You Can Make a Movie Now, But Some People Will Never be the Next Cate Blanchett: Continued Filmmaking Inequalities in a quote unquote Post-Colonial, Post-Gender Society.

Curator's Note

Cinema was at first a scientific invention. Then, an elite, and monopolized device. As time continued, the future posed a different possibility; that everyone would be able to buy a cheap, and good quality, camera. That the moving image, able to write “history in lightning,” would become democratized. And now, for the most part, it is. With a small amount of money one can now get a camera that shoots, although not perfect, decent quality video. The success of the Mumblecore movement is a testament to this; and although the movement encompasses some terrific qualities of collaboration, and goodwill, there is a white privilege that is hard to transcend. But, where does this leave the micro-budget director in terms of production and distribution? Actually making a good movie, getting it seen, finding some sort of democratized success? Sundance has been corporatized, Indiewood institutionalized. Online outlets such as Vimeo, NoBudge, and Fandor are here, but actual room for monetization, for this to move beyond a hobby, is futile. With large CGI tent-pole Blockbuster films bring in waves of fans, are they too indoctrinated to watching this type of cinema that they cannot enjoy a slow paced film micro-budget film? With recent legislation towards marriage equality, will people actually take time out of their day to watch the film of a queer artist who needs support, when Netflix has recently acquired countless more films? This moderated discussion focuses on the trailer of Eduardo Velazquez’s 2015 independent film Gauo, a film that centers on the choice for a man to “become” his favorite and ideal actress Catherine Deneuve, and how this transformation forces those around him to understand their own schizophrenic personalities chasing an object petit a constructed through media forms. Born in 1986, and raised in the Dominican Republic, Eduardo went to the Altos de Chavón School of Design in La Romana DR. Moving to the United States he attended the Kansas City Art Institute from 2006-2009. From there Eduardo arrived at Buffalo in 2010 to start his MFA; it is here that I had the chance of meeting him. After finishing his MFA, Eduardo moved to the city. He worked as a Museum Educator, Facilitator with the Arts and Democracy Project, Program Coordinator for Common Ground Community. There is not much room to actually survive as an artist. Eduardo always wanted to make a film. The knowledge that we can, seems to cause more pain than good. Solanas and Getino’s manifesto is now forty years past. Eduardo found the process daunting. A friend who flaked out. Rushing to finish work at his day job so that he could edit in his office. Causing and evoking real emotional pain in trying to act a particular scene. Now working through the costly admission process of festivals and searching through online distribution panels, questions of inequality, disparity, and disadvantage arise.

Comments

Remy Yi Siang Low's picture

The double bind of access

Thanks for this thoughtful post, Brandon. I like the way you tease out how the apparent “democratisation” of film making actually belies the structural inequalities built into the industry. It seems like the celebration of access to film making technologies reinforces the myth that those films that “make it” do so on the basis of merit alone, and those that don’t fail because of something intrinsic in the work itself.

This is a really interesting

This is a really interesting film, Brandon! And the issues you and Remy raise around access and advantage are more important than ever. It seems a new democratized media needs new attitudes towards reception in addition to creation. Perhaps an ideal solution would turn film-watchers into micro-curators, but I guess the trajectory of film history you describe will play itself out.

Jonathan Hielkema's picture

Thanks for sharing the

Thanks for sharing the trailer and your words.

Ironically, the proliferation of content being made by amateurs and semi-professionals struggling to find an audience has just meant more fodder for increasingly centralized monopolies to push out. Anyone can afford the equipment, but the audiences are bought and paid for, and much more expensive to gain access to.

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