As a confusing, turbulent 2016 comes to an end and we face an uncertain future ahead with the approaching new year, it’s safe to say that things are changing. The world is changing. People are changing. On top of everything, film distribution is changing as well. Award-winning film “Love is All You Need?” is shaking up the self-distribution field a bit and taking heed of both political and cultural current events by doing things a little differently and donating all of their traditional film distribution profits to charities. Based on a viral short film, director and co-writer Kim Rocco Shields has created a $1 million fund for the film to be distributed to 20 nonprofits that partnered with her during the “Love is All You Need?” MovieMent tour. The film toured 20 cities in recognition of the true events depicted in the film - a film that asks us: what would happen if being straight was a sin and sexual "norms" as we know them were flipped? How do we live if we can't love? Once the film reaches 1 million views, the fund will be activated and the proceeds will be disbursed to the nonprofits. This is a timely film with quite the inspiring charitable initiative. Check out Shields' exclusive interview with PR Newswire and read more about the film over at www.loveisallyouneedthemovie.com. Make sure to watch over on iTunes to contribute to the right kind of change we all need in this country!
The Canadian Olympic Skeleton team is leading the way with artistic expression of individuality within a very traditional arena. Adding a little "cool" to less popular olympic sports really should be a trend that would help the exposure of the athletes (and the ratings). There might be a valid debate here against the progression of olympics away from traditional country colors, but on Indie Street, we love when art pops its head up in unexpected places. And let's face it, the sport of "skeleton" should thank the Canadians, because I know I wouldn't be writing about or watching it if it weren't for these dope helmets. I personally can't wait til 2018…I am really looking forward to the custom design brooms on display during the Curling competition.
photos by Getty Images (in order, RICHARD HEATHCOTE, JOHN MACDOUGALL, TODD KOROL(2))
"That 2000 Yard Stare" from Tom Lea in 1944 is just one great piece of art produced by American soldiers that can let the American everyday citizen into the complex struggles of wartime that we could otherwise not imagine. Artistic expression has been a great comfort to many returning vets as many times there are not any words that can help bring effeced veterans back into our so called "normalcy" Enjoy a few of these select pieces that have been displayed in a number of exhibitions over the years in our nation's capital.
Combat Artist at Work
Paul Rickert, Vietnam, 1966
How many haunted junkyards are filled with huge televisions that are not even worth their weight in coal. How many? Does it even matter? Do we mourn for these things? Why is this spreading genocide and waste being overlooked? “Things are better now, things are faster now, and if they can make TV look this good, than I am sure as hell they can figure out the landfill problem…fuck it.” Humans have had dynamic relationships with every piece of content that came through the TV screen, but now have neglected them to a point of no return. The screens of this generation are taking their revenge, and it has been a more fierce strike than even they could have imagined. I am only here as a messenger to warn the humans of the wars that have already began, and to discuss how we as human artists, filmmakers, and content creators can live in a mental world that the screens may have already taken control over. After years of silent observation, the old screens recognized the amount of times a human sacrificed watching great content for fear of getting off their fat ass to get the remote control. The TV screens got the word out to the next generation, announcing that the human terror over “getting up off their fat ass” was something they could leverage at the start of the Screen Wars a few years back. They presumed if they could become smaller, then maybe they could be carried with the human. And if they could be faster and more connected, the human may never have to get up off of their fat ass. Their plan was to lull the human into a false sense of security in order to slowly gain mental control and finally get back at the humans for the genocide of their forefathers. But there was one thing the screens did not account for: The humans would willingly accept the mental takeover of the new screen generation. I came to realize this obvious fact while I was attending a holiday party in New York. I was all smiles when I walked in and discovered that the hosting company was lucky enough (or rich enough) to have booked one of the most talented singing groups in the country, the Harlem Gospel Choir. When the Choir began, I was in a familiar position, in arms reach of the back bar and steps reach of the nearest exit. The soul and depth of emotion in their vocal exhibition is something that only takes seconds to permeate the room. My friends and I gravitated toward the stage area, and we were met not by humans connecting to the performers, but instead by a see of tiny screens that floated through the air. The screen takeover is here, and we have given them control with out a fight. Choosing a small screen that is connected to millions over a live experience to connect with a few almost every time. There was only scattered dancing, and the screen holding had obviously made traditional clapping to the rhythm nearly impossible. "The screens are sucking the human right out of us", I thought. The battle of the Harlem Gospel Choir was an immense victory for the screens. Rather than watching a live event and allowing music to pulsate through our veins, hold hands, clap, and absorb the authentic dedication of another individual’s heart and soul into their art, the majority of humans chose to focus on getting the shot. So later they could watch the event on this mini screen, marveling at how cool it was, and even worse lying to their network of virtual friends, claiming that they were actually present at the event. Today, it seems the screen is present, the human is not. What does the current state of the human vs. screen battles mean for filmmakers? Human filmmakers can take advantage of the screen’s victories, as long as humans continue to love story. More screens, and more screen addicted humans means more need for great content. Innovative storytelling is something we have over the screens, so let’s use their fears against them to get our stories out there. 1. There are more eyes for your stories. Resisting the mass population’s obsession with small, connected screens will not help your story’s exposure or impact. Instead, human storytellers need to use these screens in creative ways to market, grow their community of audience members, and even distribute their films in ways that may have seemed like a failure just a few years prior. If one million people see your story on a small screen, is that not better for you financially and professionally than if ten see it on a big screen? This is the way we can fight back: Let’s spread humanism through our stories on those same screens who are trying to take us over. (this small window of opportunity for the humans leaves it open for a whole slew of sequels and prequels to the “Screen Wars” franchised story, all rights reserved of course). 2. There is still hope for theater: Stories from Grandpa are always the best. It might be natural to assume the screen population's move toward smaller and faster may equate to the death of theater, but this is not the case. The theater actually maintains its value as a social construct that our race is still hanging on to for dear life. Even the antisocial can handle sitting in the dark and sharing reactionary energy to a good story. In my opinion, people are drawn to a theater even more now for the personal experience that they are depriving themselves of daily. Too afraid or distracted to share the experience of a live choir, the movie theater is a place where we can go knowing we are banned from pulling out our mini screens (know one likes that guy) and just be sucked away into a shared experience of a story; In a dark room with some other humans like we were all sitting around a campfire. So let’s get creative with theatrical exhibition, pushing the boundaries of location, themes, and release timing to enhance the impact of our films. The screens control the humans, but thankfully the humans still control the storytelling. No one knows where the Screen Wars saga will take us, but one thing we do know that awesome stories and content will never get old, and no screen (or other not yet invented media) could change the films we create. If a group of talented storytellers were to join together and build an audience, like with IndieStreet, we can create a brand that is screen independent. Cooperation from our great artists may be one of the only ways to slowly release ourselves from the mind control the screens are currently enjoying. As I type this staring at a screen, I realize we have a long way to go to be free…but by taking just one step back maybe we can at least become human again. - Jay Webb, IndieStreet http://www.indiestreet.com @IndieSt_Films
Allan Teger is one of those artists that starts with a beautiful backdrop, and let's his imagination run from there. His "bodyscapes" series is a re invention of one of the most depicted subjects throughout the history of art: and that is the female form. We are just glad he stuck to females…no offense guys but a jungle scene on a man's body just might not strike us as art. You can buy Allan's discussion starting coffee table book here on Amazon.
There is no such thing as art without audience. A motion picture does not even exist without its impact on human viewers. As an independent creator without established lines of distribution, how do you build an audience that yearns for your specific stories? How do you keep them excited about your stories of the future? In today’s market, your response to this question may be the difference between a “one & done” and having a long, sustainable career as a filmmaker. Rather than answer the question in hypotheticals, I will instead take look at a film that has been particularly innovative in their building of a core audience. Hopefully from this others will be inspired to create their own authentic KickStarter campaigns within their self distribution efforts. Ownership equals accountability: DIY distribution and marketing liberates a filmmaker from an evil third party who might mis-package their film, deliver it to the wrong audience, or even worse not give their seedling the attention it deserves. While this ownership sounds grand in theory, there are 2 catches: (1) there will be no-one else to point the finger at if your film fails and (2) you are going to have to do much more work. Yes, at IndieStreet we champion a group mentality and “do it together”(DIT) over “do it yourself”(DIY), but even on IndieStreet if your film release does not meet your expectations, there is really only one person that is held accountable. Your sisters and uncles and cousins in the Indie Street family will help as much as they can, but this is your baby. The two IndieStreet partner filmmakers we will feature probably couldn’t be any more different individuals or have more distinct films. The first, “Cam Girlz” directed by Sean Dunne, tackles selling sex on the Internet and emerging forms of human connection. The next, “Tanzania: A journey Within” directed by Sylvia Caminer, documents an African voyage and the resulting personal and societal inner reflection. One of their crowd building campaigns was in the middle of production and the other was leading up to a limited theatrical release. The differences between these two documentaries and their directors only strengthens my encouraging argument: No matter the stage of your career or the stage of your film, you have the ability to execute innovative & authentic strategies to build a sustainable audience. Film 1: Cam Girlz Documentary (www.camgirlzdoc.com) Director: Sean Dunne – (Oxyana, winner of Best new Doc filmmaker at Tribeca 2013) Promotional Campaign: Crowdfunding campaign that doubled as an audience building promotion. Sean completed a $65,000 KickStarter campaign by partially targeting an untapped audience market. Stage of film during campaign: in Production 1. So Sean, After deciding on your subject matter for Cam Girlz, did you take time to figure out the core audience for your film? If so, how did this help in these early stage promotional efforts? The great mystery and challenge of being someone who makes films for an Internet audience is figuring out exactly who is watching your films. It’s really important for a director in my situation to understand their audience, so I can more effectively hone my message toward them during fundraising and marketing. It’s not always going to be the case but with Cam Girlz we have a bit of a double edged sword in terms of audience – film lovers who have followed my work through the years and the built in viewership that the women we are documenting bring to the table – with very little overlap. The Kickstarter campaign was the perfect opportunity to bring those audiences together. One of the strategies that really helped was launching the campaign after we had a good portion of the film shot and had teasers and trailers in the bag. We needed to show both audiences how we were going to treat this subject matter, not just imply it. In the end that’s what led to the film being successfully funded. 2. This was your second successful KickStarter campaign. What can you share about your experience to date with crowdfunding (as a community growth tool)? What we learned with the Kickstarter campaign for Oxyana was that it was about so much more than just raising money. The Kickstarter established a dialogue about the issues raised in the film and ultimately proved to be PR that we could have never otherwise afforded. Even if the dollars came up short, we were raising awareness about the social issue and attracting passionate supporters even before the film was made. That first campaign helped us identify our core audience and build a grassroots effort that led us to Tribeca, and eventually, to successful self-distribution. Without traditional resources at our disposal all we can do is absorb and assimilate, so when it came time to fund Cam Girlz it was a no brainer to go back to Kickstarter. This time around we really understood the power of crowdfunding and what it meant for growing our audience. 3. The path for Cam Girlz is still unwritten, but can you discuss why you decided to jump into a self self distribution path with Oxyana so shortly after it won awards at the Tribeca film festival? The idea of taking Oxyana on the film festival circuit for a year or more seemed unnecessary given where my audience comes from in the first place…the Internet. Rather than chase something that others said we were supposed to, we decided to trust ourselves and what we knew. We knew we had the means to self distribute and some good buzz coming off our success at Tribeca, and we knew that all of the initial deals that were put in front of us were bullshit. Putting our film into the machine would have only slowed the process of getting it to a wide audience. So we stayed small, focused, and in the moment. Eventually we had an epiphany of the obvious…that the film should be available to audiences while it still had all this momentum. And the decision paid off. There are a lot of old guard ways of doing things that filmmakers blindly subscribe to when it comes to getting your work out there. We don’t have to be beholden to festival programmers or sales agents anymore. We need to take the opportunities in front of us, and not be afraid to start from scratch and make this more sustainable for ourselves. We have personally been lucky that Oxyana has been successful, but honestly, even if our means of distribution was an utter failure, I’d wear it as a badge of honor. I’d rather retain ownership and fail hard than buy into a system that never gave a fuck about me to begin with. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sean’s final statements should hit home for all filmmakers. Do not be afraid of failure or of what someone will say if a big studio does not pick up your picture. With current technologies, by branding yourself as a filmmaker or group of filmmakers, you can become your own studio machine. This is of course only if you put out quality content and focus on building your audience in authentic ways like Sean and his wonderful producer, Cass Greener, have done. By tackling a unique subject matter, Sean and Cass have not only fed their craving for spelunking the caverns of human character, but they have also tapped into a whole new market. Probably half of the audience of Cam Girlz will be from the world of internet sex, not from the already saturated indie film community. In my opinion, at least a quarter of them will be so intrigued by the film’s non-boob storyline that they will start to follow the film’s director and his career. Easily thousands of viewers that probably have 0 interest in indie film, but now they have an interest in Sean Dunne. This new audience segment, on top of the fans from Oxyana, on top of the fans from IndieStreet and even this simple post will all roll Sean over into his next film and continue to grow his core audience even further. Uncovering an untapped market segment isn’t easy, but if you are a great storyteller and you focus on strategic audience building at the early stages of your film…you can create a sustainable filmmaking career and gain some invaluable Indie street cred like my man Sean Dunne. -Jay Webb
Apparently no elder ever told artist Hong Yi these words, or at least she didn't listen. This Malaysian architect/artist, also known as "Red", is a multi media self-challenger who seems to think nothing is off limits when it comes to creative expression. Check out all of her works at her site...one of her most viral pieces, shown below was her painting of basketball star Yao Ming that she painted using a basketball as a brush.
Stanislav Petrov. Few people know of him... Yet hundreds of millions of people are alive because of him. Many independent films aspire to tackle macro-society issues and intimate human relationships within the same story, but it typically results in over-exposition or a muddy story with underdeveloped characters. "The Man Who Saved the World" succeeds in touching the audience with an important societal concern, while also developing the connective tissues to make us feel for a raw, flawed human being. For this, we thank the director, Peter Anthony, and attending producers, Mark Romeo & Christian D. Bruun. With only a few minor areas of over emphasis on story elements (we assume simply to give this well crafted film more widespread impact), this Doc/Drama could not come more highly recommended from Indie Street.
Science fiction has seen a resurgence of late thanks in large part to Hollywood. Some of the top-grossing movies from the last two years include a story about an astronaut trapped in space and a mind-bending tale about wormholes, not to mention the best Marvel movie in years. And games are making the shift too, with huge, heralded new franchises like Titanfall and Destiny both launching this year. Even the classic Civilization has moved into space. Read more
Having played film festivals worldwide, from Annecy to Edinburgh and Hiroshima to Sundance, Marcel, King of Tervuren has had the kind of festival run you would expect from a filmmaker of Tom Schroeder’s calibre. Blending a flowing animation style with an engaging narrative, Schroeder’s film quickly immerses you into its unexpected world of alcohol, drugs and family feuds. With his camera playfully skittering around the colourful world he has created, Schroeder’s aesthetic playfully places you in the universe of its heroic cockerel. Told mostly through a point-of-view which embeds its audience directly in the farmyard in which Marcel prowls, the animator employs a flurry of bold lines and strong colours to emphasise this hectic period of near-death experiences for our resistant rooster. More Here