November 19, 2009

Oh the villainies of Facebook! It seems that when word gets out that you write for a blog as prestigious as Cultural Capitol you start getting invited to all kinds of parties. And so it was I was invited to the NCYFF film industry mixer at GStaad last night.

I don’t want to mislead you — this was not a red carpet, invite only affair. For that matter it was a cash bar, the happy hour ended at 7, and I had to pay the $7 registration fee. None of that is very reassuring as the unemployment rate keeps growing and my personal purchasing power keeps shrinking, but I went anyway in hopes that you, dear reader, will know what it’s like out there on the streets for an independent film maker.

It isn’t good. The mixer was packed. People trying to get from one end of the bar to the other looked like a lava flow in black synthetic fabrics. But the mood was also black. I talked to four “writers,” two “writer / producers,” one “actor” and a woman who didn’t have on a name tag, but who had more successful experience in media (cable TV, documentaries, and indie movies) than the rest of the crowd put together. The common lament was, “there isn’t any money.” (Uh, yeah.) Variations on the theme were “you have to have a rich uncle to make a movie,” “if you’re doing this because you want to be rich, you need to do something else,” and “I’m happy I lost my day job. It gives me more time to focus on making movies.”

Here’s the upside: there are a lot of people in New York who are passionate about making art, and where there is a will, well, you know the way. The event was cosponsored by SCENEPR and NYCFF. NYCFF is defined as “a member community of individuals in both the film and finance industries interested in working together to produce independent & feature films for theatrical distribution,” and its organizer Daron Jenkins is providing a valuable opportunity for anyone who wants to mingle and take a shot at getting funds for their film. I saw a couple of guys in gray suits sporting power ties and portfolios being mobbed by obvious artist types. I assume they are the ones with the money. The fact that a couple of them showed up at all is promising. Who knows? If you go to the next NYCFF meet up, you too might find the cash to back your flick.