THE REAL PRICE OF GUERILLA FILMMAKING!
A year ago I traveled the country with my first feature film 'Santiago,' which I produced and funded myself. Before you go on thinking that I have any kind of riches, let me assure you that I do not. The only reason I was able to finance 'Santiago' is because the production cost of the film was under five thousand dollars. This was possible through the help of many friends and by the use of many favors.
Our little guerilla filmmaking venture went on to screen at film festivals from New York to Mexico, and wherever the film screened, I went. Travel expenses are a part of the process that a first time indie filmmaker is completely unaware of. We all wise up to the fact that we will need some extra money for festival submissions, but we never stop to think 'what if we actually get accepted?' I'd say absolutely go, otherwise, why even enter? It’s a great way to network and feel like part of the filmmaking community. The latter is definitely welcome, especially since as indie filmmakers we spend so much time alone with our films.
For our first festival in Chicago, almost everybody in the crew went, but by the end of the festival run, I was traveling alone. Needless to say, my traveling expenses quickly superseded my film’s budget, which was one of the small burdens of having a festival indie hit. I do not regret the pile of debt I'm currently in as a result. My film was well received, and it won some awards, which allowed me to connect with audiences and other artists nationwide. I also had the pleasure of opening new possibilities of indie filmmaking for the upcoming generation of young filmmakers.
The film’s limited money for post-production and legal fees has slowed down the distribution process. During this time, we contemplated crowd funding to try to raise money to move 'Santiago' forward, but I was hesitant. There were two reasons for my hesitation, reasons that didn't allow me to be mentally on board with the crowd funding idea. The first reason was pride. As an indie filmmaker, one has this crazy notion that 'I don't need anybody to help me make a film.' That could not be further from the truth. Even on no budget films, one has small crew and actors that are essential for the filmmaking process. My second hesitation was that I didn't want my first and possibly only chance at raising funds for a project, to be utilized on a movie that was already completed. To me, the fund raising should be at the beginning of a project (or to help complete it). The creation of it is what matters, the exhibition will find a way; 'Santiago' will find distribution, it'll just take a little longer than usual.
Ivone Millan as Carmen
A couple of months back, I wrote a draft of a comedy that I have since adapted as a short film (and as the first part of a feature length film), ‘Amor Imposible.’ ‘Amor Imposible’ is about a Spanish soap opera character who crosses realms into our world to find a love that seems impossible. The idea is fresh and I've never really seen it done before. I showed it to Jesus Guevara (who starred in Santiago) and we committed to making this project a reality. The idea of crowd funding came up again, and this time I was ready. I now know that it really does take a village to raise a baby, in this case the baby is ‘Amor Imposible.’ As I mentioned earlier, I truly believe that everyone only has one shot at raising funds (aka asking friends and family for money), so the project better be a great one. ‘Amor Imposible’ is that great one for me. We've already cast the film, locked locations and have the crew ready. It’s amazing how far we've gotten without actual funds. I guess you just can't take the guerilla filmmaker out of some of us.
Much of the same crew who I made ‘Santiago’ with will be joining me in this new venture, so I have no doubt that the film will be made well. My only concern is that since we are trying to go in a new direction with this film, we need to make it look Rom-Com pretty. Otherwise, the light-hearted humor will be lost due to our financial limitations. Crowd funding will allow us the small budget we need to make the film work. It also gives the contributor the opportunity to be at the front end of creating a film, which is essential to the collaborative spirit of the filmmaking process. We are scheduled to shoot ‘Amor Imposible’ at the end of the month.
I currently need help raising funds, so if you can help me out with any size contribution, it will be greatly be appreciated. Be a part of this amazing journey and help us realize this film.
Check out Amor Imposible HERE!
Felix Martiz is a Los Angeles Filmmaker, whose heart and soul are devoted to Indie Cinema. A graduate from the Cal State Long Beach Film & Arts program, he showed his cinematic potential when he won the Cal Arts 'Rosebud' award for 'Best Student Short'.
Last year he made his feature film debut with 'Santiago,' it made a splash as it screened throughout the country at many International Film Festivals. This year Felix will follow up his feature film debut, with 'Amor Imposible' a short that is the first part of a feature lenght film. During his time between films, he is busy working on scripts that he one day hopes to produce. Amor Imposible is scheduled to begin filming late October, but some of his work can be seen this month; Santiago screens in Columbia at the Monteria International Film Festival and a recent short he filmed 'LA Noir' can be seen in Los Angeles at the New Filmmakers LA Video Project on October 20th.
Felix Martiz, Jesus Guevara, Wesam Keesh, & Dan Lopecci talking SANTIAGO at Film Courage Interactive on 1-30-12.