Passion Begets Passion
About eight months ago, David MacKenzie posted the entire working script for his new movie on Hugh's site and invited comments with the natural proviso that he could choose to ignore any or all of them. That said, when I made a series of constructive observations, he was true to his word and engaged in a dialogue with me. For commerical reasons, the idea of posting future scripts online was abandoned so we all have to wait till release date to see what changed and what remained the same, and the production diary has given few clues.
As he put it, he was not beholden to a slew of studio executives. Or as I would put it, he was not willing to have his passion compromised. That is the key to moving forward in the twenty first century. If you have passion, it will be transmitted to all around you and generate passionate users who will evangelise for you. Isn't that what's at the heart of blogging?
In acknowledgement of this, nearly all the major movie studios are creating boutique lower-budget divisions to try to tap into that passion in light of the superior box office performnce of independent intelligent (read passionate) movies in recent years. Will that be passion-lite or passion by committee? Only time will tell, but committees don't have a great track record in identifying passion.
No clearer example of this may have given David MacKenzie something of a hangover this morrning. Down in Cannes presumably to secure distribution for Hallam Foe, he will last night have been celebrating the success of Andrea Arnold, a Kent film-maker, in securing the Jury Prize for her first-ever low-budget feature Red Road. Andrea's not having a bad few months - she also bagged the short film Oscar for her 2003 production Wasp.
To quote today's Times "Arnold's win was a little piece of divine justice for a film-maker who had long struggled to convince any of the funding bodies to take interest in her work." The committees therefore failed to identify passion, but other passionate film-makers did not. Red Road is produced by Sigma Films - founding partner one David MacKenzie. I rest my case.