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Changing Pace of "Film"

As I write this editorial, I look at the changing state of affairs which is empowering people to make films. For some reason, I thought about the oxymoron which is 'Indie Film'.

Why is it an oxymoron? Well, if you look at actual film, it is virtually impossible to shoot even the most basic of color films on film stock and be totally independent. Why? Because the sheer cost of shooting even 16mm in color and developing it precludes most people from being able to afford the process on their own. This means, with the exceptions of folks who have inordinately large savings, that, to shoot on film, you must get a backer of some sort.

While there is nothing wrong with getting financial backing, few backers will sign over large enough chunks of money for you to shoot a film on film without wanting to have some say in your film. As soon as you have to listen to folks putting their two cents in because they're financing you're project, you've ceased to be independent, by definition.

What this means is that, for those of us who truly want to create our own films and be accountable to no one, we must embrace the digital medium. This may seem like a no brainer to most microfilmmakers, but you would be surprised at how many folks have drilled into their heads the 'superiority' of the film media itself.

Even with major strides in the digital realm, like the Grass Valley Viper, which has better light perception than film, or the upcoming Red camera, which has better definition than the highest film scan, I still run into people berating the digital medium over the chemical medium of film. While this makes sense when it comes from folks in Hollywood, who are banking on keeping the film industry exclusive, it always puzzles me when I run into Indie filmmakers that feel this way.

This is not to say that film doesn't have it's own unique look that you may want to use down the road, but, to refuse to make a film, until you can actually shoot it on film, seems like a needless waste of time and resources. (It's like an actor refusing to act for a small crowd until a large crowd comes to watch him. How will anyone know he's worth watching if he doesn't start somewhere and prove himself?)

I guess the reason this comes to mind is because the digital revolution is one which is giving advanced technology to the masses, while the film contingent holds on to an exclusive technology that's too expensive for the common man to use. In many ways, we are mirroring the state of artistic affairs that existed in the Renaissance, and, as a microfilmmaker, I find this fascinating. In the end, I believe we will find ourselves on the shores of a revolution in film creation that is far different than many have postulated recently. In the end, it's a fascinating time to be alive and making films.

Just something to think about.

God Bless,

Jeremy Hanke
Microfilmmaker Magazine

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