Increased budgets in independent films: It used to be that indie flicks were low budget, poorly acted dramas that were produced with bad sound. Now with young actors and rising stars wanting to participate in academy award caliber flicks, you are sure to at least find one super low budget a great one per year.
Well, it’s not really increased budget, it’s also cheaper and better technology. Primer, made with 2,000 cameras, street acting, and natural lighting were able to pull of an incredible film with a great script, smart shots, and good workers. This is becoming more and more common. The Blair Witch Project is another example. The technology does not have to be high definition in order for it to be a good film, nor successful. If you want to do a space station movie or an action flick, you may need a budget, but for dramas or earthbound movies, you can probably get by with just about any equipment lying around. Just make sure you are dedicated to the project and you could be a winner.
It’s cool to be independent: When a lot of people walk through the movie rental place they look for the familiar “this movie has been selected for…” or “winner of the…” It ensures that the movie they are looking at is artsy, and that few people have seen it (or at least fewer than any major release). It’s fun to talk about movies that won an award at Cannes or Sundance. They make more money coming to DVD than they ever did in the theater. This actually saves them promotional costs and allows them to achieve a better profit margin.
The backing of the stars: Robert Redford backs the biggest American Film Awards Show, Sundance Film Festival. Big movies typically kick off these specials, most recently “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.” This not only increases awareness for the films, but it promotes the whole aspect of the award shows and any film selected gets that icon of being an official selection.
So in pops the final question. Will awards shows and festivals take over the movie rental business and make many films go straight to video? Will there become too much hype and press that the independent people will no longer feel independent of the rest of the crowd? Only time will give us these answers, but until then check out the major award winners in each of the major film festivals for a treat that will be unlike any of the major blockbusters.