FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Film Festivals, Technology Disrupt Hollywood

The advent of inexpensive video production equipment and Internet-based distribution is beginning to change the way movies are made... breaking up Hollywood's monopoly on the industry and giving a voice to independent filmmakers. Film festivals such as Sundance, Tribeca and the upstart Liberty Film Festival (billed as "Hollywood's first conservative film festival") are giving critical exposure to filmmakers outside the inner circles of show business.

Cited as an example of the new style of no-budget filmmaking is Tarnation, a documentary made on a Mac at a cost of $250... and that generated respectable buzz at Sundance. Indeed, some of the most talked-about films of the past year have been independent releases that took off after being shown at film festivals. Even smaller efforts such as JibJab have gotten national attention (the last few JibJab productions have "premiered" on the Tonight Show).

''We're at an inflection point," Stephen Saylor, a vice president of Adobe Systems, is quoted as saying in a Boston Herald piece on the subject. ''What we saw with the desktop publishing revolution in the 1980s is now happening with cinema. Technology is making it easier and cheaper to make movies, whether you're a hobbyist, a 'prosumer,' or an artist."

There's no reason to think that this trend won't continue. And even if the downside is a glut of mediocre films that people make just because they can, the few gems that emerge -- and the careers that get launched -- will make it worthwhile.

Source: unmediated