Indie network provides support for local filmmakers
By James Smith
Sure, Kentucky has had a few movies made here from big budget companies like Sony and Paramount (Seabiscuit, Dreamer, Elizabethtown and Secretariat to name a few) but there is actually a whole other world that exists beyond that. That world is the independent film circuit.
Many independent feature films are being made right here at home. Some films are self-distributed and can be viewed via the web or by ordering from the filmmaker’s website. Others get distribution deals and can be rented at Movie Gallery and Blockbuster. You can search Netflix, for example, and find independent films such as George Bonilla’s The Edison Death Machine as well as other titles from Kentucky’s ZP International and Cineline Productions.
Hollywood, in recent years, has failed on so many levels at providing movies that are decent and worth watching. Most companies have resorted to remaking classic movies because the idea pool has become shallow. On the other hand, independent filmmakers here in the Bluegrass are pumping out movies with meaning–films with feeling–and Hollywood is starting to notice. Recently, an independent company, Tuckywood Productions, released a film that was picked up for distribution. Their film Stash is already available for rental, and their next film, Red River, is set for release on February 1, 2011.
Most of these independent films are premiered at the historic Kentucky Theatre in Lexington with surprising turnouts. My company, DBC Entertainment, recently premiered our 3rd full-length feature, Point Pleasant, at the Kentucky to a crowd of more than 60 people. Point Pleasant is a horror/thriller shot in first-person, following in the steps of films such as The Blair Witch Project, Cloverfield, and the Paranormal Activity franchise.
“The more people that know we are actually making professional feature films in Kentucky, the more pull we will have in the industry.” Says Stacey Gillespie, owner of Eclipse Entertainment. “Kentucky people really seem to stand behind and support things that are state related.” Mr. Gillespie is currently in production on his medieval fantasy film titled In the Eyes of Darkness.
A lot of the better known independent companies join together to help one another produce each other’s films. “It’s very difficult to make a movie,” says Gregory W. Brock of Silver Chain Films. “Nobody really understands the difficulty of it until they try it for themselves. Having these different companies band together is a wonderful thing.”
Just recently, two mobster films have emerged from the indie community. Mountain Mafia, by JustUs League Films, was premiered in Lebanon on October 1 during the Darkwoods Convention. Shoot the Moon debuted back in June 2008.
When I came into the independent scene back in late 2007, all I had was the script for Shoot the Moon and nothing more. I didn’t know anyone, nobody knew me. But they all gave me a chance and, soon after the original casting call at the Cantuckee Diner in Winchester, we began rolling film.
The local actors and actresses are wonderful. Very talented, very dedicated. The best part of indie filmmaking is that it allows anyone with the dream to have the opportunity to experience it.
For someone wanting to become a filmmaker, there are a few things you need to know. First of all, keep in mind that independent means “low budget.” You do not have to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to make an indie film, although a fixed budget is a wonderful thing to have. Always ask permission before filming anywhere, and be sure to print off waivers and agreements to be signed by the talent as well as location permission. This will help in the future just in case someone tries to back out down the line.
For any help you may need, the Kentucky Film Office in Frankfort is a great tool to use. They can help secure locations that can be very hard to come by.
We here at DBC Incorporated (DBC Entertainment, DBC Music, DBC Family) have had the privilege of working alongside many other companies. More importantly, we have all established a certain bond. It’s not only professional, it’s personal as well. That’s where the DBC Family comes in. Being able to establish such a friend/family type of atmosphere has enabled all of us to go at the entertainment industry in a whole new way. Doing anything alone is a lot harder then it is having millions of hands there to catch you if you happen to fall.
James Smith is the director of Point Pleasant and the founder of DBC Entertainment. Other DBC films include Shoot the Moon, Room 110, The Runaway, and Hate the Living…Love the Dead. Future projects either in current production or pre-production include Perfect Skin and the television series Insecurity. You can learn more about DBC Entertainment by visiting: http://www.wix.com/j_mackey/dbcfilms.