Folk Filmmaking / Democratization of film as an artform
I came across this fine Letterboxd list today.
How did I come across it? Well, I'm glad you asked! I came across it because most of my films are on there.
The list is described as compiling "Truly indie features, made on a non-existent budget outside of the Hollywood system. Most of these are available legally for free on YouTube or Vimeo."
I, obviously, love that concept.
I'm a no budget filmmaker because I have no choice. I live and work in Germany. Here, you can either work for the state or work with no money. I never liked the German state, so me and my art are poor.
I once read a Francis Ford Coppola quote about video being the beginning of a "true democratization" of film. He expressed this fantasy of the next great filmmaker being some kid in middle America, potentially. He defined this process of democratization as film becoming a "true art form", finally.
I think he said all that back in the 80's and in the 2010's, film finally actually did reach that point, with cinema level equipment becoming available to consumer grade prices. Especially BlackMagic cameras and the DaVinci software are game changers, but DSLR was groundbreaking before that.
No Budget filmmaking has changed a great deal.
When we organized the "Obsessive Underground Film Festival", we were a bit disappointed that not more people around the world had taken advantage of the new possibilities and were making no budget features. But some people are.
I think Coppola is right about an art form's need to be democratic, accessible to all, independent from economic circumstances (much like writing and painting), to become truly relevant. As long as states and conglomerates are in a position to dictate what gets made and what doesn't, the results can't be wholly relevant as works of art.
Thus, I think no budget films are important. I enjoy making them and I enjoy watching them (and be it mostly to get inspired). And I don't mean amateur film, though I get why the boundaries are blurry to laypersons.
That list is fantastic. You should check it out!