The TAKE-BACK Manifesto

I wish I had published this earlier.  It comes from Michael Tully, our editor over at HammerToNail. It was originally published on his blog, Boredom At It's Boredest, on Indiewire. It takes a much different tact than most of what we've been discussing here.  I totally get it; discussion and strategy about reaching audiences, is exhausting.  For some, it will never create better films, or even bring them to audiences.  Yet, courtesy of HTN, I have come in contact with a plethora of good films that are not being seen by audiences.  I love the spirit of this manifesto, but.... The Take-Back Maifesto

By signing the following petition, we film lovers of all types—critics, reviewers, screenwriters, directors, producers, production assistants, grandparents, art history snobs, coach potatoes, Multiplex squatters, etc.—believe the following to be true:

— We realize that bringing any film into fruition, however great or small the budget, is an outrageously difficult task. We realize this, and yet we don’t care. The final product is all that matters.

— A production’s back-story only becomes relevant after—not before—one has watched the film on a screen. Once we see your film and like (or dislike) it, that is when we will decide if we want to learn more about how it came to be. Not everyone can be Werner Herzog.

— We know that making thought provoking, ambitious, challenging, adventurous films is complicated by the fact that cinema is such an expensive art form. We know this, and yet we say so what. Everyone is a martyr for their art.

— We don’t want to help pay for your movies. Either: 1) We have our own movies to finance; or 2) We feel like an active enough participant in the process by watching your finished film and being affected by it. That is the extent of the participation we seek.

— We understand that we are living in a constantly evolving technological world and that there are kinks to be worked out. We trust that the sharpest, most appropriate brains will solve these problems. Convening weekly panels about how to use Twitter is not the answer.

— We admire and respect many of those who have given birth to this new panel industry, but we also understand that we now have access to most, if not all, of those participants every day, on a minute-to-minute basis, through their Internet voices. Because of this technological advancement, these panels have begun to feel increasingly unnecessary, a summing up of the latest ideas rather than a newly informative experience.

— We believe in the mystery, the power, and magic of cinema, and we feel strongly that the more one reveals about one’s production—at least when it comes to this recent phenomenon of obsessive reporting and documenting of every step of the filmmaking process—the less powerful the impact will be. Exposing the process is only for Christo.

— From this point forth, we are only interested in the film itself. By marketing your marketing, you are only alienating us. If you are doing anything, you are making us not want to watch your film.

— We call for a ban of the conversations/panels/symposiums/etc. about “How To Market Your Indie Movie In The New Media World!” until at least 2012, when these troubles will naturally work themselves out.

— All of this talking about “finances” and “connecting” and “publicity” is the insidious language of a corporate, numbers-before-content mindset. Truly personal, independent cinema has never been preoccupied with these details, and making us feel guilty for not caring about them is not the answer. You’re only driving the most talented souls away.

— Can we get back to talking about movies, please?


Michael Tully (Hammer to Nail) Vadim Rizov (more here: Tom Russell (Turtleneck Films)

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