With this era of digital cinema, anyone can tell stories through the art of film. That can be both a good and a bad thing, mainly because of how much competition there can be to get your film seen. This is no exception when it comes to Micro budget films as well. So what I decided to do is try to cut through the clutter a little bit and talk about 3 films I’ve seen recently that were done for $10,000 and under that I liked enough to recommend.
Disclaimer 1: I have zero association with ANY of the films on this list what so ever. I do not personally know any one that worked on these films. At most, this list contains films I found out about due to people responding to my call for micro budget films on filmmaking facebook groups. Having said that, there were some micro budget films I knew about before putting out the call that might be included on this list.
Disclaimer 2: This list WILL NOT contain ANY so bad it’s good movies. So films like Birdemic: Shock and Terror (Which was made for $10,000 according to IMDB) will not be on this list.
Disclaimer 3: I will be linking to the film’s Amazon in this post and they are going to be affiliate. Meaning, if you use the link to check out any of the films I recommend (or go shopping afterwards), I will receive a commission at no cost to you. If you use the link to Rent or Buy the film itself, that filmmaker will still be receiving their royalties from the transaction.
Now that those disclaimers are out of the way, and in no particular order, let’s get started on this list.
Friends Foes and Fireworks (Directed by Sarah Jayne and Ivan Malekin, Budget:$10,000)
This one I’ve been super curious about this one ever since I found out it was shot in one night. (No idea how long post production took, but it must have taken a while.) Got to admit, it turned out a lot better than I expected. I’m not usually into mumble-core films, with the last one I tried to watch was Drinking Buddies. I couldn’t get past the first half hour on that one, but I’m getting off topic. Anyways, minus the camera work (I really didn’t care for how they approached the cinematography for this.), it is really well put together from a technical perspective. Audio is well mixed and although it can be a bit grainy from shooting at higher isos on the camera, it kinda works for the night scenes. A little distracting during the opening scenes when it was outside during the day, but it didn’t ruin it for me. Gotta say though, things really do start picking up once the group heads out to celebrate New Years.
House of Black Wings (Directed by David Schmidt, Budget: $10,000)
After watching the first minute of it, I noticed it had a real different look to it, one that is not seen every day in cinema. Maybe it cause it was shot on mini DV? I don’t know. But this film did something I never expected any film to do. Camera pans that didn’t make me cringe. The audio mixing is solid, cinematography get pretty creative in a number of spots, and the make up effects are great. As I kept watching, I kept getting sucked into it as a whole and something occurred to me: Writer/Director David Schmidt really knows his craft. After checking his imdb page, I know he has only worked on short films since this film’s release, but I look forward to the day he decides to work on another feature.
Layover (Directed by Joshua Caldwell, Budget: $6,000)
So, follow me on this one. A french language film, set in L.A., with a time frame of one night, done for $6,000. I know, it sounds ridiculous when you say it out loud. But seriously, Layover is really good. Not to be mistaken with THE Layover starring Kate Upton (Which after watching the trailer for THAT, I wouldn’t touch it with a 10 foot pole), Layover is very artsy in such a way, you can’t really see it working in any other way than how it turned out. It is so beautiful and there are so many moments where in the awe you can feel your heart slowly breaking with an ending that makes you stop and wonder “Is this really how things should be?”
Making a film can be a very complicated thing. I know from having made a short film and am prepping another. But I congratulate these filmmakers and many others who were able to do something I haven’t been able to do yet, get a feature made.