My Introduction to the Indie Film World

-By Derek Brown-

“It was all covered,” her voice rang with astonishment, “but it wasn’t snow, it was all covered in frost. Just beautiful.” she paused, pondering how to continue. “It reminded of that scene from that Cormac McCarthy movie, The Road.” Another pause, but after 21 years of experience conversing with her, I knew a moment of self reflection was on its way.  “I always think through movies like that.”

Me too, mom.

As we continued our conversation, I realized that what she just muttered held quite a bit of merit in my life. Not only do I think through film, I want to express myself through film. My first step had to be a complete immersion into the most accessible level of filmmaking, independent film. Before last Thursday, I didn’t know where to start. After an hour lecture on the functionality of Twitter, that changed.

I began following independent film blogs and organization websites like Tribeca I also followed highly influential independent filmmakers like Byron Hurt, Ted Hope, Ava DuVerny, and Nino Leitner.

Their productivity astounded me.

Courtesy of Twitter

Last night, Byron Hurt (above), a documentarian that focuses on issues in the African-American community, debuted his film, Soul Food Junkies, on PBS’ Independent Lens.  His documentary, as Hurt explained, compares and contrasts soul foods cultural value, historical significance, and how it affects the health of African-Americans.

Hurt wasn’t the only dominating presence on my Twitter feed. Earlier that day Ava DuVerny, founder of the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement (AFFRM), announced the launch of  a new label, ARRAY.  This label will focus upon the distribution of black independent film.

Its first acquisition, the award-winning Better Mus’ Come (above), has been heralded as “a landmark in Caribbean filmmaking.”

Ted Hope (below), one of the pioneers of the 1990s American independent film explosion, consistently links educational articles from his blog useful for any aspiring filmmaker. These articles cover everything from etiquette at film festivals to the future of digital video on the internet.

The blog has been the most helpful tool that I have found on Twitter to date.  Its content covers a wide-variety of topics, including advancements in camera technology, lectures by acclaimed documentarians, and trailers of upcoming films.

In terms of journalist resources I follow on Twitter, Indiewire writers have proved to be my most reputable sources. The site’s Co-Founder, Eugene Hernandez, and its most prolific independent film critic, Alison Willmore, constantly provide information about upcoming independent film events. Willmore’s work also focuses on critiquing new films, which can always be beneficial for amateur filmmakers.

I could go on but I feel my point is clear: Twitter is a invaluable tool for aspiring filmmakers and movie enthusiasts to enhance their knowledge and expand their creativity.

In the past two days I have encountered more information about independent film than I ever knew before. But I’m just getting my feet wet. In a couple weeks we’ll see just how deep I am.

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