James Schamus, the head of Focus Films, has quietly begun something he calls Story Camp to assist filmmakers developing projects budgeted under $1 million. According to a July 27th, 2011 indieWIRE post by Brian Brooks, the first Story Camp, a three-day workshop for six emerging filmmakers and producers, was held in May of 2011.
Readers of this blog already know there are new opportunities in microbudget filmmaking. But accessing traditional distribution has become harder and harder. In part, that's because the number of available films is exploding and the cost of traditional distribution keeps going up.
If you're a microbudget filmmaker it can feel like there are walls around the companies with the resources to back a theatrical release. And these walls can only be breached by established filmmakers willing to mimic the production values of higher-budget films (e.g., employing stars). Here's what James Schamus said to indieWIRE about his new initiative: "Part of the reason for the creation of Story Camp was to break down some of those walls and take a look at the fact that lower-budget aesthetics are getting more mainstream. At the same time, lower-budget aesthetics don’t always mean crappy aesthetics. Production value, however you define it these days, means you can make movies that look pretty darn good for not so much money. So there’s different forms of storytelling available to filmmakers today than just a few years ago."
Although there's no formal application process for Story Camp, here's a list of the executives responsible for recruiting the filmmakers and their projects. They are: Focus’ executive vice president of international production Teresa Moneo; coordinator of European production Kieran Clayton; creative executive Christopher Kopp; director of production & acquisitions Samantha Taylor Pickett; director of production Matthew Plouffe.
Thanks to educator and film producer Tom Garrett for the link