Does independent film making still yield independent thought?

In the recent years or so more labs, workshops, seminars and masterclasses are being held especially in Southeast Asia and is that really crucial to the film-making in general? Is it instead reinforce a homogeneous mode of thinking rather than allowing people to discover their personal voice or drawing the parameters of what type of films are being celebrated?

I guess the question stems from a belief is that I am interested in seeing a certain point of view in a film, even when I disagree with it. But much like everyone else, an in depth study into the film festival scene (take your pick: European, American Indie, Asia) it is inevitable that to get an access to funding there is a certain type of film being reinforced as much as it attempts to be diverse annually.

Peter Weir’s advice to filmmakers is that he wishes them a “fantastic failure”. The killer is success for films as a filmmaker must take risks, but just enough success to keep you going.

It’s easy to have silos, separating mainstream thought from woke culture up to fear mongering in personal politics or religious belief. But what I personally believe is the first thing I was thought as a director navigating actors: Listen.

Listen even when you don’t want to.

Career film-making or film-making career?

I wanted to start off with something that has been always lingering on my mind which is the juxtaposition between the two terms “film-making career” or “career film-making”. I personally hold myself from calling film-making a “way of life” or “passion” because the former suggest that it’s a lifestyle choice and the latter has a very temporal quality to the term.

I mentioned this comparison between the two as it is always a constant conversation especially with friends who have left the industry, specifically the realm of the narrative film-making world. The delineation between these two terms is very crucial even though many would argue that to draw this distinction is futile as it frames the way you operate as someone going into this very costly occupation (both financially but also mentally).

I personally classify a film-making career in a more traditional (and naive in some ways) manner. That you do films on subject matter that you were personally passionate about and that grows and changes with each project. An example I would cite is Martin Scorsese his gangster films but also making a musical and stories that constantly reflect his struggle with spirituality, some good some bad but reflecting where he was at each phase of his life.

For “career film-making” I would classify that under a more strategic approach. Understanding the type of film-maker you are and the concern with your branding and image. No longer is it a time where a film-maker can direct both School of Rock and Boyhood or Ocean’s 11 and Unsane. You are boxed in either by yourself or others because of the expectations of the next project especially if you successful with your previous one.

I definitely speak from the point of view of nothing to lose but I guess the conversation here at its core is the relationship between the film-maker and the work. Does the creator inform the work or the work informing the maker?