I have always found the entrenchment of the bureaucracy a pretty normal occurence in any field or job I have had -- film or otherwise. People generally promote people who are like them. The status quo grows more homogenous with every passing year. This is particularly true in high cost enterprises like the film industry.
I have breathtakingly talented students in my classes (I teach over 150 students each year), but they can't create art at home. Many of them don't have a home. They are bouncing between relatives, foster homes, homeless shelters, or friends' couches. If they are at home, it's usually one or two room living with their siblings. Many of my students complain that they can't do homework at home because there isn't a quiet space to do it. They can't go to the library, because the nearby libraries have all been closed. The one downtown is surrounded by drug dealers and prostitutes *during the daytime* -- forget about night. They can't participate in an after school program because they don't exist (other than sports).
For my students, dreams don't come true without guidance and support from someone outside their families and neighborhoods. They need someone to believe in them on a continuous basis. They've had to fend for themselves all their lives for the most part. They are desperate to belong to something. That's why you see so many of them in gangs. If they're not in gangs, they belong to a sports team or a church group -- something with regular meetings that they can depend on.
The author of the IFC article means well, and I think this "do it
yourself" advice would work with the middle and upper classes, where there is already support at home and in their community. But it won't work with the lower classes who have so many strikes against them already.
Perhaps this is why we don't see more filmmakers from the lower classes. The film establishment wants to believe that if you're good enough, like cream you'll rise to the top. That is incredibly naïve (or maybe it's deliberate so their friends and relatives can get all the jobs because "there's no one else" to hire).
If anyone thinks class doesn't exist in this society, come hang out with me in three weeks when school starts again. I feel the separation in the classes. Poverty and lack of opportunity are like pieces of sandpaper that wear you down, slowly but surely, every single day until you're defeated. This is something that crosses ALL color lines. You can be white and poor.
Sorry to get on my soap box, but I am disturbed by how some people simply don't how it is for some people out there. But many of these people can't be blamed for their ignorance, as they haven't spent time living and working with a disadvantaged population. Once you have "ground truth," you'd know better than to say "do it yourself, kid." That's essentially telling the kid to figure it out for themselves, away from you, so you don't have to get involved. If you want to make a difference, you MUST get involved for the long haul. It's a marathon!
26. Collaboration among filmmakers is recognized as being a necessity among filmmakers. Todd Sklar’s tour of films with their filmmakers brought vital work and their creators to places that generally went lacking. The teamwork approach benefited everyone. One can easily imagine that this model, like the collaborative finance model, will extend to production too, and not just in the aforementioned crowdsourced way, but in ways that will make individual personal films stronger too.
27. The Independent community has demonstrated that it is quick to action and embraces both tolerance and strength. Over five years ago, the indie film community joined forces to defeat the Hollywood Studios’ and the MPAA’s Screen Ban, but despite a lot of activist attitude they have not joined forces in a significant way since then. But it doesn't mean it can't, or won't.
28. The embrace of the “1000 True Fans” model: filmmakers are recognizing that they need to engage in regular communication -- via a regular output of varied material – with their core audience. Not only is necessary because it speaks of a model of how filmmakers can earn a living , but it also offers a manner of working that will allow filmmakers, and artists in general, greater variation in the type and form of work they do. The dialogue with the audience will also keep filmmakers more attuned to what their audience responds to and why, all the while, strengthening the bonds between artists and their community.
29. Rational consolidation and expansion is taking place in the blogosphere. Indiewire, the premiere indie film news site, was acquired Snag Films, the leading documentary film streaming aggregator. GreenCine, one of the leading sites for art film appreciation, had its lead blogger go over to IFC's IndieEye – greatly strengthening that site. Movie City News got another great editor. As these core film appreciation sites improve, we all benefit. Audiences need to know where to go to find the type of films they love and this bit of consolidation could help.
This may be of interest to you, even beyond the OPEN BAR...
KlickableTV presents Tech Meets Media: a panel discussing how technology has influenced the changing landscape of traditional media
Traditional media as we know it will soon be gone. Today's content producers must embrace the transition from silver screen to web.
Hear what strategies industry taste-makers and new media visionaries have in mind for the future.
Genna Terranova, Senior Programmer, Tribeca Film Festival
John Vanco, Vice President & General Manager, IFC Film Center
Christopher Horton, Head of Acquisitions, Cinetic Rights Management
Paul Kontonis, Chief Executive and Co-founder, For Your Imagination
Roger Wu, President and Co-Founder, KlickableTV
Plan to enjoy an open bar and mix and mingle with television, film and new media professionals and trendsetters.
Date: Thursday, November 13, 2008
Time: 6:30pm - 10:30pm
Location: Retreat NYC (http://www.retreat-nyc.com), 37 West 17th Street between 5th and 6th Aves
I am babysitting that night, so maybe someone out there wants to cover it and post it for the rest of us...
I was on another fun panel yesterday at the Woodstock Film Festival. All of these discussions are part of the ongoing conversation on the future prospects for both Indie and Truly Free film. There's a lot more that I can write about that panel, but one thing I felt was the filmmakers' position getting stronger.