The best filmmaking advice I can give you is to watch as many independent films as possible. Learn as much as you can about them so that it can inspire and encourage you to make your indie film. A few recommendations to get you started are What If, Swiss Army Man, and In Your Eyes.
And now, I want to highlight The Land Of Eb, which you can find on Amazon Prime.
Directed by Andrew Williamson and starring Jonithen Jackson, the story follows Jacob and his family, who live on the edge of paradise, and explores their struggle to make a home for themselves.
First of all, I’m probably a bit biased about how good this movie is because I had the privilege of working on it, but in case you’re afraid I’m being partial it was an official selection at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in 2012, and won “Best Hawaiian Feature” at the Big Island Film Festival (BIFF). It was also nominated in two other film festivals. So when I say it’s good and a great indie to inspire your next movie, I’m not the only one who thinks that’s true.
The film was inspired by the real-life of its star. Director Andrew and Producer John Hill met Jonithen (Producer/Lead) at a market in Hawaii, where he was selling DIY film gear he’d personally made. They got to talking and the next thing they knew, they were writing a film together.
THE LAND OF FILMMAKING
A true indie, with a budget around 35K, the crew was a conglomeration of independent filmmakers from all over the world, working together to see this incredible story brought to life. The film itself is wonderfully slow-paced, adding to the beauty of the story’s location, playing up the drastic differences between the characters’ lives and the superficiality of what most people think of living in Hawaii.
The best part of shooting this project was how the film team worked together. We all lived together in a rented house, sleeping on air mattresses, and eating our breakfast at a fold-up table, with plastic chairs. And while most days were full to the brim, there were a few that started as last as mid-day and ended just after 10 (which is a pretty breezy day for set life).
Part of the reason we were able to do this is because several of those shoots took place at real events, which required less for us set up wise. It was also easier because there were fewer shots.
On your next indie, if the location is a bit more remote consider renting a house, while it could be a risk to spend THAT much time with your crew, it could also build a stronger team. Also, think about filming at live events, would that work for your story?
THE LAND OF ACTING
One of the most unique things about this great indie is the incredible cast. Every actor is playing themselves. While there are aspects of the story that are fiction, Jonithen plays a character not quite different from himself, his real wife plays his on-screen wife, and his daughter plays herself. Doing this can be risky, but in the case of Eb, I think it creates powerful, raw characters who shine on screen.
Again, this is something to keep in mind for your next indie project. Do you have a story about real people? Think they’d be interested in playing themselves?
The last thing I’ll say about this film is the use of an incredible location. Hawaii. For this one I know I’m biased because I grew up there, but it’s a great place to shoot a film and that is showcased beautifully within The Land Of Eb. It’s one of my all-time favourite movies and one I highly recommend for your enjoyment.
If for no other reason, it’s a great flick. And an inspiration to all those independent filmmakers out there, who are dreaming of making an impacting and beautiful film.
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