“Declare your independents” is not a misprint. It’s an idea I had yesterday.
I was stewing over this post — Why are the major studios NOT making more movies for the largest demo groups — and feeling grumpy about it when I read quotes like this in my Twitter feed that made me even more dispirited:
@LisaPease: Adults don’t need special effects or stars – just a good story.
KJSFAN: I’m in every highest category – I can say “Categorically they are Not making enough movies for me.”
@luacheia99: Are they blind? MT @GoIntoTheStory: Why are the studios NOT making more movies for the largest demo groups
Of course, the fact is there are plenty of wonderful movies produced each year, just not by major studios, but rather independent production companies and filmmakers. For example, here are some of the indie movies coming out this summer:
The Way, Way Back (July 5), Fruitvale Station (July 12), The Spectacular Now (August 2), I Give It A Year (August 9), Drinking Buddies and Short Term 12 (August 23), and The Lifeguard (August 30).
As I ruminated on these matters, suddenly the heavens parted and a double rainbow of inspiration slammed into the mush which is my gray matter, generating this idea:
On Independence Day weekend, why don’t we attend a screening of an independent movie currently in theaters?
Hence: Declare your independents!
When the masses are lemming-like trawling toward this sequel or that remake, we can opt to vote for independent filmmakers by spending our dollars on their movies.
Interesting settings! Compelling characters! Fresh voices! And you know… actual stories!
I got a late start on it this year, but let’s see what bubbles up in a conversation here on the blog this weekend. Some initial thoughts I had:
* I could upload an Independents Day post each day this weekend: Friday, Saturday, Sunday.
* I encourage any of you who go to see an independent movie to post your reactions to the film in those posts. Good, bad, indifferent, whatever, let’s create whatever minimal amount of buzz we can. And certainly if there’s a film you want to recommend, do it. Use your words to inspire readers to magically transport themselves out of the Barcolounger and into a local cinema that embraces subtitles.
* When you go to the theater, why not whip out your cellphone and snap a shot of something that demonstrates you were there. A photo of the movie poster in the lobby. A shot of your ticket stubs. An image of the movie theater itself. You and your iconoclastic indie film freaks.
* Could we create a Pinterest thingee to post all those images? This is not a rhetorical question. I’ve never used Pinterest, so I’m asking for information.
I don’t often come up with good ideas, but I think this is one of them. I’m certainly going to run with it on the blog, an annual event to remind each and every one of us, we can do more than whine about the state of the movie business by getting off our assess, driving down to the local bijou that features indie films, and supporting the bountiful array of distinctive and different movies that are being produced and distributed.
You’ve heard of counterprogramming? Well, this is counter-viewing.
Okay, what do you think? Good idea? Stupid idea? Myers, go back to your lonely dark office and leave us alone?
I look forward to your comments.
DECLARE YOUR INDEPENDENTS!
UPDATE: Hey, check it out. I just Googled “what independent movies are showing” and found this: the Fandango Indie Movie guide. And look at this: A monthly guide to indie movies. Had no idea this existed.
As for me, I’m putting my actual money where my virtual mouth is: Rebecca and I are going to see Much Ado About Nothing at the Chelsea Theater on Sunday night. This will be my second time to see the movie [I went the first time with Luke].
How about you? What independent movie will you see this Independence Day weekend?
UPDATE #2: My crack development assistant Wendy came up with all of these links to help you Declare Your Independence:
INDIEWIRE’s Summer Movie Preview: The 50 Indies You Must See (Parts 1-5)
UPDATE #3: For any conversations on Twitter re this initiative, let’s use these two hashtags:
#independents and #declareyourindependents
What do you think about making this a year-long thing? We use July 4th weekend as a launching point and reminder each year, but every Friday, for example, I could post a list of indie movies that are being released in theaters and VOD that weekend, along with trailers, key reviews, etc.
Note: This is not to denigrate mainstream commercial movies. In the spirit of Declare Your Independents, it seems to me a true movie ‘patriot’ will go see those big films in addition to supporting indie films. But obviously it’s up to you.
I’m just trying to think of a way to heighten awareness of indie movies, the choices we have, and in general provide an actual act we can do to give ourselves a more aesthetically pleasing experience by seeing diverse films while giving a bump to independent cinema as a whole.
UPDATE #4: Producer Ted Hope, who arguably more than anyone has been leading the conversation about the state of indie films and more importantly trying to do something about it, has this post yesterday, his own reflections about Independence Day and indie films.