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Creating Cinema


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#1 Wiederspahn

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Posted 12 August 2008 - 01:04 PM

As a filmmaker, I am often at odds with a sense of duty toward myself (artist) and a sense of duty toward others (public). Too often I feel caught in a limbo, kicking against the goads of industry, railing against "those devil's" in suits intent on destroying my "art". How could they and their Harvard MBA know anything about "art"?Yes, it is the all too familiar artist decrying the evils of the machine. Its us versus them, with "them" always seeming to win out. As Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky (whose title for the sub-header of this forum I pulled from chapter 6 of his book, Sculpting in Time) so aptly articulates:

"All manufacture, as we know, has to be viable; in order to function and develop, it has not merely to pay for itself but to yield a certain profit. As a commodity, therefore, a film succeeds or fails and its aesthetic value is established, paradoxically enough, according to supply and demand - to straightforward market laws. Need one add that no other art has been so subject to criteria of this kind. As long as cinema remains in its present position, it will never be easy for a true cinematic work to see the light of day, let alone become accessible to a wider public."

Then why create cinema? If the downward pressure from industry is so severe, why bother? Is it even possible to change the "present position"? What is the "present position'? Is it necessary that our films "yield a certain profit"?

If a films success or failure and aesthetic value are truly established by the laws of supply and demand, how do we function within that given space? What is our obligation to ourselves and what is our obligation to the public? How is it possible for us as filmmakers to continue creating, if that be the case? And further still, what seems to be begging questions; Who is our audience? Who decides who our audience is?

There are billions of people on this planet, each with individual particular interest's and opinion's. How do we find those for who our work is made? Is it contingent upon whether or not the studio decides to spend 30 million, as opposed to 5 million on our P & A expenses (prints and advertising)? And what of those truly independent films that can't even afford to buy a cup of coffee with their marketing budget? Is there no audience for them?

And what of the opinion of critics in all this? Have they too become enslaved by the mighty powers that be? For example, what if critic A loves your work and champions it to the world? And what if it just so happens that critic A is from the New York Times? Voila! All of a sudden your film finds an audience. Now, what if critic B, say, from The Denver Post, pans the film? Or vice versa, the Times pan it and the Post loves it? What does the impact of these single individual voices, who happen to work for the same powers that essentially guard and govern the studios interest, have on the outcome of us finding our audience? So the Times pan it. Now there's no audience for it? Of course not. Its simply a matter of supply and demand, perception and reality, is it not? That's the "present position".

So, winding back around to the heart of the issue here: Why create cinema? Why do this? How do we do this? Who is our audience? How do we find our audience? What is our responsibility to this audience? Does it all come down to a matter of economics? What are the keys to changing the "present position of cinema"?




#2 Thom

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 05:48 PM

Woah, I was overwhelmed by this post. There are so many excellent discussion points here I don't even know where to begin. I need to ponder for a bit.

Thanks, Wiederspahn for your thoughtful and thought provoking conversation.

#3 Slow Down and Fast

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 11:46 AM

I believe that to create cinema, or any art form for that matter comes from a place within one's self. If done in a pure fashion, i.e. from the heart, then you have been successful.

As far as reaching your audience, the more genunine the artist, the more likely that they are to find their audience. When you aren't truly genuine, you have to substitute that with money, hence the Hollywood blockbuster.
Art is not science, but science can be art...(a topic for another discussion).

When a critic says something about a piece of work, it is only there voice. Each of us has our own.

I think that when any artist creates something, they have a general idea of where there audience is. That is the place to start. Sometimes we are surprised to find that the our audience is larger then we thought but unless it is real, you need to "sell" it.

Adam
Slow Down and Fast - A 32 min. documentary about a man who goes into the woods for 30 days without food or shelter on a water only fast.
http://www.blindlylefilms.com/slowdown

The blog about self promotion of independent film
http://slowdownandfast.blogspot.com

QUOTE (Wiederspahn @ Aug 12 2008, 02:04 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
As a filmmaker, I am often at odds with a sense of duty toward myself (artist) and a sense of duty toward others (public). Too often I feel caught in a limbo, kicking against the goads of industry, railing against "those devil's" in suits intent on destroying my "art". How could they and their Harvard MBA know anything about "art"?Yes, it is the all too familiar artist decrying the evils of the machine. Its us versus them, with "them" always seeming to win out. As Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky (whose title for the sub-header of this forum I pulled from chapter 6 of his book, Sculpting in Time) so aptly articulates:
...
So, winding back around to the heart of the issue here: Why create cinema? Why do this? How do we do this? Who is our audience? How do we find our audience? What is our responsibility to this audience? Does it all come down to a matter of economics? What are the keys to changing the "present position of cinema"?


#4 DanBuck

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 01:22 PM

Hey Aaron,

I met you several years ago when you were at CITA with Trilemma. And I have also had a script developed by ArtWithin. And I've got your film, Senation of Sight as #8 on my Netflix queue. I struggle with the same issues at a smaller level for the moment. I'm taking a playwrighting class and we keep getting tips about how to make sure our films will be accessible to as broad a population as possible. Which always sounds like "Make it toothless" to me.

And in my contemporary theory class (I'm getting my MFA in directing for theatre) we're seeing how most great thinkers have concluded that almost all art merely reinforces our current culture. Yuck! Part of me screams! Noooo! It can't be true!!

Well, I don't have answers just similar crises.

Welcome to Arts and Faith.



#5 Wiederspahn

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Posted 14 September 2008 - 05:25 PM

Dan,

That's right, I remember meeting you too! Very cool running into you here in cyber world. I'm glad to hear you're still keeping it alive in the theatre. So much to chew on, just trying to create these things that are swirling in our heads and hearts, huh? It can be a bit of a whirling dervish at times.

#6 nathaniel chapman

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Posted 16 June 2010 - 10:14 AM

I think we create cinema to glorify God. The movie doesn't have to open on 3000 screens to be valuable. It doesn't have to open on 3 actually. If your film stands as a praise to him, then that's all the really matters. Anyone else who can appreciate it too, great, but that's all extra. We can't be so concerned with the approval of human beings. If you are, and you think that's important, fine, but you will likely be pressured to do things you don't want to do. If you can synthesize the commercial world with the art world, then you've accomplished something really hard. Don't lament the difficulty, it shouldn't be easy!

How do we find our audience? Here's how: introducing specific individuals who seem to have a taste that's in line with the work we're doing. Like this:

www.theevangelistmovie.wordpress.com