2018 - The Year Micro Budget Features Broke
2018 has been an incredible year for Scottish Micro Budget features, and not just the films associated with us or our friends. There has been an incredible paradigm shift in how audiences have accepted these movies which can only mean greater things - for everyone - in 2019.
We started screening a few of our features, via short film night ‘Write-Shoot-Cut’ tie-ins at The Filmhouse in 2014. The audience were primarily filmmakers - which is great - but it was, like most other film nights still a case of ‘preaching to the converted’.
Over the last 2 years, and especially this year we have had cinema runs for Teenage Superstars and most especially there was a mainstream cinema-chain release for John and Lauren’s Where Do We Go From Here? In the last few weeks other micro-budget features - Matriach, Necromancer , Voyageuse and Super November have all had mainstream cinema releases and have proved that these films can exist in the mainstream. These are all films with tiny, tiny budgets but through perseverance and progression they are being accepted by Scottish audiences as part of Scottish Filmmaking. That’s real audiences, not just groups of filmmaking friends. This is incredible and a major change for the better.
Since we started we’ve faced an incredible amount of resistance to what we do by the industry (although we’ve had some amazing industry practitioner help). Not every film has had success - critically or by sales - but there has been a progression that’s now paying off. It’s often been very difficult to keep pushing through this residence and we want to thank everyone who’s ever been a part of what we do or supported us. It’s been a difficult ask as there’s often very little personal gain for anyone involved, especially as we mostly remain anonymous. So thank you, thank you, thank you.
It’s amazing to see that there now appears to be a recognised, sustainable and advancing micro budget feature industry in Scotland. For everyone, not just us. It will absolutely lead to greater things for all involved, which is all we ever wanted. Without a doubt there will now be a larger industry wanting to get involved too but rather than a ‘we told you so’ attitude this can only be better for indie filmmaking.
We were far from the first and many of these films would have been made without us but we’ve always maintained that with some attitude, good ideas and a lot of tenacity you could make successful features on your own terms without somebody giving you permission or the means to do so first. You could always do it on your own.
2018 has shown that there now are alternatives, ones which work very well and that can only mean that good things are on the horizon for Scottish (and all indie) filmmakers who want to do things differently. Short film schemes can work, for sure but this is a proven workable alternative.
Use this opportunity to make more diverse films. Push to hear more from those who are not heard enough and don’t be afraid to be different.
The only caveat is that we have to support these films - and the cinemas taking the chances - and tell potential audiences that they have to keep going to see and hear these new stories and voices. That’s how industries grow or are made. We can be a special filmmaking country. Don't think in terms of just supporting each other but thinking of ways to get audiences to support us. We’re happy to support not just those involved with our films but anyone who’s part of this new journey into making these tiny feature films available to a general population.
It is exciting and now is the perfect time to make your feature. Make 2019 an even more exciting time for a growing industry - one that doesn't need to do it the old way.