Indies in Hollywood's Wake
During the last legislative session, there was a perception that production tax credits only benefited big Hollywood studios. That perception was not only false on its face--smaller budget productions were equally eligible for the revised credits proposed (in fact, spending minimums were lowered to account for smaller productions)--it also presumed that Hollywood productions operate in a vacuum. The truth of the matter is that Hollywood projects and independent films have a symbiotic relationship. The former employ local crew members, who can then use their jobs to earn income, gain experience, and network while they write their own scripts and prepare to direct or produce their own films.
An article last June in The Georgia Straight, "Hollywood slaves are free at last," aptly explained the Hollywood-indie symbiosis. The article quotes Vancouver actor Chris Robson: “There’s an enormously talented pool of Canadian writers, actors, directors, and technicians who’ve all cut their teeth working on American dreck. It’s an opportunity for this talent pool to start making their back-burner projects, develop those ideas and start guerrilla filmmaking.” Among Vancouver's recent indie hits are "The Corporation," an award-winning documentary about the psychopathology of the corporation, Oscar-nominated short doc "Hardwood," and Michael Keaton thriller "White Noise."
Meanwhile, independent films as a whole are evolving and flourishing, becoming big business themselves. Recognizing the profit potential of indies, big studios and distributors have carved out specialty "independent" units. Together, these units comprise "Indiewood," which has been churning out critical and commercial hits like "Sideways" and "Lost in Translation." There are also more distribution avenues for films these days with cable TV, DVD, and the Internet.
So, it behooves any state or country to welcome and encourage independent and Hollywood productions (and everything in between) equally.