Having seen the meteoric rise of the wealthy, where salaries of the top earners have sailed further above the baseline than they have ever been, a burning question keeps resurfacing among conversations with novices and professionals alike concerning what has become of film festivals and the larger independent film scene. The role of the little guy, the unknown artist with an idea that could become the next film, seems to be shrinking with each passing day, as corporate dollars and Hollywood personalities looking to express themselves creatively outside the machine are overrunning once placid, unassuming fest locations across the country and the world for that matter.
It appears the general push from some power players for an era of austerity is trying to undermine the independent film industry, a last ditch effort by the establishment to keep new voices from emerging and holding their increasingly fragile share of the marketplace in perpetuity. This force can be counteracted by the consumer, the people whose money provides the fuel to the machine. Where you spend your dollars can make the difference, as support for smaller projects through outlets like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo are the most recent example of the increasing number of ways the truly independent filmmaker is fighting back against corporate manipulation that controls what appears on most screens across the country.
With the improvements in digital filmmaking technology, the proliferation of technical training establishments, and a growing swell of ideas from a disillusioned generation looking for ways to have these ideas heard and seen, the fight is not over, it’s really just beginning. The path that looked to be a most certain future in the 90s had somehow been corrupted, ripping a large part of the original, unique expressions from major film festivals that once carried the torch for indie film. But hope for the future has not passed, rather, it is simply moving into a new era. An era where any of us can use our money to support artists and projects we deem worthy. Gone are the days where one or a select few could get behind a project to fund it, here are the days of crowd/fan funding, a true expression of indie spirit.
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