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Self financed $700k sci-fi movie


Anaconda_
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I recently watched this film, and thought it was fantastic. Story really is everything.

It's the writer/director's debut, he saved up $700k from doing commercial work to self-fund it. Filmed in just 4 weeks with only 5 characters. The cinematography is excellent and I've never seen some of the techniques before. I'm usually a 'show don't tell' kind of guy, but with this, I was so happy it's more like a story in realtime. The characters are interesting and engaging and it takes you far beyond the 1950s small town backdrop. 

Interview with DOP:

https://variety.com/2020/artisans/news/vast-of-night-amazon-prime-tracking-shot-1234620232/

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It's of course a lot of money, but barely the catering budget of the summer blockbusters we see all too often. And self funded. Whether he's a hedgefund kid or worked really hard and ate nothing but restaurant leftovers for 10 years, I think it's admirable that the guy put his own money into his idea. He had a story that he had to tell, did it on a shoestring budget and pulled it off. Easily one of my favourite films of the year so far.

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1 hour ago, heart0less said:

Considering our (polish) median income it'd take me over 60 years to EARN 700K, let alone save that amount of cash.

 

Thanks for sharing, @Anaconda_.
This looks really good, actually!

Yeah prolly me too + need to sell my house, was just placing a number on there. But I am def doing something wrong if this guy can earn 700k doing commercials at age 38.

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1 hour ago, Anaconda_ said:

It's of course a lot of money, but barely the catering budget of the summer blockbusters we see all too often. And self funded. Whether he's a hedgefund kid or worked really hard and ate nothing but restaurant leftovers for 10 years, I think it's admirable that the guy put his own money into his idea. He had a story that he had to tell, did it on a shoestring budget and pulled it off. Easily one of my favourite films of the year so far.

Yeah gonna watch it, I saw the trailer some time ago but it def had this indie low budget vibe going on which put me off, but if you think its good it might be worth checking it out. 

 

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I really liked this movie. It had an amazing creepy, 1950s paranoia vibe. That being said, the cinematography and editing choices were definitely "avant garde" (to put it politely). The grade was murky and brown and generally too dark, and I didn't think the framing device with the old tv and twilight zone-esque show worked very well. 

They definitely used very long takes vs. more coverage, easier and cheaper that way. But all that being said, while clearly being a low-budget film with pretty amateur-looking cinematography, the story more than made up for it in spades, which is more than I can say about a lot of big-budget features. 

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Probably not, but $700k is impossible to vanish in the air. So, this will invariably add an extra production value when we believe in the skills of the people involved. It is still a risk but who is able to save that, it will likely be able to bet on their own.

Not different to invest in any other business from a business plan. Well, I hope they really had it... : -D

- E .

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5 hours ago, Andrew Reid said:

I'm going to watch it tonight.

I've heard this movie mentioned elsewhere too.  I suspect the 700K is for base field production and loads of other cash are being spent in the numerous other areas of the production/distribution process.

The other indy film story of the pandemic months is the nifty little horror film that was actually rated #1 at the box office 'kuz it was pretty much the only film in distribution to drive-in movie theaters.

7 hours ago, Elagabalus said:

The film was rejected by almost 20 film festivals

If a film is truly independent, this is very much par for the course.

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47 minutes ago, fuzzynormal said:

If a film is truly independent, this is very much par for the course.

The writer/director also created the production company behind the film. Doesn’t get more Indy really. 
 

when it did hit festivals, it won awards at them including a trophy at TIFF - arguably the most important festival in recent years (certainly top 5)

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I haven't checked the movie so I won't comment on that. 

I say kudos to that man. Investing 700k in his own project is huge. I would argue that investing 10k or 700k on him is the same but it's not. The principle is the same tough. Believing in yourself and finding ways to do your own thing in, with your own small fortune, is not easy. Even if I dislike the movie, that man has my respect. Because we all know that most of that budget is spent on crew, actors, food, expenses, renting and other needs. Thats not "glamorous". It's passion.

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I've got $25k into my own finance structure... but 700k is quite a feat. Great that paid off. Seems like a reasonable amount to wager for a shot at the big time.

The trick - as we know - will be to pull this off again... with someone else's money. Good problems to have.

Fool me once... shame on...?

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7 hours ago, Anaconda_ said:

when it did hit festivals, it won awards at them including a trophy at TIFF - arguably the most important festival in recent years (certainly top 5)

As a doc filmmaker, I've sunk $30k into a financially failure of a film.  Had a decent festival run and won at a majority of the fests it was accepted into. Will probably never make money from it.  So there ya go.

I can also attest from personal experience with the festival I'm working with, really interesting films tend to challenge regular-folk-viewers, and many times regular-folk-viewers make up selection committees.  This is for better or worse.  A well crafted, complicated, and nuanced film will often get past over at mid-tier fests.  If it's not a coy, sentimental, obvious, and schmaltzy feel good piece of work it's an uphill battle.

That sounds harsh, but consider what wins Best Picture at the Oscars.

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48 minutes ago, fuzzynormal said:

I can also attest from personal experience with the festival I'm working with, really interesting films tend to challenge regular-folk-viewers, and many times regular-folk-viewers make up selection committees.  This is for better or worse.  A well crafted, complicated, and nuanced film will often get past over at mid-tier fests.  If it's not a coy, sentimental, obvious, and schmaltzy feel good piece of work it's an uphill battle.

That sounds harsh, but consider what wins Best Picture at the Oscars.

That was my experience of the local festival circuit that I saw.  One doc I saw was very entertaining and I don't begrudge it winning a few awards, but when it won Best Cinematography is was beyond surprising as not only was it badly shot and lit, there was even a moment when someone bumped the camera and you could clearly hear them say "oh sh*t".

The panel was a bunch of industry people and successful indy film makers.

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7 hours ago, fuzzynormal said:

As a doc filmmaker, I've sunk $30k into a financially failure of a film.  Had a decent festival run and won at a majority of the fests it was accepted into. Will probably never make money from it.  So there ya go.

Do you think however the feature doc helped your professional career though? In terms of bolstering up your CV, or the connections you made, and perhaps via that way it "kinda half paid itself off" with improved career lifetime earnings???

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5 hours ago, IronFilm said:

Do you think however the feature doc helped your professional career though? In terms of bolstering up your CV, or the connections you made, and perhaps via that way it "kinda half paid itself off" with improved career lifetime earnings???

Sure. It’s all part of the whole career process.

Still, would rather my work be able to pay bills instead of generating more of them. 

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