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Ted Hope Has 15 Predictions for the Future of Indie Film Over the Next 18 Months

Thompson on Hollywood By Ted Hope | Thompson on Hollywood December 13, 2013 at 9:00AM

I have written about the good things in indie film. I have done it quite a bit. I have written about the bad things, and more than several times there too. I have written about the thinkers and doers who are shaping where we are (and will post that later this month). I have examined the cultural changes, the realities of our industry, and provided recommended best practices. I examined why it is sooo slow to change. I would like to help us find our path forward; what more can I do to help?
Bechdel Test

3. Customized Positive Ratings For Films. The fact is ratings don’t tell us very much. Violence, sex, drug use, sure. But what about human respect? Racial or gender bias? Certain religions want greater specificity. In the past ratings were always about the negative, the things you wanted to avoid. I anticipate a shift to the positive. I think we can expect Sweden’s embrace of the Bechdel test of gender bias to take off. Is it too much to ask that two female characters with names have something to talk about other than men? This will be a local phenomenon, and used as a marketing device.

4. A Reduction In Creative Compromise. We have been producing a culture of knockoffs. Our commercial industry is forced to play it safe and capital seems so scarce many compromise up the wazoo just to get it made. We have grown corrupt and fool ourselves into thinking that just getting it made is a worthy goal.  We will see this process begin to stop.  Artists -- the true among us -- will not have faith in a system of compromise and will refuse to participate. Once a funder backs that conviction and it succeeds in the marketplace, some others will recognize that is not a triumph of genius, but one of infrastructure and process (albeit one that allows the genius to develop). In some ways it is already happening -- Michel Gondry’s takeaway from his Chomsky doc was celebrating that he “does not compromise at all”.

5. Independent Exhibitors Will Get A Cut Of VOD & Other Ancillary Revenues. If you want to go Day and Date, it still is very hard to get theatrical bookings unless you are willing to four-wall. It makes sense too, since the exhibitors are doing the promotion for the VOD system. It would be hard to cut a deal to a large chain, although I must imagine someone is at work doing this now. I would imagine it would be far easier to start with a group of independents in some key markets and get their buy in first. Still though, this is a slippery slope. We know that movies are just an excuse.

Read the rest of Ted Hope's 15 predictions at his blog, Truly Free Film.

This article is related to: Features, Features, Distribution, DIY, Ted Hope

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.