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July 15 2003

Clarification on the 'Expensive' Price of Amber Benson's 'Chance' on VHS & DVD. An update on a previous news item.

"The effort to get Chance distributed and into the hands of the fans has been a bumpy one. I won't bore you with details here, but suffice it to say that there are issues having to do with everything from SAG to shooting on video to prudishness."

Further proof that with rare exceptions (Blair Witch Project immediately comes to mind) the whole independent scene system still has way too far to go when compared to the mainstream system. It sucks. There are too many forces which make it far too expensive to properly produce, publicize and distribute films in today's market. The system is topheavy, and certifies that only a comparatively precious few big corporate interests get to decide what makes it into "a theater near you."

The alternative perhaps is chaos.
While you are right about the "powers that be" deciding who is going to be successful (despite quality) Blair Witch was actually picked up by a major label for its final form of distribution, which is one of the main reasons why everyone is familiar with its name (and the double video tape set of it I picked up for like $3 at a local store clearance). I don't think you meant it quite this way, but even mentioning Blair Witch as an example of "good" indie is not quite right, it was a copycat of an earlier indie movie and IMHO just plain silly.

"Chance" however is original in style, sounds decent and from what little clips I have seen, looking interesting. I am a big fan of indie and DV projects and hope this goes smoothly enough for Amber to attempt something bigger and better in the same format.
What do you mean when you say the Blair Witch was a copycat? As far as I am aware it was an original production with an incredibly unique idea. It was filmed for very little money and was released in independant theaters in 13 cities (where I live being one of them) before Artisan picked it up for mass marketing.

It was completely independant, and as an independant movie it was much more effective. As soon as it started being shown in theaters across the U.S. and the actors started appearing on talk shows, the "is it real or not?" mystique was lost.
There are strong arguments (which I won't got into here, just google 'em) and some admittance by the Blair Witch creators, that they had seen "The Last Broadcast" (out a year before Blair Witch even started filming) as well as "Cannibal Holocaust". Check imdb.com and other sources to see how those films could easily inspire Blair Witch (heck the tagline for Broadcast is "What actually happened that night in the woods?")

Blair Witch still gets credit for being an indie film that got the attention of "the powers that be", however I wish it was for much more creative and interesting material (for example a movie you'd actually want to watch twice).
Back to the thread topic, I'm surprised that anyone didn't get how the picture-free-video thing worked. I'm no rocket scientist, but I certainly understood what the deal was when I read the website. And frankly, the chance to see "Chance" is worth WAY more than $45.
Ooh! It was SO not my intent to insinuate that Blair Witch was good independent filmmaking. I happened to have enjoyed it personally but I am the first to admit it was questionably ethical upon the treatment of the talent. As for it being a "copycat" of a previous work, the guys behind Blair Witch Project (BWP) have never formally admitted to that. They have admitted to having seen other works that have similarities, but that would be like saying any comedy movie written or directed by someone who had previously seen Marx Brothers movies was stealing from them.

I've seen The Last Broadcast (TLB), in fact I have both shows on videotape and there's little to no similarity in presentation or content. TLB is also much more tongue in cheek and has a less entertaining back story than BWP. TLB didn't succeed in the suspension of disbelief where BWP did.

I mentioned BWP in my original post to this thread as an example of the sporadic exception to the norm. Most independent films, especially the really well-done stuff, gets at best featured in artsy films with small clientele, and at worst ends up like Chance, where the person who believed in it loses her shirt in the process, trying to get the work to its audience.

BWP was an exception, partially because some people unfortunately believed it to be a snuff film. Its provacative nature escalated it to fame moreso than the quality of the production itself. If quality of talent were more of a factor, Benson would not be having this problem with Chance. And again I'm not saying BWP was bad. I enjoyed it. I especially enjoyed the performance of the three principal actors, and knowing the hardship they went through to attempt such realism, I applaud that, but I question the ethics of the producers. They didn't have to be so hard on the talent to get a believable performance out of them.

My POINT, and I do have one, is that Chance deserves a chance more than BWP did, but that there's no such thing as justice in modern day cinema. The whole independent scene is purposefully kept down by the heels of corporate behemoths. It makes me sick.

Why the hell doesn't someone like KEVIN SMITH come to Amber Benson's rescue? She just needs someone with some real balls to fund her work. Who's making this so difficult for her? Why can't she get the capital?
I'm still awaiting an answer on this.

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