Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Call to Action, Part One: Support Independent Filmmaking!

This weekend, I had the pleasure of attending screenings of the Oscar-nominated Live Action and Animated Shorts at Amherst Cinema.  A HUGE independent film fanatic, I love going to art houses to view the latest trends in independent art making.

Here's trailers for my favorite shorts from the 2012 Oscar nominees' list:
1.  Pentecost (Live Action), Peter McDonald, dir., Ireland

2.  The Shore (Live Action), Terry George, dir., Northern Ireland (many of you may recognize the lead actor, Ciaran Hinds from the HBO series Rome).

3.  Time Freak (Live Action), Andrew Bowler, dir., USA (this one was my absolute favorite)

4.  The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (Animated), William Joyce & Brandon Oldenburg, directors, USA (this is the entire film.  I loved this one, and actually cried at the end)

Unlike most movie-going experiences, I was (gladly) forced to stick around to watch the credits following every film, as each short was showed in succession of one another.  Reading the credits brought me so much joy and intrigue.  I was able to appreciate the "hustle" that it takes to create films with little to no budget.  I also realized the differences between art-making in the US and other countries.  In Canada and countries in the UK, independent films receive government subsidies towards completing the project.  In the United States...well, I hope that we are all aware of the state of funding "anything" here.  Its next to impossible to receive funding for organizational survival, let alone creating something that challenges artistic integrity.

For those who are interested in supporting the livelihood of your fellow neighbors (artists who need to put food on their table and pay their utilities), I suggest you check out your local art house.  To find your local art house, visit Independent Lens' website (Independent Lens is a series that regularly airs on PBS.

The Independent Spirit Awards is coming up.  If you're interested in finding out more on independent filmmaking, please check it out.  The awards show is airing on IFC on Saturday, February 25.  This awards ceremony is uncensored, so I'm betting that all viewers will have a great time watching it!  This year's festivities will be hosted by Seth Rogan.  To find out if IFC is provided by your cable or satellite provider, please visit their respective websites.  I have DirecTV and am proud to say that I get BOTH IFC and The Sundance Channel.  Both channels show independently produced films and television series.

In a couple of days, I'll be posting my list of favorite independent films.  You'll probably be surprised as to which films make the list, as many of them do not come across as independently-produced projects.  Also, I'll be posting information on the current state of arts funding in the United States and the importance of celebrating non-commercial art-making at some point this week as well.

If you live in Western Massachusetts, specifically near Amherst or Northampton, I highly recommend you see one of the screenings this week of either the Live Action, Animated, or Documentary Shorts before the Academy Awards airing Sunday, February 25 at 5:30 p.m. PST/8:30 p.m. EST on ABC. I think that we'll all pay attention to the brief, ackwardly set-aside moments when the winners of these categories are giving their speeches, as I believe they deserve more time than they are granted for they are truly the best "hustlers" out there.

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