Directing Movies in the 21st Century

[Filmmaker at Cannes Film Festival]
Inside the American Pavilion, CANNES

The terrorist attack on America on September 11, 2001, will have a profound impact on how movies will be made and marketed in the future. Even before this atrocity was committed, filmmakers across the nation understood the effect of violent movies on society, but most of them ignored the fact. At least nobody did anything about it -- except for talking. The more violent a film and the more sexually provocative, the more money it made. This trend virtually drove out the quality-oriented and the morally responsible filmmakers from show business. Of course, the studios made a token effort when there was an overwhelming support from a star for a quality project. Art Movies were released in a few cinemas but poorly marketed. Despite that art movies won many Oscars in the nineties. However, most art movie producers drifted toward the sexually explicit stories to insure box office revenues. Made for low budgets, these films don't do as well as the no-brainers that are popular with kids.

The reality is that unless heavily marketed, most films could not achieve box office success. Thus the major studios passed on many of the great screenplays that were submitted to them because they were not deemed to be commercial. So much so that very few classics of American literature, and even less of world literature, have ever been produced by Hollywood as filmed entertainment.

I think it's going to be much harder, after the September 11 attack on America, for the independents to make the kind of movies that will end up on the big screen. The film industry will not be willing to accept a project from an Indie producer or director unless the film represents an unusually brilliant attack on world terrorism or avoids the subject altogether with some new lifestyle trends. There's a small window of opportunity opening up for outsiders, but I think this is temporary. The studios will soon go back to their old merry ways.

[American Pavilion, CANNES]
The American Pavilion at the CANNES Film Festival 2000

I think independents should endeavor to make the kind of movies that fight all forms of terrorism. It would be great if investors would finance companies that produced such movies. As an independent filmmaker with a terrific slate of films, I'm open to the proposition. I'm seeking active financial partners. E-mail me for the prospectus (please provide contact information) .

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