07 Mar 2017

To The Unknown Audience

I can say without any doubt that I really enjoy screening our films to our networks of friends, colleagues, and other artists. These are some of the possibilities (apart from DIY screenings and film festivals) for distributing our films that myself, my fellow filmmakers, and so many other underground filmmakers have at our disposal. As François Truffaut said years ago:

“The film of tomorrow will not be directed by professionals, but by artists for whom shooting a film is a challenging and thrilling adventure. The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who shot it and the number of spectators will be proportional to the number of friends the director has. The film of tomorrow will be an act of love.”

Having taken all this into consideration, one of my primary goals – or perhaps the most important one with EFS – is to reach new and unfamiliar territories and audiences for our films. To find people and places that are utterly alien to us and have no connections to us whatsoever. By this I mean finding audiences by stretching our geographical reach as much as we are able to, to engage with people who don’t know us personally but are willing to absorb our films and consume them (I am entirely against elitism).

When I make films, I genuinely make them for anyone on this planet, from any nationality, background, class or what have you. I never cared in the slightest degree about these categories and never take them into consideration when making a film. The reason, at – least in my opinion – has always been obvious: you will never know your audience; it is beyond your control, and it must be so. As David Cronenberg puts it:

“Anybody who comes to the cinema is bringing their whole sexual history, their literary history, their movie literacy, their culture, their language, their religion, whatever they’ve got. I can’t possibly manipulate all of that, nor do I want to.”

Since I began to promote the crowdfunding campaign for Luminous Void, a book exploring the history of the Experimental Film Society and the ideas that animate it, I have received some overwhelming messages from both within our own network, but also from enthusiasts who came to us from screenings they attended, by seeing our films on the internet or from video on demand. Feedback like this makes everything worthwhile. You simply have to devote 100% of your time, energy, and resources to the films and help them get exposure. The rest is beyond our control, but an audience will eventually inhabit them and make them their own for themselves and their dreams; just as we did, and are still doing, with other films from the medium’s history.

You can support Luminous Void HERE