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Too Many Indies? Actor and Director Kentucker Audley Urges ‘Mediocre’ Filmmakers to Stop Making Films

Too Many Indies? Actor and Director Kentucker Audley Urges 'Mediocre' Filmmakers to Stop Making Films

Filmmaker and actor Kentucker Audley, who is best known for his lead
performance in Amy Seimetz’s directorial debut “Sun Don’t Shine” and his supporting role in David Lowery’s “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” created a petition on urging fellow mediocre filmmakers to stop making films. The petition, a direct response to recent stories in The New York Times and Salon complaining about the glut of independent films, is clearly tongue in cheek.

Audley, who previously wrote and directed the features “Open Five” and “Open Five 2” said he counts himself among the “mediocre” filmmakers who should retire. He also tweeted his request.

He writes on the page:

Our goal is 5,000 signatures. We believe if we can convince enough
aspiring filmmakers to give up on their dreams, the industry will become
solvent again, returning to a thriving and viable state. Film critics
and film audiences will no longer be overwhelmed by the glut of mediocre
indie productions, while the truly inspired and talented filmmakers
will easily be discovered and embraced, able to receive the wide acclaim
& financial gain they deserve. Distributors, theater owners,
tastemakers, as well as audiences and critics, will delight in having
far fewer films to choose from.

Note: if you’re an indie
filmmaker with commercial promise, please continue making films. (Don’t
sign) This list is made for the mediocre filmmakers who would otherwise
be clogging up the indie arteries with undercooked, half-assed or
nobudge productions. This includes anything small scale, anything
personal, of course all mumblecore, and most other work with developing
visions. (In other words, if you don’t already have your artistry
perfected, please sign up.)

I, Kentucker Audley, will be the first to sign up & look forward to you joining me in this quest to find another passion.

We hit 5,000 signatures and the industry is saved!

Thank you former indie filmmakers!

Earlier this year, New York Times film critic Manohla Dargis wrote an impassioned essay urging distributors to stop buying so many movies. “There are, bluntly, too many lackluster, forgettable and just plain bad movies
pouring into theaters, distracting the entertainment media and, more
important, overwhelming the audience,” wrote Dargis. Just recently at Salon, Beanie Barnes address the perceived glut of indie movies saying that “the indie film industry is cannibalizing itself.”

Thanks to technological advances that have made filmmaking more accessible than ever before, there are more films being made. But does that mean we should stifle indie creativity and instruct filmmakers to stop making movies unless they’re worthy? Audley pokes fun at this notion by calling out filmmakers “who would otherwise be clogging up the indie arteries with undercooked, half-assed or nobudge productions.”

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michael c.

The author of the petition is talking about his projects. Christmas, Again = mediocre mumblecore.


As long as the indie film community spends billions of dollars, there will be plenty of people egging them on, no matter how Mumble-awful they are.

Trash Can Kubrick

Bullshit. The same complaint has come before. In the early 20th century there were too many painters filling up wall space. In the late 1970s it was too many movies of 'low caliber' crowding the theaters. Mid 2000s? Too many bands releasing music.
So, here we are again. And like times past those with stake in the game (imagined or otherwise) are the first to cry alarm. It's their right to I suppose, but its unprofessional as I see it.
Sounds more like the rants of college or high school sophomores than filmmaking pros.
If there is a problem with the abundance of works being produced, it is that much of it belongs on television rather than in a cinema, whether it's a multiplex or a personal screening room. Like most things in life you know CINEMA when you see it, so if you're wondering what the difference is between a Joe Swanberg 'film' and say Bela Tarr's work you'll just have to sit down and watch a sample of both.
I chose these two because they illustrate, at extremes, the difference between one who makes cinema (Tarr) and one who believes he's making films (Swanberg) when in fact he's making fluid, inane, but entertaining television theater.
As far as I'm concerned this wealth of filmmaking will in time yield some real masterpieces and some genuine masters to go with it. Just as the Arriflex C and the Bolex H16 revolutionized feature film making and gave us Godard among others the current practitioners of filmmaking are using the right tools at the right time and flooding the market in such a way that only those that really, really love it (and will continue to do it at their own expense) are bound to thrive in the new landscape of independent filmmaking.


I disagree what this guy is doing but see the point he's trying to get across. But with myself I don't see this is as a hobby & in Indy film buddy a true Indy filmmaker ca still make great films with out a budget. I made one with no budget at all and came in the top 4 out of 65 films at a film festival. I bust my Ass at it. It's hard work. But your calling out all Indy filmmakers. Have you seen the garbage the studios put out? Most Ive wanted my money back. I'm firmly behind the independent filmmaking scene and actually am seeing better Indy films then that of mainstream. But glad you signed this because ones that are ignoring it are actually out there making films and not caring what this guy thinks. And if in a magical world this succeeded watch this guy resurface & say it was his idea to try and get somewhere. I'm not ruining some bodies dream. And who cares what critics think? Your audience is the most important part to making your film a success.

Michael Vernon

Dear INDIEWIRE: Why are you so sensitive to my thoughts regarding "bad" (or whatever you want to call it) filmmaking circa 2014? Just so you know, I am a supporter of, and enthusiast for, independent cinema, and have been watching indie films for three decades. John Cassavetes, Jim Jarmusch, the Coen brothers, David Lynch, Richard Linklater, among others, are a few of the indie (and indie-spirited) filmmakers whose work I admire. I'm also a fan of Jean-Luc Godard, Fellini, Truffaut, the French New Wave, and Italian Neo-Realism, as far as against-the-grain, art filmmaking is concerned. All I'm saying is that there is a larger platform for, and easier access to, films and filmmaking today, than ever before, and I've seen a lot of work (especially on the web) that I feel sub-par. When a film is well-made, I would never call it a bad film, even if I am personally not crazy for it. In this context, good and bad are not subjective, but a way for a discriminating viewer to discern quality of execution for a given work. There has always been bad films, as well as good and great ones. There is just more on display across the board these days, and my thinking is essentially driven by that reality. Granted, as my fellow contributor below points out, no one has to watch these films. But the joy of discovering a truly great one keeps me coming back to the well. Au revoir!


Too many films? No one is forcing anyone to watch all these films. Be an educated film-goer! Isn't that why you're reading Indiewire? Because you want to find out about interesting films that aren't all made in Hollywood by corporations? Oh, wait, I see. If you watch a movie that you heard was good and you hated it, it's somehow the fault of too many bad filmmakers making too many bad films. Isn't it more likely you're not going to like every movie you see? Maybe the film you hate is a film that someone else finds to be entertaining, moving, a revelation, etc. Filmmakers who want to make films will make films. Period. Most of these films will never get distribution or an audience. And if they do, you don't have to watch them or like them. Get a life, folks…or better, go make a movie. PS I don't want to miss out on the next Ed Wood. His films are much more interesting and entertaining to me than, for example, Wes Anderson's films.


Just a heads up to everyone: The New York Times then Salon and then all of you (who continually pile up their ad revenue by feeding into their controversy) are discussing a problem that doesn't actually exist. It was invented by an idiot speculating on why they have to review so many movies for their job, especially films that are greatly out of touch with. This problem was not elaborated on by an economist or anyone with a the slightest idea on how the market works.

Again: this is not an actual problem – this is a controversial idea that only was published to make some change. <3

H.S. Bayer

This is a potentially very interesting thread and I'd like to see if it continues to develop considering INDIEWIRE's vast reach in the creative community. Audley's original statement, though tongue in cheek stylistically, confronts one of the core issues in Indie filmmaking today. Fundamentally the vast amount of ever increasing indie content is not a problem but it has become problematic for serious filmmakers' bottom lines as well as confusing the viewership. Most of the underlying causes are unpreventable but there ARE some solutions both to mitigate the worst aspects of the current state of affairs and possibly build upon this expanded community of players and viewers of content creation. I'd like to see if this thread develops to the next level and the posts advance serious dialogue and suggestions on the matter. INDIEWIRE's participation as interactive moderate is crucial for that to happen.

michael vernon

To INDIEWIRE, regarding your jab at my "American Idol" analogy for screening good and bad filmmakers: I never called "American Idol" good art, I don't even watch it. But there is good and bad on display on their platform. The most talented are recognized on the way to selecting a winner for a "talent contest." Those with no talent are shown the door.



Stephen Lourdes

Oh no! We might miss out on the next Ed Wood!

Punk Toad

The comparison should not be whether there are too many paintings or too many movies. The comparison should be whether there are too may painters, artists or movie makers. The economy does not decide whether someone is an artist or not. People are artists because they have to be. The fact that more artists can make movies today is a good thing, especially for them. And yes, audiences are smaller, but there are more audiences. That is why there are so many festivals and cloud sources.

Anyone who thinks the Waltmarization of indie anything is a good thing doesn't know indie. To appreciate indie movies one must appreciate movies one doesn't like, because there is an audience you don't belong to that does appreciate it. Hence the term independent. Independent from the tastes of others, independent from economics, independent from the current era, independent from the herd… Art may be influenced by the era it is created in, but great art must withstand the test of time. Movies most people don't watch today could be the great movies of tomorrow, and movies that most people watch today could be ignored in the future. Economists just don't know, only time will tell. So make your mark and see if it holds up. Either way you can enjoy making it, as opposed to enjoying not making it, or outsourcing it.


Thanks for leaving Kentucker Audley!


I like where this guys head is at ,i completely understand what he's getting at .There are only scarecly ever a hand full of indie films that are actually digestible.I'd say about 2% are actually good the other 98 % is crap.Pandora's box has been opened because of technology and media outlets like youtube .Anybody can become a film maker ,there is no mystery anyone to figure out about it .All the secrets are out no more anonymity i agree that they should start making it harder and harder for film makers to expose they're projects on a larger scale .
Raise the standard ,the same issue mainstream film markets are facing is that the audiences don't expect better .They except what is being shoveled into there faces the same with the indie market .All these crap mediocre films are liked by audiences ,there is no turning back now though .I think mediocre films will run there course and like all fads will fade away into obscurity .

Dave Barak

…and in a related story, Beanie Barnes' distant cousin, Yarmulke Hayloft, said today…

I lose all self control when I haven't had enough sleep. Well, almost all self control.

Dave Barak

I hope he's not serious, although that would leave me a little disappointed because I had some really funny put-downs I was going to post. Damn.

SF Bob

When you're "best known for" things I've never heard of…
And I typically go to the movies more than twice a week on top of watching a Netflix dvd nearly every day. Isn't the problem the distributors who buy the mediocre and pass it onto us?

Mikey Jayy

I realize that due to technology, the pool of films in the proverbial "haystack" is getting bigger and bigger every year, but to publicly call into action to ban "bad" filmmakers from expressing and producing their vision is a very arrogant and ignorant statement. You can't stop people from expressing art, bad or otherwise. They have the freedom to do what they want. There is no law that can stop them and their shouldn't be one. We already have too many ridiculous laws out there already. This is why there is such a thing as the "screening process". It's really up to those that accept film submissions to not allow "bad" or unprofessional films to get through to the public. As an executive producer of a music awards program, we allow anyone to submit and we allow fans to vote on who they like, but ultimately the artists that get through to the final round are decided by a panel of judges. This panel of judges are industry people are there to help weed out the "bad" art and advance the material that is worth recognizing. A petition to get "aspiring filmmakers to give up on their dreams" and stop the production of bad films is the stupidest idea I've ever heard. Thanks for the laugh!


Although I get what this guy's trying to say, this is the dumbest suggestion of 2014 so far. You have to start somewhere. Every form of artistry comes with a beginner level, middle (mediocrity) level, and if you stick with it and DO NOT GIVE UP, finally, an "expert, seasoned" level. That would be like asking all of the horrible aspiring musicians that crowd our bars and local radio stations to stop making music so other mediocre yet "professional and better" (ha!) music can be streamed through the air waves. Please don't listen to this guy and never give up on your dreams. If it's not meant for you, time will tell, audiences will avoid your work, people will stop giving you money.


I'll sign if Audley agrees to stop making films.

Michael Vernon

Reini, you're giving "directors" with no talent a pass, but telling "no talent writers" to go take a hike!? The problem is, and I'm not being "tongue-in-cheek," that there is too many films, good and bad, saturating the marketplace, web, et al these days. Countless 24/7 movie channels on T.V., film festivals ten ways to Sunday, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. !!! Movies aren't unique anymore. So there's definitely not room for mediocre work. But when technology allows anyone to pick up a camera and say "I'm a filmmaker," there's bound to be sub-par results. On "American Idol," if you can't sing, you're told "this is not for you" and sent on your way. In other words, best if you find another "dream." Too bad independent film doesn't have a screening process as simple and decisive as that to weed out the junk.

Indie Film Minute

OK, So it is tongue and cheek. I was ready to blast the concept! Independent film is the place for artists to test, build, play . . . and all of the other words that indicate doing other than the cookie cutter, tested, safe Hollywood fare.

This said, we have often thought of why more people who attest to loving movies but "don't go to the movies anymore because of the empty trash at the theatres" don't venture out to the indie theatres, rental, and on line services that have great independent fare. We suspect that we lose some potential passionate followers when they make a bad pick earlier on and decide that independent films are not for them. That is part of what lead us to The Indie Film Minute.

We use radio to highlight little known films and try to give enough information about them so that people can make informed decisions in advance – hopefully leading to a good experience, and another indie film disciple.

But my friends, we love and admire all filmmakers. Realize your vision!

Reini Urban

The problem is budget and distribution, not bad directors making bad films.

Bad directors should continue making bad films, but bad scripts should not get bid budgets, cutting off other budgets and should not be selected at film festivals (e.g. Swanberg in the Sundance main competition, NEXT is enough), and bad blockbusters should not be distributed.
But that should be left over to the market. Distributors learn fast, producers not so, and I doubt if festival programmers are objective.
And I have no problem at all with Swanberg making another 3 bad movies a year, because he doesn't take big budgets and doesn't block distribution slots.

Of the horrible sundance productions this year
* Young Ones
* White Bird in a Blizzard
* Ping Pong Summer
* I Origin
* Kumiko the Treasure Hunter
* War Story
* Jamie Marks Is Dead
* Happy Christmas

problematic is only "Young Ones", being big budget, horrible script and lots of stars and connections. Similar to "Sweetwater" last year.


this is an awesome petition. To Manohla Dargis and Salon – So to people should stop giving up on their dreams ? No way.

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