Independent Film Is Dead, Long Live Independent Film

The discussion if independent film has to be put on the “endangered species list” or not has been circulating for years now. I am reluctant to join this conversation. Being a filmmaker myself, in a media age where the term “Social Media” appears to be the new profession of faith of a global community, I’d say that independent film has finally found it’s place for worship. In fact, people do refer to the internet as their second love besides Jesus. And they do so because they finally have got a voice that finds its audience regardless of their age, their culture, their looks and so on. I think the term “faith” describes very well why people are so engaged with this kind of media. Every day the internet discovers independent voices, some express themselves by words, some do with music and others will do with moving pictures. The internet has become a huge distribution platform for independent film as well. Also technology has made it possible to make a great movie for really cheap. Even though money has always been a problematic issue facing indie filmmakers, there is no correlation between dollars spent and quality.


Film Festivals For What?!!!

Besides the internet as a media to reach out for a wide public, film festivals have become very important for independent filmmakers. There are two reasons for that.

  • Firstly they support new talents. Trend scouts keep an eye on festivals always looking out for new talents and hoping to discover tomorrow’s David Lynch.
  • Secondly they create a flourishing environment where people exchange minds and build new relations. I have never experienced any other industry where people have such an open-minded approach to strangers. The English saying “Don’t be a stranger” represents very well the prevailing atmosphere you will find at a good festival. People expect you to talk and to engage with them. There is something magical happening at film festivals. You spend a great amount of time watching yourself in some other city, in some other skin, a variation of who you are, and if the movie is good you may even forget who you are, but imagine who you could be. You stand up and feel very important. With everyone around you feeling the very same it’s an easy matter to find a script author, a costume designer or an actor that finds interest in your next film project.


Well established film festivals like the Viennale or the Diagonale in Austria take place once a year with great organisational effort and costs. They curate a program of hundreds of movies, they award prices, have panels and after parties. Recently a quite different approach is noticable in contrast to the big festivals. An example for this approach is the Future Shorts Austria Festival. It’s a rather small festival that takes place in places that support social interaction, like clubs or cafes, and also in cinemas. Besides screening a choice of awarded international short films, it emphasizes on strengthening the young Austrian film community by screening the work of national filmmakers.


The Future Shorts Austria Festival started in April 2011 in Vienna. Since then screenings took place roughly once in two months. It was introduced by the very same people that brought the “ideas worth sharing” TEDx experience to Vienna. By introducing the Future Shorts Austria Festival they wanted to help film enthusiasts and filmmakers to connect on a regular basis in order to unite different skills and to create better and more creative output. Their intention to have a Future Shorts Festival taking place in every bigger city in Austria, finally seems to be put into practice. The society Offscreen will organize a Future Shorts screening every two months in Salzburg, with the first screening taking place this week on 14 December at the “Shakespeare” cafe.

Taking this new movement into consideration, I don’t see independent film is going to be dead anytime. As far as humans are committed to tell stories, independent film will always evolve.

soldier on & never stop shooting