The future of indie

There’s an interesting article by Manohla Dargis in the NY Times’ Arts section about how the open source ethic may revolutionize if not create an entirely new species of American independent film. As Dargis puts it in the piece,

By sharing information and building on one another’s ideas, they are in effect creating a virtual infrastructure. This infrastructure doesn’t compete with Hollywood; this isn’t about vying with products released by multinational corporations. It is instead about the creation and sustenance of a viable, artist-based alternative — one that, at this stage, looks markedly different from what has often been passed off as independent cinema over the past 20 years.

Such a cinema would no longer privilege the movie theater as being the only legitimate place where one can have an authentic cinematic experience. Also, films produced and distributed within this hypothetical climate would employ many more media to sell themselves than anything we’ve seen hitherto. Dargis: “This isn’t just about slapping a movie logo on a lunchbox or a screensaver: it’s about creating an entertainment gestalt.”

However, there may be considerable dangers to the D.I.Y. 2.0 distribution model—namely, that filmmakers may have to work overtime as synergistic salesmen, potentially neglecting their art as a result. We shall see.

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