It’s Not As Easy As Soderbergh Makes It Look

Is the indie boom coming to an end? It seemed that for a while producers and distributers were trying to get their hands on as many quality indie films as possible, but according to the “Texas is an Indie Film Player” article, it seems like all the fuss has died down and executives are now focusing on more lucrative projects.

Distributors are falling behind by not latching onto the video on demand trend. The article states “film distributors are still following an unoriginal playbook.” Their reluctance to catch up, results in frustration for indie filmmakers, who rely on these distribution companies to get their movie seen and make it profitable.

Even well received films aren’t being purchased at festivals, mainly because they don’t have a well-known cast. This seems like a disappointing reason to not purchase a film. Fresh faces are what Hollywood lives for, so investing in a movie that has a bright new face would seem profitable to a distribution company. Yet, indie Texas films are falling to the wayside.

In class, we’ve discussed how many directors use familiar faces to make their movies more profitable, and while it seems like a cheap tactic, it works. So why aren’t directors like Liford and Poyser doing this? Most likely they cannot afford bigger names…or maybe it’s because they don’t want them. Unfamiliar actors and actresses tend to give movies more “indie cred,” but also lend a more authentic feel to the film. If Zac Efron or even Macaulay Culkin had played the shooters in Elephant, the movie would have a dramatically different feel; the audience wouldn’t have responded the same as they did to the more realistic no-name actors.

elephant3 copy

By playing by the rules, these directors would be giving up their creativity and would succumb to the snares set by Hollywood. It’s understandable that one director would be hesitant to change the title of his movie because it is too far down on the alphabet. So is the problem really the directors, like the article suggests, or is it in the system. It is understandable that directors would be frustrated by distribution companies, but would they rather have their original artful film seen by those dedicated enough, or have a cheap film seen by the masses in the cinemas?


2 thoughts on “It’s Not As Easy As Soderbergh Makes It Look

  1. The article you talked about didn’t really sit well with me either. It was incredibly shocking to find out that indie movies are suffering simply due to lack of star power considering that so many big names seem to come from the Texas talent pool (Patrick Swayze, Dennis Quaid,etc.). Granted they may have gotten their start somewhere else but it’s strange to think that distributor’s knowing the cultural “chops” of Texas are so hesitant to pick up unknown movies with unknown actors. After all, everyone starts out as a nobody.

  2. I agree that besides potentially being impossible to get an actor with credentials, it can also defeat the realism the movie might be trying to achieve. For instance Gus Van Saint could have cast Matt Damon and Ben Affleck as the school shooters in ‘Elephant’ but that would have undermined the entire film because we as an audience know Damon and Affleck are stars, so seeing them in the roles diminishes the effect. It’s an unfortunate cycle for sure, and not one i’m sure there is a sure-fire solution to.

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