After several months of bringing together 12 award-winning, independent film directors - the BUREAU has launched an ambitious project, aiming to re-define the relationship between audience and filmmaker.
WHY WE BUILT THE BUREAU
The BUREAU was designed with three simple goals in mind: spark a conversation around the value and importance of short films, provide a sustainable and supportive platform where filmmakers can create honest, personal films without committee, and lastly, to be a bridge between those two worlds, to educate the audience about their important role in the future of independent film.
THE DEVALUING OF SHORT FILMS
More and more we are seeing short films regarded as calling cards. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Oscar-nominated director Don Hertzfeldt noted that filmmakers are, “basically being taught that their work has no value. Their personal projects, even when Oscar-nominated and whatnot, are perceived as just a way to attract some empty corporate advertising gig where they can maybe make enough money to fund another personal project that’s again maybe dropped on YouTube, loses money, and forgotten about.”
There are, of course, exceptions to every rule, but this is the hurdle that filmmakers face at every stage of production currently.
A FILM COLLECTIVE UNLIKE ANY OTHER
In the last several years, crowd, or, in many cases, peer-funding tools, such as Kickstarter, have been used to go around the traditional studios that kept their doors closed to so many independent filmmakers — yet, even now, with filmmakers building audiences in advance that are excited to see and financially support these projects, filmmakers are still finding themselves fighting to get their films through a completely different set of closed doors, in regards to distribution.
The BUREAU is unique in that it addresses both halves of this larger issue at the same time — bringing together an audience that supports filmmakers at even the earliest stages of their work, and does so in a way that comes full-circle.
HOW FAR WE’VE COME
We are still at the earliest stages of building The BUREAU, and for every filmmaker we have reached out to, for every backer who has signed up to become an AGENT, for all the press we’ve received out of the gate, there is an overwhelming excitement around not just the 12 original short films, but as to just how different The BUREAU truly is from anything else thats come before.
But, to make this successful, to really make an lasting impact, The BUREAU needs to reach beyond the film community.
BEYOND THE FILM COMMUNITY
We believe this audience is out there. Platforms like HitRecord, Seed & Spark, Fandor, are indicative of the change that is happening. People want ways to actively be more connected and involved in the films they see and the people behind them.
We are taking it upon ourselves to build this community, one that we so strongly believe in. Choosing not to wait for the top-down changes that might come after years of pressuring, only to meet us half-way in the needs of both filmmakers and audience. Instead:
Together, we can do this ourselves, we can change the way things are.
BECOME AN AMBASSADOR OF CHANGE
If you’re reading this, thank you, we’ve managed to reach you without the kind of financial backing or powerful influence that it often takes for projects to reach a broader audience. How can we reach others? How can we spark a wider conversation with audiences of all ages and background?
Part of the inspiration behind this undertaking grew over years of seeing interviews with filmmakers such as Charlie Kaufman, Spike Jones, Ted Hope, Elijah Wood, people who have one foot planted firmly in the traditional studio system, and the other planted firmly in the world independent film.
These people hold a unique, inside perspective as to what is broken, what can be better - and they have a credibility to understand and speak to how quickly things are moving outside the walls of an otherwise massive, dominating studio system. It is one thing to say, on our own, as the founders of The BUREAU, that this approach to support and distribution will change the future of short filmmaking. Our voice and reach only travel so far, only carry so much influence.
Yet, if we can reach the right people, people that have shown, through their actions and their words, that they also believe in re-defining the relationship between filmmaker and audience, then ..
If you would like to help, you can share any of the following message via Twitter.
Simply click on the buttons below and you'll be taken to Twitter.
Writer / Director / Animator Don Hertzfeldt has become our motivational-speaker of the year here at The BUREAU, no one has better articulated the unacceptable state of indie filmmaking better. If ever we felt lost in designing this project early on, we would turn to his past interviews to remind ourselves that, yes, The BUREAU was doing something important.
Writer / Director Ondi Timoner founded ATD (A Total Disruption), an ongoing documentary series focused on risk-takers, specifically "innovators who use technology to disrupt outdated industries", that in and of itself is the perfect battlecry for what The BUREAU has set out to do. If we are successful in this launch, then by this time next year, we'll have made a real difference in the way short films are valued, the way filmmakers are supported, and the way audiences are connected - all at the same time no less.
Actor / Writer / Director Joseph Gordon Levitt created #HitRecord, one of the most open and collaborative communities of artists, musicians and writers on the internet. The BUREAU is following in the footsteps of HitRecord, taking it upon ourselves to make the changes we want to see in the film industry.
Producer Ted Hope (@tedhope) might be one of the most outspoken proponents of "the independent cinema revolution", with over 70 films to his credit, he is one the most successful indie producers, and has spent more than 10 years working to change the future of film.
Actor / Producer Elijah Wood (@woodelijah) heads up, quiet possibly, one of the most unique production studios in Los Angeles - their approach to which films they helm is 'if another studio might want something to do with it, then they don't'. We love that. They are looking for filmmakers and story ideas that have no other home. It's bold, and it has lead to some wonderfully strange films over the last two years.
Who are we missing?
Let us know who you think would be an amazing ambassador of change.
Ok. Here we go.
P.S. // We can't say thank you enough to Elena Rossini of 'The Illusionists' and 'My Dearest', who was the inspiration behind this open outreach idea.