Thursday, February 12, 2015

Michael Myers, Independent Filmmaker

Remember that serial killer from the film franchise, “Halloween?”  Michael Myers, right. I bet you’ve never thought of this masked, madman as an independent filmmaker?  I just finished reading, “Shock Value” byJason Zinoman.  The book’s main premise is that as we moved out of the sixties, horror films started to look and scare different.  What happened was filmmakers like John Carpenter, who directed “Halloween,” George Romero and Wes Craven began to make a new type of horror film.  These filmmakers made films that did not have the gothic aesthetic of Frankenstein or the traditional scares of Hitchcock.  I’m talking about films like “Halloween,” “Night of the Living Dead,” and “Last House on the Left,” just to mention a few.  I’d like to mention that most of these horror filmmakers were working independently, outside the Hollywood system.  For example George Romero worked in his native Pittsburgh, Wes Craven in NYC and even Dario Argento in Italy.

Now this post is not about the minutia of why these films were so important in changing horror films, I’ll save that for October.  It is worth noting however, the kind of impact a handful of true independent films had on the Hollywood filmmaking industry as a whole- an impact we are still feeling today.  Just to go back to Mr. Zinoman’s book, I was struck by his observation that from the late sixties to the special effects revolution of the early eighties, these independent films fiercely broke new ground on all fronts – story, visuals, music, and casting!  This fertile time of genre filmmaking has yet to be repeated.

I think it might be lost, how many different film genres live under the banner of independent filmmaking.  Right now, TvFILM is in the middle of our latest Call for Entries (psss, there is still time to submit!) and just like the previous six seasons, we’re getting short films of all shapes and sizes.  One of my favorite things about this series is how local filmmakers defy convention creating any type of short film.  I can’t wait for this new season!   TvFILM proves that local, independent film is truly a Crayola 64 Crayon box!

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