Filmmaking on a Shoestring
Low-budget films are typically considered to be those made for under $500,000. Depending on who you talk to, that limit could be as high as one million. Most indie filmmakers would give their right arm for a budget of $50,000, and many have made commercially profitable films for far less. In true rags-to-riches style, Sam Raimi's 1983 cult horror film
The 2002 film
Organizations for Independent Filmmakers
The Independent Film and Television Alliance (formerly known as the American Film Marketing Association) is the largest and arguably the most powerful organization designed for the production and distribution of independent films. In 2005, film companies associated with the IFTA were involved with the production or distribution of forty-three of the 110 Academy Award nominees.
The IFTA represents hundreds of film companies from the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and Asia, including Alliance-Atlantis, Capitol Films, Carlton International Media, Crystal Sky, Filmax, Focus Features, Franchise Pictures, FremantleMedia, Goldcrest Films, Good Times Entertainment, HBO, IAC, Intermedia, Liberty Entertainment, Lions Gate, Lola Films, Miramax, Morgan Creek, New Line, NU Image, Overseas Filmgroup, Pathé, StudioCanal, Summit, TF1, Troma, and Wild Bunch. The IFTA can be accessed on the Internet (see Chapter 17) for a complete listing of their affiliated companies along with contact information.
Documentary filmmaking has reached unprecedented audience acceptance in the film industry. Michael Moore's controversial film
Guerrillas in the Mist
There is a growing contingent of hardcore independent filmmakers who gleefully ignore traditional production protocol and shoot movies either their way or no way. Guerrilla-style filmmaking is often done on the run, shooting in unauthorized locations with little regard for permit processes and usually no regard for municipal codes or restrictions.
This freestyle approach to filmmaking often results in exciting cinema, although the commercial marketability of these endeavors is questionable. For many filmmakers with a rebellious nature, commercial success isn't the motive. The motive for guerrilla filming is often simply the personal satisfaction of just picking up a camera, getting out there, and making a film.