Indie Film Collectives

In 2012, the top prize at the Sundance Film Festival went to Beasts of the Southern Wild, which was generated collaboratively by an artistic collective. FastCompany Magazine interviewed three champions of collaborative film-making, and asked them to select a great film made by a collective:

Benh Zeitlin, Court 13. Notable film: Beasts of the Southern Wild

You need momentum. The way to make films without money is with a lot of help.

Sean Durkin, Borderline Films. Notable film: Martha Marcy May Marlene

When you work alone, there are points in time when you’re not actively writing or making anything. But we’re always in production; it’s so healthy for the creative cycle.

Nash Edgerton, Blue-Tongued Films. Notable film: Animal Kingdom

David, Spencer, and I had each worked on the other’s films. People knew we were collaborators, so they checked out our other work.

Of course, filmmaking is highly collaborative to start with; most big-budget films have five or ten writers working on the script, and actors (as well as a huge support crew) contribute throughout the shooting. And a lot of the creativity happens during editing, when some scenes are cut, sequences are changed, music and sound are added, etc. I suspect that what’s new about these collectives is that the “auteur” creative director is replaced by a more democratic and collaborative work process.

Congratulations to Beast for winning the top prize at Sundance! Another win for collaboration!

*FastCompany, June 2012, page 36, “Roving packs of indie filmmakers”

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