In its second round of free marketing and editorial coverage for “independent films,” Samsung’s BlueSeat.com (of which I am personally involved) launched today with its promotion of Joe Wright’s “Atonement.” Okay, I know what your first thought is again: How independent is “Atonement”? Financed and distributed by Universal’s Focus Features, with a budget probably around $30 million and starring bonafide “Pirates” starlet Keira Knightley and up-and-comer James McAvoy, “Atonement” is not exactly indie — but in its unique structure, scrappy production solutions, and astute translation of Ian McEwan’s brilliant literary conceit, it is definitely not Hollywood. It also happens to include one of the most tremendous continuous tracking shots of the year (perhaps, as devastating a marvel as seen in last year’s “Children of Men.”) Here’s a link to my article on director Joe Wright and how he set out to make the film. But I digress.
Like “Into the Wild,” BlueSeat’s last partnership, “Atonement” embodies that mid-strata realm of specialized film that’s too small for Hollywood and too big for indie that we call Indiewood. I don’t have a problem that Samsung is pouring its money into supporting these films, especially since they’re good. And if you look at the website, they’re also planning to keep their promise of supporting the truly indie film, as well, with a program tailored specifically to help fund the release of a smaller film. It may not be where the big money is going, but for a no-budget film without distribution, it could make all the difference.