A Robust Film Community: Can it exist here?

Tony C. Lesesne

Is it possible to carve out a successful film community outside of Hollywood? Of course it is. It won’t be easy but that doesn’t mean we can’t try.

Like most communities, we also have the infrastructure, and the talent. The immediate challenge is to get it organized (working on that one). Besides getting it organized, the other major obstacle is successfully attracting the support and patronage of the greater community that can make a film community not only real, but eventually profitable.

We can look to the art communities that have thrived in some cities and learn from those that have failed. What makes the New York Art community such a success? The answer lies in the various elements that come together to make it work. There are plenty of good artists, plenty of places for them to showcase their works, and lots of buyers who purchase the art, keeping the artists employed and eating. Specifically, you’ve got the many art galleries showcasing local artists, street fairs featuring local artists, magazines featuring local artists and dozens of Art Festivals featuring; well you guessed it…local artists. All those elements feed back to the buyers who enjoy, invest, and ultimately support their local artists.

Let’s translate that into building a local film community. To build a strong local film community, we need good writers who feed content to good directors, who can turn to solid actors to get local productions completed. Then we need a network of local venues (theaters, storefronts, art galleries, art houses, community centers and public facilities like libraries, churches and colleges). We also need more community-supported local film festivals that feature local films. We need to attract the support of the local media and social media networks in our communities to inform the public that indeed there are local productions being completed that will be available to local audiences. 

Here’s the most important part: If we are capable of attracting hoards of local people who BUY tickets to movies made by local filmmakers (with local actors, producers etc.) then you’ve got yourself a real-live film community. When that happens, you also attract investors, and the cycle grows from local to regional and from regional to national, and in some rare cases, global. Remember, I said it won’t be easy, but it’s possible.

We all need fans! Ticket-buying, t-shirt wearing, movie-going fans. It starts with your family, friends, associates and others who tell others until you have a collective fan base. If each of us did that, the collective would grow, and a community would then have relevance. Think about it; Local theaters and community centers showing films by local film makers, featuring local acting talent in stories that you can enjoy. What if some of them sold out? What if we had our own local awards show, featuring “best-actor” and “best director” and so forth? I believe it would absolutely attract the attention of Hollywood.

Filming a scene from THE HIT MAKER on location with all local cast

The community begins and ends with us. Especially if we understand what makes a community. We ask for recommendations as to businesses/locations for hosting a reception and film viewing. We sorely need those venues. What do you think? Let’s get started!



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1 Response to A Robust Film Community: Can it exist here?

  1. Ronny Cush says:

    As a Filmmaker is South Florida I think this article reflects the sentiments and aspirations of many of us who work to support film making in the region. Advances in production technology has changed the game. Hollywood is now a state of mind. We are confident that we can create commercially viable projects right here or anywhere else. We can step through this window of opportunity and create our own market, both at home and abroad. The talent is here and now is the time to put them to work, for the benefit of the individual, and the community at large.

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