In today’s world of movies, it’s hard for Independent Filmmakers to find Directors to use as inspiration for their own work. When the number of theaters and weekly box office numbers are celebrated 52 times a year, an environment that fosters arthouse, non-mainstream, independent filmmaker work is close to nonexistent. This can be seen so easily when it comes to awards season. This is the only time when these types of films are brought to the forefront and everyone is looking at the nominations and thinking, “never heard of that”. What they have heard of are the latest blockbusters. I’m not saying that the awards shows are a benchmark for great films, but it is at least a different focus from every other week in movies. It’s the difference between the latest Transformers movie being celebrated and a film that only played at a small number of theaters during its run.
I remember looking forward to the latest Paul Thomas Anderson film, Punch Drunk Love, coming out. I looked online for where it was playing. I looked at 5 miles from my current location, 10 miles, 15 miles, until I finally found it about an hour away at a small theater. We are very lucky that we still have some great Directors like Spielberg and Scorsese that will play at an abundance of theaters. Tarantino and some others can now also be added to that list.
I understand this is not a new problem as many smaller productions have always been largely ignored in the theater, but I feel it has gotten worse. The focus is more on the visual side of movies instead of the story driven films. The focus is on the moments in films and not the scenes. The one quick shot of a superhero silhouette instead of a close-up of someone telling a story. Today’s society, with our smart phones, social media, and texting, live for the quick thrill instead of the drawn-out building of the story.
I’m not saying I do not enjoy blockbusters, but there needs to be better balance with thought provoking and arthouse or short films.