I recently attended a series of panel discussions presented by Filmmakers Across Borders. The event was sponsored by the San Antonio Film Commission and was the opening event for the 34th Annual Cinefestival. This festival is the longest running Latino film festival in the world.
The headliner for the event was Ted Hope. Ted is an American independent producer based in New York. He started his career as a producer in the early ‘90s, and to this date has over sixty movies to his credit. Included among them are twenty-three Sundance entries. The Hollywood Reporter recently cited Ted among twenty-five of the most powerful people in independent film making.
A point in Ted’s message was how collaboration with others can allow you to maintain control of your vision yet still distribute your work around the world. With collaboration you can operate outside of what Ted calls, “permission based film making” by Hollywood. Mr. Hope purports that the traditional movie business is driven by the American structured release of a project; however, the profits are made from the international deals.
Audiences have a vast array of choices when it comes to the path your work may be seen. With today’s multiple distribution platforms (Ted mentions a list of over 75) movie makers are now able to collaborate with others across borders.
Today’s technology allows for easy integration with teams from around the globe. One such effort was that of writer/director David Baker from Scotland. For his movie, SCREEN, Baker needed to shoot in the United States for his primary outdoor venue. The movie centers on a location that is unique to the Midwest: an abandoned drive-in theater. Baker’s search, via social media, led to another writer/director, Oklahoma Ward. Together, they launched a Kickstarter campaign that combined their followers from both sides of the world, easily exceeding the campaign’s goal.
Technology also allowed Baker to do several weeks of pre-planning and primary actor/crew hires via Skype. By collaborating on shooting schedules, both Baker and Ward were able to turn two separate four week production schedules into nine consecutive weeks. This allowed for better equipment rates and longer engagements with crew. They shared production offices, transportation vehicles, and primary crew. Baker even appeared as a character in Ward’s film and recently directed pickup shots via
Skype from Scotland.
The above example might not be what you would think of as part of the concept of Filmmakers Without Borders. Technology has furthered the ideas and innovations of all filmmakers and made the model applicable anywhere in the world. Mr. Hope, as well as other panelists, discussed a wealth of information at the 34th Annual Cinefestival. I invite you to visit www.ustream.tv/channel/FilmSanAntonio for more insight on this topic.
About the Author
After almost two decades as Vice President of Production Services for the largest rental facility in central Texas, Craig Chartier has returned to his first passion as Director of Photography. Craig was an early adopter of full frame 4K imaging securing the first RED ONE camera delivered in the state of Texas. Recently completing two feature films slated for release later this year, Craig continues to be on the forefront in utilizing the current generation of high definition acquisition. He has served on film festival panels and guest lectured at college film courses.