By Shari Berman
It’s always interesting to look at the state of humanity through what art is offering.
In these times of disease, war and general lack of humanity, it gives me hope and faith that things can get better because people do care, and are willing to look at the problems of the world not as general humanitarian issues, but as personal ones.
Being on the screening panel (and Board) of the Art of Brooklyn Film Festival allows me to look at what independent filmmakers are focusing on today. And by independent, I don’t just mean films outside of the Hollywood Studio system, but films that are mostly financed by the filmmakers themselves.
Some films in the festival have well-known names attached — such as Stephen Baldwin in BALANCE and Nicholas Brendon (of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame) in INDIGO and Mark Margolis (Breaking Bad) and David Johansen (New York Dolls, Buster Poindexter) in BODIES IN IRREVERSIBLE DETRIMENT. But all truly indie films depend on their content and the technique of everyone involved, from director to actor to DP to gaffer to editor to succeed. Often, there is no big marketing plan to drive the work – just the art and love of the project.
So, independent filmmakers – with their limited budget and self-reliance – must be by nature creative thinkers and passionate about the projects they involve themselves with. Just to give the non-filmmaker reader some perspective – it’s not unheard of it taking more than 5 years for an independent filmmaker to complete a feature film. Short films can be created quicker, but in general a fifteen-minute film would realistically take at least a year to complete. So you either have to be completely insane to embark on this journey or really passionate…or perhaps a little bit of both.
The films in this year’s festival run the gamut in terms of genres, but one thing many of them have in common is showing how change can happen – whether on an individual level or a societal one – from one act or one discovery or with the unlikeliest person being the catalyst for it.
Through this series of blog posts, I’ll be talking about some of the films in the festival that touch upon this theme, so stay tuned for more. And if you just can’t wait to read about the films, check out our schedule (with links to descriptions and trailers) here.
Shari Berman is an award-winning filmmaker and partner in Be Independent Productions.
The 2014 Art of Brooklyn Film Festival runs May 7-11.