Friday, 7 September 2007

Accent Underground

Finally the desire and need to build a stronger and more strongly embellished independent cinema scene is spurning enterprise, one such is driven currently by the Melbourne Underground Film Festival and Accent Film Entertainment - the result is Accent Underground.

Accent Underground is a distribution arm of Accent Film Entertainment that will "release truly independent films by talented filmmakers whose ingenuity and creativity far exceeds the budgets at their disposal. Many such features are made without conventional funding and imposed restrictions. As a result, they tend to be more dynamic and daring genre-driven films exhibiting raw production vitality which their conventional counterparts avoid." as stated in their official press release.

Will Accent Film however be able to handle what will surely become a flooded in-tray of films all vying, crying, and trying to be represented by what many will see as the answer to their dreams? Who will walk away saying, "My god, even Accent Underground didn't want my film. I must be sitting on a right turkey". Then I guess the only reaction is for that person to start up their own distribution company, call it something like, Right Turkey, allowing the film industry to operate more aligned to other service orientated businesses. For instance clubs, pubs, cafes, and retailers effectively try and cater for a broad range of public tastes and needs - it is a sorry affair that the film industry struggles with this concept of delivering the same wider array of opportunities for filmmakers, since the type of films people like to watch are just as varied as the types of clubs people like to dance in.

The issue with only a small quantity of distribution companies hanging around attempting to fish content is that they must as a business attempt to balance their books as well as their mission statements. Take Madman Entertainment, a company that stamped its seal on the niche genres. Madman for many independent filmmakers is a company that is not seen as a true ally to independent cinema but rather a smart marketing label strategically building its wealth using the same left-field tactics as employed by entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson and his Virgin empire. Try getting a look in for distribution with Madman, and after knocking at Madman's door the next option usually is laying out a rug on Swanston St, and selling your movie to pedestrians, and if you are lucky, the chalk artist down the block might draw an equivalent of a lobby card on the pavement to catch the attention of passersby.

I don't mean to be cynical about Madman, since I absolutely support their place in our market 100%, and am glad they exist. What point I am making is that like with people, some companies grow conservative with age. Or we get incentives like the Experimental Film Fund that vanished in a puff of weed smoke after the 1970's when finally all the public servants working for the film funding bodies finished their fun on LSD, got paranoid and went straight.

What films that Accent Underground signs up now will determine how the company will develop, and how it will be established in the future - therefore what it can offer filmmakers. I personally am in full support and very much excited by Accent Underground, as an initiative and motivation for filmmakers such as myself to get off my arse and nail the final edit on work I was in no rush to complete simply because the explicit nature of it would have required a joint backing by Ken Russell and John Waters, in my dreams.

I have noticed also that Accent Underground has brought in older films that found trouble finding distributors and put them on their books. So get behind Accent Underground, the label will be launched this upcoming MUFF.

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