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Monday, March 20, 2006

A response to Zahedi's "DIY is a myth" post

In this post, Caveh Zahedi, director of the upcoming IFC Films distributed indie film "I Am A Sex Addict", said the following:

"the do-it-yourself ethos is ultimately a myth. No one makes a film alone, and no one distributes a film alone."

Here is my response to it (I left this as a comment to the post mentioned above):

I do not think the DIY ethos is interpreted by any sane person as: a whole film made & distributed entirely by one person. However, in light of the following production & distribution structures: Hollywood & Indiewood, DIY filmmaking & distribution is a real thing. I know because I am doing it right now with "Date Number One" and I've seen Jon Moritsugu, Todd Verow do it w/ many of their movies. DIY filmmaking & distro is: low budget film production & distribution where the filmmaker or a collection of filmmakers have the final say in all significant creative & business decisions regarding a project, and where the filmmaker(s) also physically do most or all of the production & distribution work. "Sex Addict" at this point is not DIY distribution according to that definition since IFC Films is a relatively wealthy (compared to most indie/DIY filmmakers) entity & one of the dominant companies in the US independent film industry. All that, not being DIY, does not however affect the quality of "Sex Addict"'s achievements. It is an excellent film & I look forward to seeing it again. DIY is a process, and it is a valuable & useful process for many artists, and in America it has evolved, most recently, in the media making arenas, from ideas popularized by 80's Hard Core punk bands (see the new doc "American Hardcore" for more on this). Bottom line, DIY is not a myth. See some proof here: http://www.wilddiner.com/. And here (look through for links, entries on Sarah Jacobson, Todd Verow, Jon Moritsugu & other DIY artists & organizations): http://www.filmmakingforthepoor.blogspot.com/.

In the music arena check out Dischord Records, K Records, Kill Rock Stars, Asian Man Records for proof of the existence of DIY production & distribution.

Just because you are very aware of the existence of indiewood, that does not mean DIY does not exist.

Thanks.

Sujewa
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7 comments:

The Sujewa said...

Just saw that Caveh responded to my response, & then I responded to that :), all at Caveh's blog(link at top of post). Enjoy all the action indie film fans. Oh, DIY/indie filmmaker Amir Motlagh contributes his views to the conversation too. Regardless on differing opinions, nice to have people seriously thinking about DIY filmmaking & distro.

Sujewa
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The Sujewa said...

of course "Regardless on differing opinions" should read "Regardless OF differing opinions"

amir motlagh the humanzee said...

this might very well be a discussion on symantics. however, if we assume that D.I.Y represents a different model of film production before and after the fact, whereas the artist or group of artist take on a film project from financing to distribution without an intermediate company, then by all means this is not a myth. It can't, there are two many examples, too much blood to dismiss. I personaly do not believe that this is what Caveh is talking about. now if the discussion is about the validity of DIY as a model to make and show film, it certainly has both merit and fault. i find it a problematic undertaking an many levels. however, being an idealist, i think that it will work for some like it has for other arts, like music. if you truly have a will, why not. is this for me, well i think that is too simple a judgement. i will always do work for the sake of art, and that will be DIY. I will also do the opposite, meaning work on bigger scales that demand a search for distribution, both of which i have done on a small scale. Now, if, like me new film "whale" happens to find distribution, which i will seek out first, then i will deal with that. now if it doesn't, by all means i will distribute the fucker till my will and sanity are pushed to the limits. Will you get in my way, try it and we shall see. These are the lessons i learned from the hard working men of punk rock, indie rock, and my favorite fine artists who promote with reckless abandon. it comes to ideals, realities, our personal life, demons, morals, heaven, hell, family, and the urge to do above all else, something that needs to be done in face of adversity. I know all you filmmakers on the low/no budget level, whether young or old, have that desire to create, to show your clay mold, to think it looks like a the prettiest little thing in the world, whether its filth or not, and who the fuck is going to stop you. Certainly, with the decreasing cost of production, do it. Distribution is after the fact for most, so do it, flood the world, flood the markets, flood those fuckin festivals, let the establishments complain about the lack of quality, the aloof ofthanded styles, ugly DV, and all the rest, cuz there just jealous that they can never be as reckless and satisfied at doing something they only wish to do.

Josh Boelter said...

I’m curious, Sujewa, if you always planned to self-distribute in order to maintain complete control. Personally, I would prefer to have a company with IFC and their resources take over distribution when I finish my project. I’ll self-distribute if I have to, but honestly I’d prefer to leave a lot of that work to others and get on with writing my next project. Certainly, I’d want to be involved with the distributors and would hope to find people I trust to work with, but I would still prefer to have an outside distributor pick up my project. I admire all the work you’re doing to get “Date Number One” out there. Anyway, great discussion.

The Sujewa said...

Hey Josh,

"Complete control" is probably an illusory thing, since so many outside factors beyond my control affect production & distribution decisions.
No, the primary motivation for embracing DIY is to have a guaranteed distribution option. Plus, I dig the whole DIY lifestyle, as practiced by some of my favorite indie/punk rockers & other musicians. At some point I would be open for COLLABORATIONS (not signing my film over to another company) w/other distro companies on certain limited distribution projects. But generally I am going to be DIY when it comes to production & distro. That is the plan, we'll see how it goes. "A DIY ninja must keep his options flexible" - ancient sri lankan-japanes-dutch proverb.

Sujewa
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Blake Calhoun said...

I assume you saw over at the Filmmaker Magazine blog they mentioned you're retort?

http://www.filmmakermagazine.com/blog/#114290218757492744

-Blake

The Sujewa said...

Hey Blake,

Yeah, I saw the filmmaker blog entry. Thanks for posting the URL here.

Sujewa
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