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The “Stop Making Indie Films!” Petition Needs Your Help — to Fail

The "Stop Making Indie Films!" Petition Needs Your Help -- to Fail

On February 24, independent filmmaker and actor Kentucker Audley bowed to pressure from the New York Times and other media outlets and vowed to stop making movies. He encouraged others to join him in his vow of cinematic chastity, and set up an online petition to turn his decision into a movement.

Now, Audley needs our help again, to help that petition fail.

In a post that should have been but apparently wasn’t unnecessary, Audley revealed that the petition was a joke — a gag, if you will, or a flight of fancy — and he didn’t really mean for filmmakers to stop making films. (Whew!) The intent was to satirize the calls by Times critic Manohla Dargis and others who followed in her wake for the independent film industry to stop flooding festivals and theaters with so many films.

I created the petition as a response to two recent articles: one from Manohla Dargis in the New York Times calling for distributors to buy less films at Sundance ’14 in order to prevent critics and audiences from being overwhelmed by mediocre movies. And second: one from Beanie Barnes at Salon classifying the indie film industry as the new Walmart, wherein an overabundance of cheap films have created an oversupply and devalued the product. They endorse radical proposals: make less films, distribute less films.

At least a few filmmakers got the joke. “The Comedy’s” Rick Alverson signed the petition with the message, “I haven’t made a film in 2 years. During that time ‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation’ & ;The Last Exorcism Part II’ were released. I’d like to think that I was some small part of that,” and director and actor Onur Tukel argued, “We need less restaurants, paintings, books, magazine articles and absolutely 100% less independent films (narrative and documentary)! Less point-of-views! Less challenges to the status quo! Less questioning of the power structure! More $200 superhero movies!”

But, predictable, a few people thought Audley was serious, and many more either didn’t visit the petition or declined to sign it. So now he’s changing tacks. Go ahead and sign, but don’t worry about them getting the requisite 5,000 signatures. It’s never gonna happen, and that’s the point. “The campaign will end in failure at the end of March,” he writes. “We encourage everyone who has signed the petition to publicize our failure on March 31st, to spread the bad news that we’re back in the game.”
So go ahead and sign. Or don’t. It doesn’t matter. Maybe just forget the whole thing. Whatever.

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