky: WHY SO SERIOUS? Part 2

Jeff Lipsky continues what he started...:

6. I predict the death of mumblecore movies by 2011. Independent films will once again boast strong scripts and, as such, will reach a broader audience. This is probably as good a time as any to reiterate to critics who invoke the name of John Cassavetes in their reviews of so-called mumblecore fare: John’s only improvised film was “Shadows.” Suck it.

7. Wonderful myriad primers about self-distribution are available in current issues of magazines like FilmMaker, MovieMaker, and at this link provided by DYI guru Peter Broderick ( Such detailed first-person reporting, including specific anecdotal detail and how-to information is worth its weight in gold to independent film producers. This shared information will become much more prolific and abundant and available in the months and years to come. We don’t need more filmmakers, we need more knowhow about gaining access to audiences for the all-too-few great independent films that still manage to get made.

8. Just when digital projection saturation in all cinemas across the U.S. was about to be a tangible thing, a reality, looming not on the horizon but happening TODAY, banks aren’t lending money to anyone. That’s where the billions of dollars for this wholesale transformation was going to come from, from banks. Fewer digital screens (for a while longer, anyway – I know it’s still coming) will mean fewer bad digital movies. Audiences will be happier, critics will be happier, incisive and insightful bloggers will be happier, and more people will return to the movies, especially to good independent movies.

9. Praise the Lord, the studios became fed up with so-called independent distribution in 2008 (just as they did in the early to mid 80’s) and everyone began biting their fingernails. But let’s look at what else happened in the distribution world in 2008 (and January 2009). Two new indie distributors hung out their shingles and laid down their gauntlets during Sundance this year, Senator made a bold statement with its acquisition of “Brooklyn’s Finest,” and Summit broke through with its first $100 million grossing film (yeah, it was “Twilight,” but that shouldn’t blunt the impact of that encouraging watermark). Relatively obscure indies like Oscilloscope enjoyed a succès d’estime with “Wendy & Lucy,” Overture rode the wonderful “The Visitor” to a (nearly) $10 million gross and a Best Actor Oscar nomination, and Music Box cashed in on its rock ‘em, sock ‘em success “Tell No One.” Studio boutiques were never independent distributors anyway; by definition they were dependent on the support of their parent company. Every ten years or so that support dries up and (most of them) go away, clearing the way for a brace of new, innovative, distinguished upstarts. Even with the demise of ThinkFilm there are a greater number of pure play independent distributors now than there were one year ago.

10. Kodak continues to produce thrilling new film stocks (Vision 3, 5260) which just might encourage more independent filmmakers to dabble in this antiquated art form for just a bit longer. After all, it’s kinda nice when you don’t have to have to worry about whether the pattern of your leading lady’s costume is going to wreak havoc on your wave form. (I know, I know every film will be shot digitally someday, but that someday, I suspect, is still farther off than some people would like to think.)

A final prediction and admonition: as soon as newspapers and magazines fold up their tents for good the World Wide Web (2.0) will be longer be free. And then even more people will return to movie theatres.