Independent Filmmaking: What Is It Good For?

BY HARMONIE CHAPMAN

Independent film has become one of the most powerful creative tools this industry has to change the world.

Everyone has to start somewhere, and for many, that starting point is independent filmmaking. Whether it be a student film, or the next blockbuster, independent filmmaking is everywhere. 

One of the great aspects of independent filmmaking is that it gives the space for mistakes and growth. It is sometimes the inspiration that fuels film students to pursue a career in filmmaking.

The space they’re given with lower budgets and smaller sets is ideal for new filmmakers because it creates great obstacles to overcome in creative ways. 

Student films can be wonderful tools for budding filmmakers to step into the independent genre because many times the filmmakers get to work in several different roles on set which expands their cinematic toolbelt.

I had the amazing opportunity to be a part of an acting school that ran alongside a film school. Seeing firsthand the amount of knowledge and practical skills my fellow students attained was incredible, and this was all in independent filmmaking.

The shorts they created during the school had some of the most incredible and powerful stories, even without a huge, and sometimes non-existent budget.

Independent films also have some of the most powerful stories.

Since independent films usually aren’t overseen by big production companies, the writers and directors have the ability to expand their story and give a meaningful message to their film.

Many independent films are passion projects which is a wonderful place for filmmakers to be. There’s so much creative freedom to invest real love and intention to each project.

Independent film can create a wonderful atmosphere where all who are a part of the project really believe in the film being created, and many times are groups of friends who support one another beautifully.

Unfortunately, independent films tend to be very underrated for what their worth.

Look at Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016) or Little Miss Sunshine (2006) for example. Both are quirky and lower budgeted movies, but they have beautiful underlying stories of family and acceptance. 

Napoleon Dynamite (2004) is another good example. On the surface it seems to be a really slow paced, highly weird movie, but tells an incredible story of struggling with social and physical isolation.

Some really incredible films with amazing messages have come from independent filmmaking.

Independent filmmaking at its core is a space where friends, dreamers, and filmmakers can come together in a way that not only creates powerful and impacting stories, but can influence the world in miraculous ways.

The tenacity of independent filmmakers and their willingness to go above and beyond for their craft is transformative, and I believe can change the world. 

Not only does independent film influence the cast and crew, but it really does influence the audience. Yes, big budget films do this as well, but independent film has a very special way of doing so. 

I am so thankful to be a part of independent filmmaking and to see how it can be used to impact society is incredible.  

Independent films, when utilized correctly, can be some of the most powerful mediums in this industry to inspire and change the world, given the creative freedom and ability to develop deep and meaningful messages.

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