Dieter Kosslick, head of the Berlin Film Festival, tells Screen Daily that despite all the complaining being done, he thinks things are fine in the independent film realm. Never better, in fact: it’s in “the best of health”:
In the past two or three years, there were films with big issues like globalisation or capitalist exploitation of the environment, but now we are going back to local subjects and what is happening on a more personal level. The filmmakers are more concerned with social changes in their immediate surroundings.
That’s a welcome relief if it spares us more of the likes of “Babel” and its ilk. It’s also intriguing on a film-locavore level.
Kosslick is speaking from the top of the ivory tower, film-festival-wise — things like distribution and financial viability aren’t his concerns. He’s just looking for the best mix of movies. As a couple of angry commenters at the bottom of the article note, he doesn’t address the question of how indie film can sustain itself financially. They point out that having a glut of festival films doesn’t translate the filmmakers getting paid enough to keep working, or to distribution, or to available screens for those movies.
Still, I like the idea of local filmmaking as a response to the indie film crisis — it’s reminds me, oddly enough, of what Michael Ruppert suggests in Chris Smith’s apocadoc “Collapse,” that the only sustainable way to live going forward into the future will be local sources of everything: food, solar power, etc.
I’ve long been frustrated by the lack of location-specific American movies, of, really, regional cinema, and what I think Kosslick’s inadvertently brought up is the idea that local filmmaking — to a very small extent — can work. Indie film cities can create screening venues and support networks for themselves as a way of providing a bedrock of support for emerging talent.
How to get from there into the larger world? No clue. But just as Ruppert’s wrong in predicting the world as we know it is coming to an end in the next 20 years, everyone prophesying the similar impending end of indie film is wrong as well. Kosslick’s not wrong — as with the solar panels, local filmmaking (thematically and practically) is where it’s at. And thank goodness.
[Photos: “Babel,” Paramount Vantage, 2006; “Collapse,” Vitagraph Fims, 2009]