The Benefits Of Less

For my tastes, I have long encouraged the practice of getting away from the cinema of excess and getting back to the compromise.  I have always learned a great deal by bouncing back and forth between budgets.  Truth be told, for me it is out of necessity, not strategy.  Yet for directors, the proof has come that it should be part of the process.

Time and time again, filmmakers have rejuvenated themselves, their work, and their careers by dropping their budgets and picking up some freedom in exchange.
Ang Lee, Alfonso Cuaron, Gus Van Sant, Steven Soderbergh have all done this, with Crouching Tiger, Y Tu Mama, Gerry/Elephant, and Schizopolis.  Coming off of The Hulk, Great Expectations, Finding Forester, and The Underneath respectively, these subsequent "indie" productions yielded great work (generally) and a major creative reboot.
And now we get to witness this again with Darren Aaronofsky's The Wrestler, Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire, and Jonathon Demme's Rachel Getting Married.  These are three of the year's best films.  This formula could also be applied to Van Sant's Milk (which I hope to see this weekend) but now the back and forth between budgets and control appears to be part of Gus' process.
Ann Thompson pointed this out to everyone in the business today so hopefully we can witness a few others gaining from the new poverty.  Anne includes my other fave of the year, Ari Fohlman's Waltz With Bahir, as another benefiter of this approach.

People Power

So many positive things have come out of this election.  

Certainly one of them is my renewed love for email.  It's been a total thrill to watch different videos go viral.  Whether it's comics or photos, it's been a delight to open my email box and see the different expressions people have found to express their delight in the outcome.  I have never seen anything like it and it feels like each one brings us closer together.
I had the pleasure of receiving Charles Stone's preparation email thoughts as he got ready to shoot and post Wassup 2008, and thus share in the thrill as it became the top viral video of the week.  I loved getting and seeing all the BattlegroundPostcards that Gus Van Sant and other filmmakers shot and posted.  Another friend sent me each video that Lee Hirsch made on Local Voices in Joplin, MO , and when they then got the news that Obama would visit, I felt a wave rush through my body.  Time and time again you saw the people take the media into their own hands and bring change.  Each time I knew the world had changed for the better.  
I didn't see this video until after the victory.  It may not be by a professional filmmaker, but it captures how fresh this campaign was due to folks doing what they loved and sharing it.  And it proves that everything is always better when delivered with a good sense of humor.