First Post: Declaration of Principles

The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion. - Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Self Reliance"

The purpose of this weblog is to talk about and to encourage the practice of making high-quality films at a low-cost and/or with small-labor systems. A good term for this practice is "Self-Reliant Filmmaking."

Self-reliant filmmaking is interesting for at least two reasons:

Less interference, more production: Self-reliance can let filmmakers bypass in whole or in part the common gatekeepers of cinema production (i.e., studios, production companies, etc.) and exhibition (i.e., major distributors). Needless to say, not needing a corporation's permission to make a movie can free you to make more of them.

Handcrafting: We believe, quite simply, that the way something is made shapes the nature of the thing itself. Self-reliant films are by definition handcrafted, and this is a good thing for today's cinema, which needs as many human, soulful works as it can get.

While some might consider this naive, we see examples of self-reliant filmmaking throughout the history of cinema -- from the Lumiere Brothers' first films up to works by some of today's leading filmmakers, like Abbas Kiarostami and Lars Von Trier.

This weblog will discuss:

- Current and past motion pictures and/or filmmakers that are part of the self-reliant tradition

- Strategies and models for sustaining non-corporate, especially regional, filmmaking

- The distribution of this work, including the opportunities afforded by new technologies

- Tools of the self-reliant filmmaker, including the making, modifying, and/or hacking of equipment

In addition to the above, the weblog will serve as a forum for makers and critics to reflect on the philosophy, theory, ethics, and praxis of self-reliant filmmaking because, in all of its different embodiments, self-reliant filmmaking is both a practice and a principle.

Put another way, self-reliant filmmaking does not help the so-called "independent filmmaker," it is what makes a filmmaker independent.