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 LOW BUDGET FILMS

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PostSubject: LOW BUDGET FILMS   Mon Jun 13, 2011 3:59 am

I have recently watched a couple films made on a very small budget El Mariachi $7,000 and Pharoahs Army not as small a budget but it was still made for $500,000 which is far less than the cost to produce most films, both films were great. With so many big budget films it's easy to overlook some of the films that are perhaps not as well known and made on a small budget but lots of these are just as good if not better than the big blockbusters that have had almost unlimited funding and publicity.
Some of the low budget films are well known such as Clerks £27,000 , The Blair witch Project $60,000 but both of these Im yet to see.
Can anyone suggest any other good films made on a smal budget of say less that 1 million dollars?
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Darth Laser

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PostSubject: Re: LOW BUDGET FILMS   Mon Jun 13, 2011 6:21 am

Low budgets = imagination!
Surely the single most important ingredient of any creative project!
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PostSubject: Re: LOW BUDGET FILMS   Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:49 am

A good idea and plenty of imagination has produced some of the most profitable films of all time.
Two films that I have never seen that have been hugely succsesful are The blair witch project which was made for just $35,000 and had a revenue of £248 million and Paranormal activity which was made for $15,000 and its revenue was $193 million.
Both films are mockumentary films but Im not sure I would like that style of filming as a horror but I will try and watch one of them in the future.
It has never been easier or cheaper for budding film makers than it is today with the use of digital filming and the massive exposure of the internet we should really start to see many more successful low budget films.
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PostSubject: Re: LOW BUDGET FILMS   Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:11 am

It depends how low budget you want to go. I've found that comedy films work quite well on a low budget, especially if they're sending up high budget genres, embracing the low budget as part of the humour.

Two good examples are:

Tongan Ninja made on a budget of NZ$80,000 (£39,839) and also where I first discovered Jemaine Clement who later became famous with Flight of the Conchords (and soon to be the villain in the new Men in Black III!). Well worth checking out if you want to see a send up of classic and modern kung fu flicks ([You must be registered and logged in to see this link.])

The Gamers/The Gamers II Dorkness Rising. The first was made on a budget of US$1000 (£609), the second is higher budget but the exact amount hasn't been stated. These are fun yet respectful send ups of role players (Dungeons and Dragons etc), made by players themselves. Most of the film is (very) low budget fantasy "epic," but every now and then cuts back to the gamers role playing each character. If you've ever role played then this film is a must. ([You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] and [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]).

Another good, but more well known example is The Cube: CAD$365,000 (£228,240) [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

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PostSubject: Re: LOW BUDGET FILMS   Wed Jun 15, 2011 3:55 am

Never seen PHARAOH'S ARMY, but I did have the misfortune to see BLAIR WITCH PROJECT. I even paid good money to see it in a cinema (the mutual gasp of irritation and disappointment from the audience as they left the room was palpable) and then I still went and bought the laserdisc. (Did I think it would improve things? I need to be certified.)

The film does have its fans, and I certainly go with the idea that 'suggestion' and 'atmosphere' can be more effective than in-your-face horror (for proof see the best ever creepy movie: the supernatural thriller THE HAUNTING - that's the original version, not the execrable remake), but the only real suggestion in BWP is that if you tell enough people that something is a definite must-see, then they'll all go and see it! It's as simple as that! The film is a triumph of marketing and hype over substance. In fact, there is no substance - and that is the film's trump card. It's about NOTHING! NOTHING HAPPENS! Even when you think something has happened, it hasn't!

Most pernicious of all, you don't even care that nothing happens because the principal characters are such non-entities. All three of them are so deeply unpleasant and self-obsessed that you wish something WOULD happen to them. If only Michael Myers or Freddie Krueger had been hiding behind one of those trees! And the film is physically unwatchable - all that shakycam and blurred footage. It's supposed to make it look 'authentic', like cinema verite, but all it does is induce headaches and motion-sickness.

Low budget? You bet. It could have been made for 10p. It sure looks like it!


Last edited by laserkb on Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:11 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: LOW BUDGET FILMS   Wed Jun 15, 2011 7:59 am

My top suggestion for a wonderful low budget film is John Carpenter's directorial debut DARK STAR, made allegedly for no more than $60,000.

The legend of how this started as a 16mm student project from Carpenter and co-writer Dan O'Bannon before producer Jack Harris stepped in with more cash to transfer it to 35mm and increase the running time is well-known. The laserdisc is actually one of the few home video versions (before the recent DVD re-release) to show the original shorter cut of the movie with the extra scenes offered only as supplementary material. These additional scenes are fun and inventive, but the original cut is more taut and concise.

The movie is a sort of pastiche (rather than spoof) on some deeply meaningful and metaphysical screen treatments of interstellar voyaging, "2001" and "Silent Running" being the most obvious candidates. DARK STAR starts with the premise that any long isolated mission in space will be primarily filled with BOREDOM. However, the parody is good-humoured and respectful, and the film's low budget really works in its favour. All the space-vehicle stuff is made from 'Blue Peter'-style household objects and plastic model-car kits, and the script sparkles with wit and observation. It has one of the most memorable screenplays of the 70s, and my family and I sometimes hold entire conversations based around quotes from this and The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy (a close stable-mate). The character of Pinback, played by O'Bannon himself, is a wonderful creation, a work of comic genius.

Despite being about a crew of stoned-out and bored astronauts, the plot is actually filled with incidents and tension, the chief one being their attempt to stop a bomb, jammed in the bomb bay, from following its instructions to explode on time. It is from this film that I learned about "phenomenology". You'll wonder how you ever managed life without it!

I offer a huge recommendation to anyone who's not yet seen this movie, and do you know, I actually think it's much more fun that a well-known multi-part space opera by a certain George Lucas. (I love the fact that the spaceship's toilet is marked "toilet tank THX 1138"!)

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