Guerilla Film Making Against the Odds

My father once told me that he wanted to be an actor and that he didn’t pursue it because his father didn’t help him. It took me awhile to find the flaw in his statement. I mean I was just a naive little boy, and then I decided, that I too wanted to pursue entertainment. Now realizing a choice I made probably just to make him proud. I went to him and told him my goal was to make movies that will make people laugh. He turned to me and said “Your not funny enough”. I told him that I could do it. He smirked and sarcastically responded by saying “Good Luck” and just walked away. I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

I shook it off and decided to pursue my goal. I was 10 years old and he never really understood how that statement affected me. It haunted me and created so much doubt. I mean if your own flesh and blood didn’t believe that you could do it, then why would anyone else? And what would make me believe I could?  I’m not sharing this story so you can look down at my father because it’s not his fault. True, he’s not going to be winning any father of the year awards anytime soon, but at least I have my father in my life.  I mean let’s be honest, he wasn’t born in this country, and at the time African Americans becoming successful filmmakers was like finding a needle in a haystack. Now I’m standing here years later, excited for the opportunity to prove to my father that you can follow your passion and be successful. I’m not saying that it’s going to be easy. I’m saying that I’ve accepted the consequences of seriously pursuing this goal and am ready for the challenges I will face. I’m always haunted with my father’s statement to me. But I refuse to believe in it. Instead I believe in myself and I press forward no matter what. Now I’m here working on my first feature film “L.A. Minute” , asking for family, friends and strangers to believe in me.

This article was supposed to be about how to make money rain for independent filmmakers. But if I knew that answer, would I really have an indiegogo campaign? Probably not. The biggest piece of advice I can give to aspiring filmmakers, is to TRY and keep on trying. There’s also several crowd-funding platforms like indiegogo and Kickstarter. It’s important to build your network/fan base prior to launching a campaign. That is a must! In addition you want to make yourself stick out from the rest. I feel like my campaign does that. Yet only time will tell the outcome. The only obstacle that will stop me from completing my film is my death. It’s reassuring to know that is an obstacle we all have to face.

Take a moment and view Dimitri’s Indiegogo campaign SHARE, RETWEET & contribute if you can.  http://www.indiegogo.com/LaMinute

Guest post by Dimitri Morantus a Brooklyn born guerrilla filmmaker. His first short film “Charlie” won the prestigious “Audience Choice” award in the Santa Monica College Film Festival, with his second short “The Power Of Elle” taking home “The Official Best of Fest” award. He studies film at UCLA, and is currently in production for his first feature film “L.A. Minute”. Written, directed and produced by Dimitri, this crime dramady is about Lewis, a down on his luck loser, who thinks he has it made when he steals the identity of a rich accountant, only to learn that he’s actually impersonating a hitman.

Remakes and Re-imaginings.

Remakes can go either way, they can be warmly embraced by the public or horrifically disgraced in front of millions. I, for one, have been guilty of judging a film before its even released because its been a remake AND for talking them down before discovering that some of my favorite films turn out to be remakes. I must make something clear though, there is a difference between a remake and a re-imagining; although these terms are used interchangeably by others.

A remake is a piece of media based primarily on an earlier work of the same medium. Examples are, Gus Van Sant’s shot-for-shot remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s film Psycho, The Italian Job was remade in 2003 and Ocean’s Eleven was originally made in 1960.

A re-imagining is piece of media that takes the ideas and perhaps story used in an earlier work and changes it to create a new story. Examples are, The Magnificent Seven and A Bug’s Life is a re-imagining of the Japanese film Seven Samurai, J.J Abrams has changed the entire timeline of Star Trek creating a whole new story and one of my favorite re-imaginings Neil Gaiman’s short story “Snow, Glass, Apples” which turns Snow White into a vampire and Prince Charming into a necrophiliac.
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Oscar Nominations: Who will win and who should win. Part 2.

Now for Part 2, hope you’ve been paying attention; let us get back to it.

Lead Actress:

Who will win: Jennifer Lawrence

Lawrence has shot to stardom, her abilities as an actress are amazing and she has had many wonderful credits to her name; Winter’s Bone, Hunger Games and now Silver Linings Playbook. Now don’t get me wrong, I think that Lawrence is deserving of the recognition she has received for her work in this film and with all this hype around her performance it seems obvious that she is far out in front when it comes to winning best actress. She has many years ahead of her in this industry and the business of cinema is bowing at her feet, Lawrence is a force to be reckoned with.

Who should win: Emmanuelle Riva

Having recently won a BAFTA for her role in Amour, we know she is being seen and heard from the greater European cinema community. I hope she wins the Oscar to show the players in Hollywood that anyone can still make an incredible performance not matter what age or where you are from. I cried when I first read the synopsis of the film Amour so I knew that I was in for a roller-coaster of emotion when I saw it. There is such sadness in our hearts when we realize that illness comes with getting older and Riva plays Anne with such grace and vulnerability but with such power that she gives a voice to those suffering in similar circumstance.

Honorable Mention: Quvenzhané Wallis

Youngest person to be nominated for an Oscar for Actress in a Leading Role. First off, there goes my chance for that accolade but damn she was fantastic in Beasts of the Southern Wild.
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Eight Epic Top-Notch Films Shot in South Africa

There have been great films over the years to come out of South Africa. Not only were these films about the area they also covered the stories and lives of many who lived here. Through the ultimate change of the people, the removal of apartheid, this region has a history that has and will go on forever and ever. The top 5 epic movies shot on location but about other areas or countries are:

#1—Hotel Rwanda– The film is a true story of hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina. Paul protected over 1000 Tutsi refugees from the Hutu military during a season of massacres. This film was shot on location in Johannesburg and the surrounding Gauteng countryside. The movie starred Don Cheadle as the Rusesabagina and Sophie Okonedo and Joaquin Phoenix. This 2004 film was nominated for 3 Oscars and collected numerous many other awards.

#2—Blood Diamond—This 2006 epic film starred Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Hounsou and Jennifer Connelly. This movie also featured native born Arnold Vosloo who is most famous for his leading role in “The Mummy”. The feature was filmed in and around Cape Town and included some shots around the Kwazulu-Natal, Port Edward and Mozambique areas. The movie was destined to be a hit and directed by Edward Zwick. It took 5 Oscar nominations and a stash of other awards.

#3—Lord of War—Starring Nicholas Cage, Ethan Hawke and Jared Leto, this 2005 epic film was shot on location at Cape Town and had 57 other local locations within the movie. The story revolves around illegal arms trading around the world.

#4—Red Dust–This 2004 movie was filmed on location in Graff Reinet. The movie starred Hilary Swank and Chitwetel Ejiofor. The basis of the movie spins around apartheid and a lawyer who is beaten and tortured under that law.

#5—The Gods Must Be Crazy—This is an all-time number one classic film. Set and filmed on location in Botswana. The story is of a man named Xi from the Kalahari Desert and has no understanding of the outside world. Though this film condemned by many, but went to be a box office smash, grossing over $100 million dollars. This amount of money was unheard of at the time. An iconic favorite amongst many movie lovers.

#6—District 9—Filmed on location in Soweto, Johannesburg and a few other local areas.  The film is a low budget underdog. It went on to take in over $210 million dollars worldwide. The movie had almost an entirely South African cast except for one American. This film was named one of the top 10 independent films of 2010.

#7—Sarafina–This 1992 film shot on location in Soweto and Johannesburg both. The movie starred Whoppi Goldberg and the remaining cast who are all natives to South Africa. The movie is based on the clashes of cultures during apartheid in and around Soweto.

#8—10,000 BC—This stone age film shot on location in several South African spots as well as Namibia. The film grossed over $200 million dollars on release in 2008.

Sally Peters has spent several years in London as a film critic. In 2009 she was on assignment to Cape Town and now has decided to live permanently in South Africa. She has now convinced her parents to visit South Africa next year.

Oscar nominations are out and the popularity contest has begun…part one.

The Academy Awards is in its 85th year and that’s 84 years of winners who deserved to be presented with the award and winners who did not. I have always been more interested in those who didn’t win or weren’t even nominated! With the Oscars being a popularity contest, it is…don’t tell yourselves otherwise, it has been pretty hard to see the reason when it came to some of the past winners. Gwyneth Paltrow over Cate Blanchett, really? Paltrow was nice in Shakespeare in Love but Blanchett was magnificent in Elizabeth. The film Crash over Brokeback Mountain? Crash was good but Brokeback Mountain was an amazing film because of the subject that it tackled. Sandra bullock was good in The Blind Side and has been a great comedy actress but new comer Gabourey Sidibe should have won for her role in Precious.

But there are, of course, winners who did deserve to be recognized. The Iran film, A Separation was amazing, it debunked myths about a culture that is over shadowed by stereotypical depictions in western media and showed the western world a sameness of Middle Eastern society that is hardly seen. It was pretty much a sure thing that Jean Dujardin would win best actor for The Artist, he acted amazingly in a silent film, it’s hard nowadays to convey emotion for an hour and half without talking but Dujardin did it.

Let’s look at the 2013 Oscar nominations and I’ll tell you who will probably win and who I think should win.

Best picture:

Who will win: Lincoln.

The Americans love an underdog and they love their 16th president, he led his country through the constitutional and military crisis of American history – The American Civil War. The academy love Daniel Day Lewis and Steven Spielberg, this film is American centric just like The Hurt Locker (2012 winner).

Who should win: Beasts of the Southern Wild.

This film was raw, fresh and uplifting even with its sad themes; the apocalypse, alcoholism and the complicated relationship between the daughter, Hushpuppy played by Quvenzhané Wallis (nominated for best actress) and her drunk father. This film could have easily been another The Road, utterly depressing but Beasts of the Southern Wild invokes a love in its audience through the depiction of the human spirit through is nine year old girl.
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Happy New Year!

From all of us at Fillim, we wish you a very Happy New Year.

Go to the Fillim website to check out the free films that we have to offer, like Bayo, The In Transit Web Series and Sintel.

Also check out our best sellers, like Our Journey Home, The Jammed, Crossing the Ice and Farscape.

Be sure to stay tuned for more films and more news.

Stay safe and have a great new year.

Hanna.

The Christmas Movie

Christmas means many things for many people. Snow, eggnog, turkey, sledding and open fires for our northern inhabitants. For those under the equator? Hot days beaches, water fights, fresh seafood and well, open fires (BUSH FIRES!).

One thing that I think is universal on Christmas is the compulsory Christmas movie. The Santa Clause, Its a Wonderful Life, Home Alone; is just a few on a long list that celebrates the miracle of Christmas. The love of family, the need to be apart of something bigger or the need inside all of that we need to bring happiness to those around us.

What about those unofficial Christmas films, those films that are a bit off centre. Here is a list of the films that are unofficial Christmas films that you can watch while avoiding the annoying younger cousins, your mother who wants to make you wear that uncomfortable woollen Christmas theme jumper, or if you just want some alone time. With a family of forty people you would easily find me in a corner in the fatal position if it weren’t for these kind of Christmas films.

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Alltop…You’ll Thank Me Later

Blogging has become the occupation among occupations. You don’t have to leave the house to get an income. The Internet has shown the amazing possibilities for those who just want to share their opinions, theories or imagination with the general public.

You want to become the next Coke Talk, Perez Hilton or Fated To Hated and blogging is the way to do it.

Alltop is the way to find people who write about what you want to read about. It brings all of the movie blogs together. Now I know I’m being very general, but film blogs encompass a lot of theories, ideas and opinions…it’s very hard to just bring all of these things into one neat little package. Alltop does this. You don’t just have to read the Fillim Blog. I am opening a whole new world of film blogs to you…

You can thank me later.

Hanna.

An Interview with Justin “Jonesy” Jones from Crossing the Ice.

With Crossing the Ice making its premiere on Fillim.com on the 6th of December and having watched the film with complete awe, I felt I needed to let everyone know some more info about these guys who walked to The South Pole and back.

Why on earth did you decide to go to the South Pole and back?

Cas and I always thought about it. We were always reading about these stories of the explorers, Robert Scott and Ernest Shakleton. Antarctica was this mythical place; it represented adventure. We had this same idea during the paddle across the Tasman sea and we started organizing our Antarctic trip right after getting to New Zealand.

Knowing no one was going to be there to greet you at the South Pole was this adventure different to your kayaking one?

The arrival at New Zealand was amazing but that wasn’t part of the adventure. The adventures that Cas and I do is more about the challenge. It’s for internal reasons rather than for glory or anything like that.

You looked like you were shitting yourself in the video before you left for Antarctica. What were you feeling?

Cas and I felt nervous and excited. It was an amazing feeling, we had been working on this adventure for three years and all of that organization was leading up to this point and the flight from South Africa meant it had finally started.
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Up and Coming To Fillim.com

With Fillim still only in its first year of business its amazing to see how many films are being uploaded as you read this. In the spirit of this progress I decided to show you just what you can look forward to soon and in the new year.
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Farscape: My Bed Time Story

As I sit down to watch my recent rental from Fillim, I am introduced to old friends, the fighter and the prince, the pilot and the priest. Farscape was produced for the Nine Network back in 1999 and ran until its cancellation in 2003. Fans were so upset about this a miniseries was made to wrap up the story of John Crichton and his friends. The show was produced by Jim Henson Productions and Hallmark Entertainment, this sure as hell wasn’t any back water production.

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My Open Letter to George Lucas

Dear Mr. Lucas,

4 billion dollars? 4 billion?

George, can I call you George? I feel we can be on a first name basis; I mean you have been living in my heart and home since I can remember. My brother had the Star Wars VHS tapes on constant repeat, I held hands with a boy for the first time in front of A New Hope and I always got scared when the Rancor come out of his cave. I’m not the only one, there are many boys and girls around the world just like me.

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Women’s portrayal in Horror Films.

The films The Terminator, Alien, Teeth, Ginger Snaps, Shaun of the Dead and Daybreakers all have two things common with each other. They all fall under the film genre of horror but most importantly they all have their own unique representations of the ‘other’. This concept of the ‘other’ refers to the self as the ‘same’ and a difference as the ‘other’; that is to say that anything that is different from the norm are seen as the ‘other’ because they displace an otherness from society. “Alterity: the complex dynamic between identity and alterity, the self and the
other…” (Mikula, 2008, pg. 6). We will be examining the representation of the ‘other’ in horror films, while looking at what the type of otherness is being portrayed. We will first examine the representation of women in horror films and why they are portrayed as such; Freud’s notion of the castration anxiety will discussed in contrast to the film Teeth. Furthermore, we will go on to look at the menstrual cycle in relation to the female being represented as the ‘other’; the film example used will be Ginger Snaps. Women are already pretty scary; mood swings, the ability to scare a boy with a death stare but women are also portrayed as victims, damsels in distress, but us lovely ladies always seem to make it out of danger or kick ass and take names.

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All Hallows’ Eve

Monday is famous for being the most hated day of the week but its my favorite. I always have Mondays off from work so I always have time to watch a film…or seven and with Halloween just around the corner I have well and truly let myself go with the celebrations.

I never liked horror films until I started to study them about three years ago. I never enjoyed them, I never understood them and I never thought that I would have an awesome collection of horror DVDs by the time I was twenty two. . Zombie movies cheer me up when I’m having a bad day, The horror genre has allowed me to explore the world of academia and most importantly, the horror movie has become my boyfriend on Valentines Day when all my friends are on dates.

Halloween has never been a huge holiday in Australia (where I am from) but I’m slowly starting to see it be embraced by children and adults a like. Just yesterday I saw two grown men walk down the street dressed as a monkey and a banana. I know one thing about Australian’s and its that we love any excuse for a party and a public holiday so why not a Christian/Pagan/American tradition. We aren’t picky.

Horror film has become a staple for any film collection, Fillim is no different. As Fillim is growing so is our collection; Blood on the Plain, Anomaly and Chemical 12-D are just the start. Soon we will be uploading Prom Night a film about any teenage girls worst nightmare and a killer is on the loose. Expect a review up soon of Prom Night, an in depth look at the representation of the other in the horror genre, a retrospective of one of my favorite zombie film makers George Romero and also a top five list of horror movies to get you started for All Hallows’ Eve.

Top 5 Indie Movies that Made it to the Big Screen

Independent films may be in vogue today, but that hasn’t always been the case. These quirky, artistic, inexpensive movies used to be rare, undiscovered gems rather than Oscar-nominated masterpieces. Thanks to the success of film festivals like Sundance, Hollywood and moviegoers alike have taken quite a shine to the passion and ingenuity often displayed in independent film. Here are five indie flicks that found their way to the big, mainstream screen before indie was cool.

Night of the Living CastNight of the Living Dead

Heralded as an example of what turns a B movie into a classic, “Night of the Living Dead” is one of the most enduring independent films of all time. Completed on a budget of $114,000, George Romero’s zombie horror fest debuted on October 1, 1968, to a controversial Saturday matinee audience in Pittsburgh that included unsuspecting children of all ages. This tale of undead carnage was the brainchild of Romero and friends John Russo and Russell Streiner, who had to basically beg, borrow and steal to get the movie made, which went on to gross $12 million domestically.

The trio struggled to find a distributor for the uncharacteristically graphic and violent film, getting turned away by Columbia and American International Pictures who wanted filmmakers to tone down the violence and soften the ending. Finally, after refusing to compromise their artistic vision, Romero and friends convinced the Walter Reade Organization to give their horror flick a chance – without any edits.

Whether thanks to the controversy or Romero’s sixth sense about the film industry’s “thirst for the bizarre,” “Night of the Living Dead” went on to be selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry as a movie that is “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.” In addition, the film has been cited by critics and film historians as a subversive commentary on 1960s America, the Vietnam War and racism.

Momento, Guy PierceMemento

This psychological thriller is an early look at the film making genius of Christopher Nolan. Based on a short story by Nolan’s brother, Jonathan, “Memento” was made for $4.5 million after Nolan’s then-girlfriend passed the script on to Newmarket Film executive Aaron Ryder. Ryder called the script, “perhaps the most innovative script I had ever seen” and subsequently got Newmarket to give the film the green light.

The neo-noir film premiered in September 2000 at the Venice International Film Festival and hit European theaters in October. But even though the movie was garnering lavish acclaim and attention in more than 20 countries, Nolan found it hard to land an American distributor. After screening the film for a variety of studio heads who liked the film, they ultimately passed because they feared the innovative film would be too confusing and not draw a large audience.

Finally, indie film director Steven Soderbergh saw “Memento,” and when he found out that it wasn’t being distributed in the U.S., set out to promote the movie himself in various public events and interviews. But even Soderbergh’s heft was not enough to secure a distributor, leading Newmarket to make the risky decision of distributing the film themselves. In just a few weeks, “Memento” was playing in over 500 theaters and had earned a whopping $25 million.

Blair Witch ProjectThe Blair Witch Project

This documentary-style precursor to other indie darlings like “Paranormal Activity” was groundbreaking when it hit theaters in 1999. “The Blair Witch Project” is an indie film that clawed its way to the big screen in classic indie fashion – making the film festival rounds and finding influential fans along the way. John Pierson, then-host of the Independent Film Channel’s “Split Screen,” was an early fan and helped to promote the film.

“The Blair Witch Project” is also one of the first widely-released movies that owes its success to viral internet marketing. The official website perpetuated the true story mythology of “Blair Witch” with fake police reports and news interviews following the strange story of the “missing” teenagers. The campaign was so successful that both audiences and critics actually believed the film was a true documentary featuring “found footage” of the hapless students seeking the truth about the famed Blair Witch.

The movie was eaten up by audiences, going on to gross over $248 million worldwide. With a budget of just $35,000, “The Blair Witch Project” continues to be one of the most profitable movies of all time – independent or not.

Easy RiderEasy Rider

“Easy Rider” is often credited as the film that ushered in the “New Hollywood” phase of the late ’60s and early ’70s where studios started paying attention to low-budget movies made by avant-garde filmmakers.
Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Terry Southern wrote, directed and starred in the film about two bikers hitting the road across the southwestern and southern U.S. Described as a modern western; “Easy Rider” examines the societal shifts and tensions that were paramount in America throughout the ’60s. The film’s cultural significance was acknowledged when it was added to the Library of Congress National Registry in 1998.

“Easy Rider” had a less challenging time than many other indie flicks thanks to the cache of Hollywood greats Fonda and Hopper, but it was still a true independent film even though it ended up being one of the highest grossing films of 1969 with a $41 million performance.

ClerksClerks

“Clerks” is a perfect indie-to-mainstream Cinderella story. Shot for just $27,575 in the actual convenience store where writer/director Kevin Smith worked at the time, the quirky film ultimately grossed over $3 million in theaters. Among many creative means Smith used to fund the film, he sold off a significant portion of his comic book collection and used money from an insurance settlement for a car that was lost in a flood.

Smith was another beneficiary of Independent Film Channel’s John Pierson, who offered guidance throughout the 21 days of filming and even added his two cents about the overly-depressing ending, finally convincing Smith to abbreviate the misery.

“Clerks” was a festival darling, claiming both the Award of the Youth and the Mercedes-Benz Award at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival, and tying for the Filmmakers Trophy at the Sundance Film Festival. The film was also nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards including Best First Feature and Best First Screenplay. After being picked up by Miramax, “Clerks” quickly became a cult-phenomenon, raking in its multimillion dollar take even though the film never played on more than 50 screens in the U.S. at one time.

What’s your favorite indie flick?

About the Author:  Lisa Forester is a fan of anything movie or tv related, and writes for Satellite TV.com in her spare time.

Fillim is Looking for Interns in Sydney… NYC soon!

Fillim.com is an innovative new platform for the global distribution of quality independent film, television, music video, web series and creative content.

Fillim has 4 part-time, short-term internships available in the areas of marketing, media, communications and film festival liaisons. The internships are unpaid but include mentoring, practical experience and a great set of references. There is also the potential for ongoing employment and back-pay for successful candidates.

Applications from passionate people with a flair for film and marketing are due by Tuesday 9 October. Read the attached flyer for full details then email a covering letter, resume and availability to Andy at andy@fillim.com.

Download Internship Flyer

The Jammed deserves a chance to be seen…. (review)

Nice performances from all of the cast of The Jammed. Hits every emotion you have. Emma Lung (Crystal), Saskia Burmeister (Vanya) and Sun Park (Rubi) draws you into their world filled with darkness and betrayal, with only their love for one another being the only light in their lives. Continue Reading →

Almost the “Perfect” camera… The DSC RX1 from Sony

The Sony DSC RX1 does so much right!

The obvious main massive innovation is the full frame sensor on a teeny tiny little body. This is no SLR and that could be a good thing.

For film makers who travel to insanely remote places this form factor could be the best thing in the world since the cheap (relatively) interchangeable lens digital SLR cameras. There is one glaringly obvious issue though. This does not have interchangeable lenses.

Why is a full frame sensor so important? It’s pretty simple really. I like to think about the pixels on the sensor like really angry dots. The more space they have around them the less angry they get and that means they can do their job better. If you squish a gazillion pixels onto a small sensor they get cross and you end up with noise. This is acceptable with loads of light but in darker locations at high iso’s it becomes an issue. If the pixels have plenty of space around them the noise is low. So low in fact it is becoming possible to shoot in something approaching dark with perfectly acceptable image quality.

Without interchangeable lenses this camera is not quite there but it’s not hard to see where the tech is going. I am biding my time for the next version with the interchangeable lens alternatives.

For photographers this could be good enough to warrant purchasing. It’s gotta be the highest quality image generating point and shoot on the planet doesn’t it? Let’s wait and see the reviews when it’s released in December to know for sure if Sony has hit the mark.

For more info head to Sony’s press release

Watsi: Crowdfunding Platform for High Impact Medical Treatment

Chase Adam’s is drawing on the recent explosion of crowdfunding with new start-up Watsi. Watsi is a non-profit crowdfunding platform  that allows members of the public to donate money to individuals in the developing world in dire need of medical treatment. According to the website,

We believe non-profits should be impactful, innovative, efficient, and transparent, and we built Watsi on those principles. Watsi is a community, not just an organization. We are young, dynamic and serious about using technology to connect people and change lives.

The site collects people’s information from countries such as Guatemala and Nepal, creates and uploads their profile detailing their health need or illness and the cost of treatment required. Visitors can browse and pledge a donation through Paypal until the goal is achieved.

All cases are verified by Watsi and multiple third party organisations such as CNN, ABC and HBO. Given the nature of such a site, the goal of Adam’s is to remain as transparant as possible to where the money goes. The Watsi website states that their tax return will be available for download as soon as it has been filed with the IRS. Adam also posted a Google Doc on the FAQ section of the site that helps keep track of partners, patients, donations, who approved the patient and the medical partners.

Watsi raises money from private donors to cover their overheads to ensure 100 percent of all donations directly fund medical treatment.

Scope… A killer of innovation or the key to launch?

In a world where cultures are judged by the art they leave behind it is just fine to create art for no other reason than to create art. In doing so we are saying something about our culture. We are saying we value creativity, exploration and diversity. These are important concepts culturally and they are of course enduring. Does the same ring true for innovation?

We have never lived in a time with more innovation. It is true that there have been periods when innovation delivered more seemingly important things – the wheel for example… Or more amazing things – Man on the moon and all that… Or more impressive things – The pyramids but when you look at innovation by volume – now is the time.

We are seeing rapidly iterating innovations from companies who are fighting desperately to keep ahead of the innovation curve. As soon as a company ceases to innovate they fall by the wayside and are replaced by leaner faster and more innovative organisations.

Every organisation that has ever hired a developer and negotiated a scope document will suffer under the inflexibility of said document. It becomes impossible to change the scope causing innovation to cease. It creates an odd balance between innovation and ability to deliver on budget and on time. The scope doctrine is a polarised paradigm to deal with the tasks at hand. If the scope is not adhered to, the launch of the product will be pushed back again and again as the product iterates and requires re-development. This is in direct opposition to the lean startup’s guiding principle that building something nobody wants is a waste of resources and verging on criminal.

So how do we find the balance? Is there another way of building projects? For starters developer flexibility is a function of resources and vision. If you negotiate a deal with a developer that is so lean that they are tied to the scope because every move from it causes financial burden you stifle innovation even before the development has begun. Of course sometimes there is no other way. If you are lucky and find a developer who is just passionate about the project, sees the bigger picture or is given the opportunity to invest in the product you can overcome this issue as it becomes less about profits and more about outcomes. We have all heard the horror stories… A fantastic product is never launched because it is “still not good enough”. This is bad and takes iteration and innovation too far.

So innovation for innovation sake is different to art for arts sake. It’s always a shame for a fantastic tech play never to see the light of day. Even the bad ones that are never launched are a loss because the inevitable pivot never comes and something wonderful is snuffed out.

Is the only real and enduring solution an in house developer who is working not to scope, but to feedback from real users of the product? They could then build what is actually wanted and know that the research on the product justifies the innovation.

The Projuicers

Indie filmmakers, guerrilla artists and mavericks. All great ways to describe the legions of creative individuals and organisations that are producing amazing film, video and new media projects outside of the formal structure of their respective disciplines. But more and more we are seeing these ‘outsiders‘ as the norm.

I’m no film historian, but I’d say that it’d be a fair call that so long as there has been a ‘studio way‘ of making films, there’s been an alternative avenue. And perhaps, more and more, that alternative has become a more viable option for indie filmmakers to eek out a living making the media they want to see made.

When I started Pro Juice TV with my buddy Arlo we were both on the cusp of ‘breaking in‘ to our respective industries. I had been editing for years but only just got my first real gig editing a broadcast documentary at the end of 2006. Arlo had been banging out tunes in his bedroom studio since he was old enough to pee by himself. But he too, was only just starting to get regular gigs and release his music internationally. It’s kind of strange to see that as we developed Pro Juice as an alternative way for us to bring our work, and that of our peers, into the spotlight, others from inside the system realised what we had to offer and started circling. And that’s a great thing. What we learned was that if you simply got off your arse and made media, and if it was good, people would pay attention.

I might consider myself a guerrilla producer, but I have no problem working for the ‘man‘ too. Working on the inside has seen me be part of some fantastic projects for all the major networks and seen my work screened at many international festivals. It’s introduced me to many great talents that I’ve gone on to work with inside and outside of the system. It’s helped me learn how to get my ‘outside’ seen by more eyes too!

Continue Reading →

Indie Film INGENIOUS, Starring Jeremy Renner, Turns To Kickstarter For Theatrical Funding

The world of distribution is changing both online and in cinemas… The producers of Ingenious are doing it all kinds of different and it would appear they have found the right ingredients to make it happen. They have started ramping up their KickStarter campaign proving that the majority of the success comes from the campaigners ability to communicate with their audiences.

The film stars two-time Academy Award nominee Jeremy Renner (The Bourne Legacy) and Dallas Roberts (The Grey), INGENIOUS has been in limbo for two years, waiting for finishing funds, and to take advantage of Renner’s increasing popularity.

During that time, INGENIOUS, although shown essentially as a rough cut, became a festival hit. Featured in fifteen festivals, it was the Opening Night film at the Jerusalem and Cleveland Film Festivals and the Closing Night film at the Santa Barbara Film Festival. INGENIOUS also won Best Picture and Best Director awards.

Reviews from the festivals have been overwhelmingly positive:

“A terrific yarn, a uniquely American movie. Renner and Roberts are sublimely cast. Could become an indie success story.”
Lael Lowenstein – VARIETY

“Great Script and inspired performances.”
Kim Voynar – MUSIC CITY NEWS

“We have received a number of offers from major US distributors,” said Brian Neufang with Arriba Films, “but didn’t think they shared our enthusiasm for a wide release, which we feel this movie merits.”

INGENIOUS is based on a true story about a small-time inventor (Roberts) and a slick salesman (Renner) who hit rock bottom before coming up with a product that becomes a worldwide phenomenon.

“But the movie isn’t about the product,” Neufang said. “It’s about perseverance and overcoming hard times with humor. We’re determined to prove,” Neufang went on to say, “that good indie films can succeed outside the Hollywood system.”

The INGENIOUS Kickstarter page, including the trailer and synopsis can be viewed here… Ingenious

Pakistan’s Cinema Renaissance

While teaching film studies at IQRA University in Lahore a number of years ago, a young student in the front of the class put up his hand and asked me a question. ‘Sir, all I want to do is make Pakistani version of The Matrix.’ While applauding his ambition, I could not help thinking his sights were set a little high. Not being one to douse enthusiasm and well aware that passion can build the seemingly impossible, I encouraged him to keep his dream alive. After all, in the 1950s to 1970s when his father was young, Lahore was blockbuster capital. Continue Reading →

Hola Latin American cinema fans!

7th Sydney Latin American Film Festival is in full swing! They have an amazing line-up of cinematic treats for you – everything from box-office hits to ground breaking documentaries, including many award-winning films and Australian premieres. Opening the Festival program will be the internationally acclaimed Argentine film MIA, a deeply moving drama that explores the issues of discrimination and the right to happiness. The festival runs from 6 to 16 September at four venues across Sydney.
Full program at www.sydneylatinofilmfestival.org. Nos vemos en el cine!

The Top Ten Basics of Film Distribution guest post by Michelle Lia

Ok. So you’ve made your film. You’ve spent hours and hours planning, shooting, going crazy over the render bar and so now what? Distribution concerns the matter of actually getting your film there for people to see whether it’s a theatrical release, straight to DVD, as airplane content or ( if you’re a hobbyist/ emerging filmmaker) film festivals.

These days with the proliferation of social media and online streaming anyone can distribute their film on a minuscule budget. Here are the top ten basics that you need to take into account when looking at festivals and film distribution. Continue Reading →

Welcome to the Fillim.com Blog…

The Fillim Blog is a place for Independent Film Makers to find information on changes to the industry in funding, distribution and trends.

At Fillim.com we are obsessed with independent film. We are making big changes to the way independent film is funded and distributed and wanted a place to share this with the world. So we created Film Uncut. It is sort of like our play ground and our soap box.

Stay tuned for lot’s of fantastic content here.

Cheers

Dan Solo: Co-Founder

Goodbye to the Gatekeepers

Every industry has gatekeepers and often they are absolutely necessary. The problem is that gatekeepers shouldn’t always call the shots and sometimes because of gatekeepers amazing things just don’t happen. You often hear stories about brilliant ideas that get turned down by one gatekeeper only to be taken up by another with spectacular results.

In the film industry there are gatekeepers at every level. Funding, film making and distribution all have them. Sometimes the gatekeepers perform a really important function. They are the first step towards quality control. Very often a film can’t get funding and it’s because the right pieces haven’t come together. This can be a good thing. The issues occur when the gatekeepers are turning down good ideas because they don’t have the time, the vision or the energy to execute on them. Continue Reading →

Starting Up

Reading Robert Scoble’s blog post on how launching a startup outside of the USA is much easier than it used to be, prompted me to think about our journey in the world of startups.

After building a prototype and running a small closed Beta program outside of the USA, we received very encouraging results. Despite the fact that my co-founder and I come from a technology and product development background of many years with many contacts in the industry, we found it extremely difficult to open doors and create opportunities at a local level. Continue Reading →