THE MANY CHALLENGES OF INDEPENDENT FILMMAKING (AND HOW TO OVERCOME THEM)
by Rasha Rehman, Juhi Dhingra
Filmmakers, particularly indie filmmakers, face a wide array of bottlenecks at various stages of film production. On any given day, millions of people across the world discuss the idea to make a movie, thousands of them are determined to make it happen one day, but only a few hundreds of them actually end up fulfilling them – of these, just a handful make it to film festivals and big screens. This is, in part, attributable to lack of serious drive – filmmaking is an art that cannot be taken for granted, after all – but a larger part of it is insufficient resources. Here’s a list of the top 5 challenges faced by indie filmmakers:
Emerging filmmakers find it incredibly hard to get enough funding to bring concepts to screen. As such, most of them resort to nontraditional methods such as crowdfunding and help from nonprofits. However, once the money runs out, the production almost always shuts down until the next round of funds can be obtained. This also makes it difficult to hire talent in the first place.
2- Motivation level of crew
The erratic filming schedule due to prolonged periods of wait until crew has enough money to shoot for a few days causes outside pressure to build, which often leads to a dip in the cast and crew’s enthusiasm.
3- Investing in marketing
Most indie movies are made on a shoestring budget, and as such a majority of them do not have enough to invest in post-production. Ana Lily Amirpour, who directed A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, sums it up: “How many inventors must there have been with ideas and how many created something? That’s like the zeitgeist that you can’t really predict or control. I think the inventor just has to believe in their own invention and be attracted by his own idea, and maybe other people will too but you can’t predict it.”
4- Lack of quality
Dearth of top-class equipment due to limited funds causes filmmakers to often compromise on quality. This leads to a relatively low production value.
There was a time when film distribution was about someone picking up a movie in exchange for vast reserves of money, but with thousands of filmmakers swamping the market, the competition to make it to the big screen has increased manifold.
With these and many more hindrances faced by independent filmmakers, the need for organizations that assist with various facets of filmmaking is dire. In case of cinemas that are predominantly indie, e.g., Iranian, Afghan, and Tajik film industries, there’s an added layer of challenges in the from of lack of representation, resources, and connections. Most novice filmmakers don’t know whom to reach out to and how to get any type of aid. However, good news is that platforms such as Farsi Cinema Center (FCC) offer help in the form of assistance with funding; access to experienced film professionals for advice and help; a network of global talent; and aid with marketing and distribution, among others. Such initiatives open up a number of doors for emerging and established filmmakers, who now have the opportunity to undertake larger ventures with readily available help. With access to a large network such that of FCC, opportunities and possibilities are endless!