Micro-budget filmmaking – The Future of Cinema? International panel< Back
09 | 04 | 2012
Micro-budget filmmaking – The Future of Cinema? is the title of the international panel at the 69th Venice international Film Festival, chaired by Peter Cowie. It will take place in the Press Conference Room on the Lido on Tuesday 4th September at 3 pm.
In the year when the Biennale di Venezia launches the Biennale College-Cinema initiative, in partnership with Gucci, an educational training workshop for the production of three low budget films open to young filmmakers, the international panel will focus on two themes: the importance of being able to make a micro-budget film in a period of global recession, and the need to find youthful auteurs if the cinema is to be reinvigorated.
Several film critics and historians will take part in the panel moderated by Peter Cowie (United Kingdom, film historian and founder of the International Film Guide): Richard Corliss (United States, chief film reviewer for the weekly magazine “Time”, New York), Mick LaSalle (United States, chief film reviewer for the “San Francisco Chronicle”), Savina Neirotti (Italy, Biennale College-Cinema and TorinoFilmLab), Mark Peranson (Canada, editor of Cinema Scope magazine).
Since the turn of the millennium, an ever-increasing number of neophyte film makers have solved the financial challenge of producing films by using digital equipment, and even mobile phones. The results have been uneven, just as the cinematography is not exactly up to the standards of a Sven Nykvist or Vittorio Storaro. But the sheer immediacy and authenticity of these films, plus the fact that every so often one of them manages to make a good deal of money at the box-office, justify their modest means of production. Nor is this a new phenomenon. Is there not a precedent in the work of the great European and Asian auteurs? Satyajit Ray made Pather Panchali for just $3,000 in 1955, Ingmar Bergman shot Summer with Monika in 1952 for today's equivalent of $75,000, and the key films of the Neo-realist movement in Italy were made on a shoestring. The American director, John Cassavetes, made Shadows for just $40,000 back in 1959. During the early 1990's Kevin Smith made Clerks for $27,000, and Robert Rodriguez made El Mariachi for $7,000. We can reflect on such unexpected hits as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre in 1974, The Immoral Mr. Teas, The Blair Witch Project, and The Night of the Living Dead – all of which were made for less than $120,000 dollars, and all of which covered their budget by a multiple of literally a hundred.
Among other issues, the panel will address the importance of film festivals where micro-budget filmmaking is concerned.