We Need More Outlets For Community Support/Collaboration

Awhile back in The Huffington Post, Marshall Fine pointed to Comic Con as an example of what is wrong with the Studio Biz these days. I too miss the days when it seemed like there was business in creating work for mature audiences. I will be among the first in line for Innaritu's BUITIFUL for sure, and when I watched FAREWELL the other night, I longed to make a film of that weight, craft, and themes.  Looking at what my immediate future holds as a producer in the USA, I don't think I will get much opportunity for such exploration anytime soon, at least not on a reasonable budget. Nonetheless, as opposed to Marshall, ComicCon does not represent for me what's wrong with the film biz, but quite the opposite.  Although the communities are smaller , and the passion and fervor far less, the art house contingents should take note what ComicCon does.  It is the only populist film event we have in this country.

I am incredibly energized by ComicCon and believe it is a model that can be extended to support work beyond the specific genre it currently supports. That is, if the audience and community for specific genres and subjects can unite the way ComicCon's has, we as filmmakers could truly start to collaborate with audiences the way the fan boy and geek crowd does with their filmmakers.  Taking SUPER to ComicCon was one of the highlights of my twenty plus years in the business.  I felt unbridled support for what we've made, and we only offered up a wee taste.

The following is a bit of an update to the reply that I posted to Marshall on the Huff:

I share your lament about Hollywood abandoning more serious fare, but it is what it is. Let's face it, movies for adults are difficult to execute and difficult to market; how can you blame the studios from abandoning them?

Audiences need to unite and demand what they want. They need to move from being audiences to creating communities. Film festivals and film societies need to move into year round programming that can support more ambitious work. We can't all wait until it goes on Netflix streaming. There is no community in streaming, only convenience.  You know how great it is when people come together into a common space to discuss and appreciate work.  The question is how can we offer that in a way that both sustains and nurtures creators and their appreciators alike.

We have to support the work we want, both as filmmakers and film lovers. You do it with your screening series, Marshal, as many others do too, but it is still not enough to generate more serious film work.  The filmmakers to have to reach out and bring communities together.  No one can afford to wait to have others do it for them.

I've generally made ambitious films for adults, precisely the type of movies you miss (and many that you have programmed and written about). But I am also incredibly excited to take my new film, James Gunn's SUPER to Comic Con. It is a chance to connect with a COMMUNITY who wants the film -- even before we have finished it. You don't get this opportunity in the art house world. By showing their demand for a no-holds-barred look at what a real-life superhero (vs. say... Kick-Ass) would look at, the so-called geek community has given birth to one of the most daring films I have had the good fortune to be part of.

Film Sprout: Grassroots & Community Distribution For Indies

Film Sprout is offering a great series of workshops in April.  I had the opportunity last year to sit with Caitlin Bryce  and was deeply impressed.  There are only 15 spots and it only costs $150 so sign up fast.

The first workshop in the series, From the Ground Up: Building Grassroots Distribution for your Independent Film, is a crash course in the strategic and practical steps necessary for rallying a motivated audience around a successful community screening campaign for your film.

In four intensive hours, we'll discuss a broad range of case studies, identify helpful tricks-of-the-trade, and walk through the nuts-and-bolts tools you'll need--from contracts to contacts--to launch a rewarding community screenings effort.

At the end of the workshop, you'll receive a chance to pitch your own grassroots outreach and screening plan to an intimate panel of seasoned filmmakers, outreach coordinators, and programmers--and to get valuable guidance in return.

It's Sunday April 11th 2-6P in Brooklyn, so act now.  And let me know what you think of it.