Getting involved in the community is something we stress to all our clients. Right now, part of our own community is struggling to compete in a market where franchises are taking over. No, I’m not talking about real estate. I’m talking about the film industry. 

Today the biggest money-making movies come from the major studios. These movies are huge eye-catching spectacles, with huge budgets, but they are mostly re-makes, re-boots, prequels or sequels – and they all stem from franchised characters and worlds. Think about the biggest movies of the last two years. How many of them are based on superheros? How many take place within franchised fictional universes? With the exception of Titanic and Avatar (which will soon be a trilogy), every single movie on the Top 10 All Time Box Office List is part of a series of movies, or intellectual property that existed in a different medium. The Avengers. Iron Man. Transformers. Lord of the Rings. James Bond. Batman. Pirates of the Caribbean. Star Wars. These are the movies shown in the major chains of movie theaters, and the movies that make the most money.

The balance is in the independent theaters that show more thoughtful, more experimental, more artistic films. These smaller theaters are struggling to keep up because they just don’t produce the revenue of the major studios. Think about it: all the aforementioned films produce saleable merchandise outside of the movie itself, and the profit the studios will make from those sales is accounted for in the film’s budget. Meanwhile, movies like Beasts of the Southern Wild and Holy Motors, which yield no ancillary merchandise, must make their budgets back through ticket sales alone, which in turn determine if they get to places like Netflix, VOD, Hulu Plus, etc.

This model works. Independent film has a tradition of making smaller, more thoughtful films. They cost less, so the risk is less to the backers. This makes independent film the true nature of the medium – where the artist has control of the work, rather than the studio. Not all independent films are great, but those that are dazzle us on a more visceral level than any of the bloated monstrosities that come from the studios. Independent filmmakers need independent theaters that are willing to showcase new artists. Good or bad, without them we are only left with franchises. Here’s the rub: indie theaters need those big franchised movies to stay in business in order to keep showcasing the smaller films. 

One such independent film organization is the Denver Film Society. They bring us thoughtful films in the SIE Film Center, as well as the Starz Denver Film Festival and Film on the Rocks. But, they need new projectors. Why? Not long from now the studios will only be delivering their films to theaters digitally, rather than on celluloid. With no means to showcase the movies that are (sadly) the biggest draws, the SIE Film Center becomes at risk of shutting down. That means no film festival, and no Film on the Rocks – which has become a cultural staple in our area. 

how you can help:

They’re asking for help from the community to get two new digital projectors. By donating $25, you can support the Denver Film Society digital campaign and also receive a ticket to an Exclusive Backer's-only DCP screening of THE BIG LEBOWSKI at Red Rocks on July 31. This event will not take place unless we work together to help them reach their $150,000 campaign goal. 

They are VERY close to their goal, but only have 4 days to go. Head over to their Kickstarter page and check out what they have to say (and take a look at a funny Big Lebowski parody they made for the occasion). 

Remember: without independent film the movies we get to see is up to the studios.