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Just in for Sundance: Is No-Budget Filmmaking Dead?

Just in for Sundance: Is No-Budget Filmmaking Dead?

Sure, anyone can make a movie for a few hundred dollars. But few people can make a living at it. Just in time for Sundance, with its raft of no-budget films about to hit the marketplace, here is the reality check — my latest Industry Beat column in Filmmaker Magazine examines the fate of no-budget movies:

This month, for example, InDigEnt, the eight-year-old low-budget production arm famous for its digital output and profit-sharing model, officially closed shop. While the company brings its final production, Andrew Wagner’s Starting Out in the Evening, to Sundance’s 2007 competition and had a good run with digital-video pictures such as Tadpole, Pieces of April and Personal Velocity, InDigEnt partner and producer Jake Abraham says the changing marketplace has made the endeavor obsolete.

“Whether it’s due to competition or saturation or whatever, those films are not selling like they used to,” he says, citing recent InDigEnt movies such as Wim Wenders’ Land of Plenty and Jeff Stanzler’s Sorry, Haters. “They never got the distribution that was required, so the economics don’t continue to work: In order for the crew to get paid, there has to be money coming in.”

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