No budget film
A no-budget film is a film made with very little or no money.
Young directors starting out in filmmaking commonly use this method because there are few other options available to them at that point. All the actors and technicians are employed without remuneration, and the films are largely non-profit. Usually the director works alone on such films, or uses a very minimum "crew" of volunteers to assist him/her on such projects where no money or financing is available, not including the cost of film.
Satyajit Ray's debut film, Pather Panchali (1955), which was produced on a budget of 1.5 lakh (US$2,400) Along with the other films in Ray's The Apu Trilogy the film is frequently listed among the greatest films of all time. In 1960, Ron Rice released The Flower Thief, starring Taylor Mead, to a positive reception. The film was produced for less than $1000 using black-and-white 16mm 50' film cartridges left over from aerial gunnery equipment used during World War II. In the early 1960s, filmmaker Jack Smith used discarded color-reversal film stock to film Flaming Creatures. John Waters' 1964 black-and-white film Hag in a Black Leather Jacket reportedly cost $30 to make, though Waters has said that he stole the film stock. Craig Baldwin's Flick Skin is entirely made from discarded film, or "found footage", retrieved from a projectionist's booth. The No Wave Cinema movement of the late 1970s, represented by filmmakers such as Vivienne Dick, produced many notable no-budget films shot on Super 8, such as Beauty Becomes The Beast. In 1993, Sarah Jacobson's first film, I Was a Teenage Serial Killer, was made with "one camera, one tape recorder, one mic and, like, four lights". G.B. Jones took 13 years to film, direct and edit on Super 8mm the feature film The Lollipop Generation, which was filmed whenever she could afford to buy a roll of film, and finally released in 2008.
Footage for no-budget films is often shot on location, either with permission, or without permission which is referred to as "guerrilla filmmaking", using sites such as the home of the filmmaker or their friends, in the backyard or local neighborhood. No-budget films have often been made in the past using Super 8 mm film or video, but recent films have taken advantage of low-cost digital cameras and editing programs.
No-budget films can receive distribution at film festivals that focus on independent and experimental films, such as the Flicker Film Festival and No Budget Film Festival in Los Angeles, The 8 Fest in Toronto, and the Trasharama A-Go-Go festival in Australia. The Polish brothers distributed their no-budget film For Lovers Only on iTunes and relied on social media to publicize it.
While generally ignored by the commercial film sector, they have, on occasion, garnered much recognition in the world of alternative culture and arts. It is rare that a no-budget film manages to receive recognition and launch a filmmaker's career; only a handful have achieved any level of high acclaim. Examples are Kevin Smith's Clerks and Christopher Nolan's Following.
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- Indie Filmmaking, the comprehensive guide to no-budget filmmaking.
- Filmmaking Stuff
- Filmmakers Alliance, support and resources for independent filmmakers.