Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008: A Year in Indie Filmmaking

2008 was not a banner year for independent filmmaking. At the start, writers were on strike and producers were nervous about the future of their productions with possible DGA and SAG strikes mid-year. The writers strike ended in February but it set a tone of uncertainty for film productions throughout 2008. 

Film sales didn't have it any easier. There were positive feelings at the beginning of the year, as evidenced by this Variety article predicting a hopeful Sundance. But when the sales looked dismal after the first weekend (NYTimes Article), an underlying skepticism that had been brewing took over the scene. And when indie-darling and award-winning film "Ballast" couldn't get an acceptable distribution deal, skepticism began feeling more like panic. We wondered if we agreed with Mark Gill that the sky really was falling? What were independent filmmakers to do if they couldn't sell the films they were making?

Luckily, independent filmmakers are scrappy and used to the roller coaster ride of working outside the Hollywood system. There is an eternal optimism that independent filmmakers share, along with a fierce drive to getting their stories made and in front of an audience. If any group is going to survive, it will be independent filmmakers. So, in 2008, dinners (DIY Dinner) were had and conferences held (IFP Conference) and panels presented (DIY Filmmaking in an Indie Apocalypse) and blogs started (Truly Free Film) and projects promoted (Workbook Project) and suddenly independent filmmakers began seeing a future again. May this future be bright in 2009!

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