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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Indie Films: Saying Nothing at All

I am honestly not that excited about most films this country releases. I rarely go to the theaters anymore. I speak not only for the tent pole huge budget films, but also for most "indie" fare too. I just find the majority of North American indie directors to be infatuated with their own "Geek Culture," creating films about disenchanted 20-30 something Caucasians who might seem kinda hip in some aspects of their lives, but are otherwise not much more concerned about the opposite sex and their friends. There is something horribly high school about the majority of North American indie films that says a lot about what kind of life young Americans are experiencing.

Now, this isn't every filmmaker out there. There are always numerous exceptions. And I only really speak about narrative films, not documentaries.  But I find such a lack of perspective on the world, especially this country, on what is going on beneath the shiny surface of things.

I honestly think they are not to blame...well, not entirely. We shield so much from young people in this culture: death, war, corporate greed. I remember when there would be televised memorials for dead soldiers returning home from wars. No longer. News never show photos of the attrocity of war. The "collateral damage." Everything is rather clean and selective when it comes to war. Do we see the faces of those who have died, on all sides? Or do we only hear lives summed up in numbers?

Corporations hide their true psychopathic business practices by making their employees believe they are hip and cool by holding "Casual Fridays," "Weird Wednesdays"; or making rallies where the corporation has hired out some entertainment group to make a show telling everyone what a good job they are doing while handing out a few 75 dollar checks. This never changes the fact that to a corporation, the dollar is more important than a human life, and all of those people cheering at this "employee pep rally" could be without a job tomorrow.

The result: young people with no real sense of the rest of the world, and while they might have a slight sense of disenchantment, it's only a buzz, and easily forgettable with our various social media distractions.  I would love to see indie filmmakers start digging beneath the surface of things, stepping outside of their familiar comfort zones, because there is so much we can talk about in our narrative films. A film can be both entertaining and have some sort of perspective on society.

Please. Lets slow down the amount of shallow comedies about geeks. Push it a bit. What lies beneath and beyond? Can our "minority" cultures pick up a camera and make a film? What about our immigrant populations? How many rich stories can they contribute to the "indie" scene? Feminism is dead in the US, but women are still paid less, and still bombarded with the same bullshit beauty myth message daily.

For a culture so fascinated with youth, we don't have much to say in the films we create.

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