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inspiration for novice filmmakers

by Ciaran Poole
inspiration for novice filmmakers by Ciaran Poole
Rather surprisingly I have been unable to find a really good, comprehensive list of inspiring films for newer filmmakers. So I have decided to compile my own. I have tried to focus almost exclusively on low-budget films, whether that’s relative to ‘establishment’ pictures, or films shot on a shoestring. I believe all the chosen films possess an ‘achievable’ quality, applicable to early adventures, and indeed heroics, in filmmaking. Hopefully, the content, approach, attitude, decisions or methodology of each selected film will induce the right kind of creative stirrings. I have seen each film selected, and can vouch for virtually all of… Read more

Rather surprisingly I have been unable to find a really good, comprehensive list of inspiring films for newer filmmakers. So I have decided to compile my own.

I have tried to focus almost exclusively on low-budget films, whether that’s relative to ‘establishment’ pictures, or films shot on a shoestring. I believe all the chosen films possess an ‘achievable’ quality, applicable to early adventures, and indeed heroics, in filmmaking. Hopefully, the content, approach, attitude, decisions or methodology of each selected film will induce the right kind of creative stirrings.

I have seen each film selected, and can vouch for virtually all of them. With some, arguable, exceptions, the focus is on narrative film.

The list is broken down into nine categories useful to the novice filmmaker. Whilst many titles could reasonably end up in a different category, their placement suggests the area in which a film really thrives. The list is also compiled flowingly, with films closer to the next category possessing more of an overlap with the subsequent criterion. E.G. My Dinner With Andre at 33 is a dialogue-based film that also possesses a budgetary resourcefulness, whereas Naked at 76 is dialogue-based but errs more towards the visceral realism of the next category. And so on. Some films just feel right together too. The eagle-eyed may notice little patterns or sub-sections. This is good. I hope it all makes sense. The categories and numbers are as follows:

1. Budgetary resourcefulness and intelligent use of location or production values 1-32
2. Dialogue-focused or ensemble pieces 33-77
3. Possessing a realist sensitivity, or a visceral, verite energy 78-129
4. Smart play with genre dynamics 130-150
5. Bending or breaking the rules and examples of ingenuity 151-182
6. Examples of unusual, impressive ambition 183-200
7. A unique, alternative, or very particular voice 201-231
8. Outside of the system/transgression 232-281
9. About filmmaking 281-300

The easy route in making this list would have been to just select modern, digital micro-budget fare. I have endeavoured to travel around the world, and to include examples across the ages. There are some inevitable, obvious selections as well as more unusual, leftfield choices. Amongst the selections are some great stories, inspiring characters and invaluable demonstrations. 300 has a nice ring to it, but any suggestions are very much welcomed.

I hope this is of some help. And please remember… the New is sexy. The possibilities are endless. There is work to be done. Follow in the footsteps but then make your own trail…

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