HOLLYWOOD SPOTLIGHT: 9 Low-Budget INDIE Film Successes

So I’m in a transitional phase, from writer, director to entertainment and media impresario. I’m trying to learn how small indy film companies like ours can land successful indy films. While this objective is lofty and a highly difficult one to achieve, at least there are some examples out there to learn from.
9 Low-Budget INDIE Film Successes
  • El Mariachi (1992) Estimated Budget: $7,000. …
  • Clerks (1994) Estimated Budget: $27,575. …
  • Following (1998) Estimated Budget: $6,000. …
  • The Blair Witch Project (1999) Estimated Budget: $25,000.
  • Primer (2004) Estimated Budget: $7,000. …
  • Paranormal Activity (2007) …
  • Monsters (2010) …
  • Tangerine (2015)

Like most of the films above, our budgets range under 7k per film and we are now focused on delivering what we have to audiences that want it. Hopefully, we can help other indy filmmakers with quality and clever character-driven films reach new audiences through traditional and non-traditional methods.

Right now, I’m editing an ambitious little mock-documentary called THE HIT MAKER. The process of editing has been much simpler because I know the story so well. It absolutely has been an experience as well as a journey that continues to challenge me from day-to-day. From what I’m learning, its time for me to connect the audiences for this film with pre-promotional content.


Lex Kelly (l) Dominique Ward (C) and David Lovelace (r) in a scene from THE HIT MAKER

It’s also time to develop a distribution strategy and line up the tasks. Of course, we can’t forget the marketing right? Oh, and then there are the film festivals and promotions and so on and so forth. The good news is that there are indeed more avenues for distribution and audience building that ever before. The bad news is that as an indy film studio operator, the tools and resources are limited. I’m not complaining, just being realistic about the necessity to be creative when facing limited resources.

As I learn and share the experience, you be sure to stay in the loop and go catch a film.




Here are additional resources for filmmakers looking to get to the next level








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HOLLYWOOD SPOTLIGHT REVIEWS: Top films of 2018 include an array of remakes and sequels to remember.


By Maria DeSoto

There were so many big films in 2018 that records were broken, but here are some of the big ones that are familiar to audiences.

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The Fiat Abarth 500C delivers on the vision of its dynamic founder

via The Fiat Abarth 500C delivers on the vision of its dynamic founder

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Actors weigh in on the top movies of 2018

Janet Carabelli says BLACK PANTHER has lots of dynamic messages that we can all be proud of. The South Florida-based award-winning actress is the first to appear on HOLLYWOOD SPOTLIGHT: Artist Perspectives. Click the screen below to hear her feedback on the Blockbuster hit BLACK PANTHER.

The new series allows talent and creatives to talk movies from both a personal and intellectual point of view while giving them exposure to new audiences that can find joy in a new discovery.




MUMFF 2018

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AutoFOCUS Spotlight: The guru behind the Lincoln Navigator swag and style

via AutoFOCUS Spotlight: The guru behind the Lincoln Navigator swag and style

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By Tony C. Lesesne

GIRLS TRIP is the comedy breakout film of the summer with a stellar cast and a ridiculously hilarious story line that keeps audiences laughing from start to finish. These characters are individually nutty, proud, professional and in desperate need of a vacation.

Tiffany Haddish completely steals the show, having the most audacious lines and having the talent to make the hit home, time and time again. No spoilers here, but her Grapefruit sex lesson is one for the ages. There are plenty of “moments” that will last in comedic infamy in this film, including the notorious swinging over Bourbon Street sequence that had audiences cracking up in seats so much that one could barely hear the dialogue. GO SEE IT, and check the video review above.


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BREAKING NEWS: NATPE Miami 2017 Pacing Well Ahead of Previous Market and Conference with Strong International Attendance


JP Bommel, COO and Managing Director, NATPE

Once again, NATPE is ramping up for a strong and productive event next month. NATPE Miami 2017 is pacing well ahead of last year’s market and conference with a strong representation of international attendees, according to JP Bommel, COO and Managing Director, NATPE.  Also announced today were a new membership tier, NATPE Next Gen, and the host of the Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards, Natalie Morales. The leading global marketplace and resource of television and platform executives will run from Jan. 17-19 at both the Fontainebleau and Eden Roc Miami Beach resorts.

“NATPE Miami 2017 continues to be a must attend event and is the definitive global marketplace for television and platform executives. We have an increasing number of buyers from overseas ready to meet with our international exhibitors and distributors. If a person is associated with content in any form across any platform NATPE is the place to be” said Bommel.


Next year’s installment of the Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards will be hosted by Natalie Morales, the West Coast anchor of NBC News’ TODAY and co-host of Access Hollywood and Access Hollywood Live.

'Fifty Shades of Grey' film screening, New York, America - 06 Feb 2015

Natalie Morales, the West Coast anchor of NBC News’ TODAY and co-host of Access Hollywood and Access Hollywood Live

The awards gala will take place during the 2017 NATPE Conference and Marketplace in Miami on January 18.

Looking to the future, NATPE announced today that the next generation of content creators wiull be on the agenda. What is certain to be great news for our own Millinials – Alex and cameron Lesesne, NATPE Next Gen was created to service industry up-and-comers looking to enhance their burgeoning careers and establish strong relationships for the future.


Alex and Cameron Lesesne both sharing hosting duties for MUMFF TV live in Miami

The Lesesne brothers are greating a buzz in Miami with their newest web creation MUMFF TV (a short-form web show focusing on innovation in the creative space with plans of producing content around NATPE.

The new organization will operate under the NATPE parent umbrella and provide exclusive access to year-round programming in the form of events, summits, workshops, and screenings. NATPE Next Gen will also have a presence at the yearly NATPE Miami conference in January.


Steve Harvey at the 2016 NATPE

Attendance and the expanded membership initiative are not the only places to find growth at NATPE. For the first time ever, NATPE Miami will offer a Master Class Series across all tracks featuring top names in the business giving intimate sessions set to empower and inspire conference attendees.  Some of the sessions include Miami’s own 19 time Grammy Award-wining producer Emilio Estefan teaching a class on “How to Navigate the Music Industry”; Steve Levitan, co-creator of Modern Family, instructing conference-goers on “Comedy Writing at its Best”; and Morgan Wandel, Amazon Studios’ Head of Drama Series, leading a session on “How to Thrive in the Scripted Market.” Additional speakers and keynote sessions will be announced in the coming weeks.

img_0383As the industry racks their brains on how to target the rapidly growing millennial demographic, NATPE will feature a keynote with, Jason Dorsey, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, The Center for Generational Kinetics. With best-selling books and appearances on 60 Minutes, 20/20, TODAY on his resume, Dorsey will bring his new take on the generational lines and how we talk about them to the NATPE programming lineup.

For more details on conference programming, including confirmed speakers and tickets to the Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards, please visit www.natpe.com.

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