Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Is this the future of film?

I was checking the NYTimes homepage this morning when I saw this:
It’s a Healthy Marriage of Faith and Filmmaking
under the Movies section.

Although, Shut the hell up! is not the best response to this--I've been around nothing but potty mouths for the past couple of months--I was quite flabbergasted to see a headline in the Times that didn't indict faith as a source of criminal activity or moral hypocrisy. Could a new day be dawning? Perhaps, but I think the numbers are why anybody's bothered to take notice. A $5k film making 6.5 mil on opening weekend is certainly newsworthy.

Basically, middle America wants to see itself on film. Hollywood only knows L.A. and mostly the part that starts north of Santa Monica. New York does New York like nobody else can...and then there's the rest of the freaking country! We. Do. Exist.

That's the mystery of Tyler Perry and these Sherwood Baptist folks. That's also the mystery of the Napoleon Dynamite film.

Nothing Tyler's done is particularly fabulous. The stories have Christianish themes. The production values are low. None of his stuff is high concept and yet he makes bank every time. His little studio hasn't (yet) been in the red.

Then there's the Sherwood guys--a Baptist church rolling out a production every other year with volunteer actors and crew at more than a 1000% profitable return.

And the producer/directors of Napoleon Dynamite were a couple of Mormons--literally husband and wife--who wanted to make something everybody could watch. And they did. And everyone watched. And they made a lot of money.

It seems like a film's either got to be so big it's got a franchise attached or so small there's no way to lose money these days. After reading about Spielberg and Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings) getting turned down by Universal, it looks like the industry's turned a corner. I'm glad to see there's room for--and more specifically--avenues for films that look and sound like life outside the major metros.


SolShine7 said...

I didn't see Fireproof but I'm glad it's doing well. I hope more indie Christian films get produced and create their own marketing and distribution models.

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