William Brown is Senior Lecturer in Film at the University of Roehampton, London. He is the author of Supercinema: Film-Philosophy for the Digital Age (Berghahn, 2013) and Non-Cinema: Global Digital Filmmaking, Entanglement, Ethics, Multitude (forthcoming). He is the co-author, with Dina Iordanova and Leshu Torchin, of Moving People, Moving Images: Cinema and Trafficking in the New Europe (St Andrews Film Studies, 2010) and the co-editor, with David Martin-Jones, of Deleuze and Film (Edinburgh University Press, 2012). He has also directed several zero to low-budget feature films, including En Attendant Godard (2009), Afterimages (2010), Common Ground (2012), China: A User’s Manual (2012), Selfie (2014, The New Hope (2015) and Ur: The End of Civilization in 90 Tableaux (2015).
All Films are equal: Zero budget filmmaking (and why i do it)
Discussion about various forms of zero- to low-budget filmmaking from across the globe, including China, the Philippines and the USA – as well as my own filmmaking practice. I shall contend that zero budget filmmaking is, in the contemporary era, enabled by digital technology – and that the technology, in conjunction with the low budget, often leads to formal innovation that makes of this kind of filmmaking a vibrant and important form. Indeed, I shall explain how the aesthetics of the zero budget film also contain a political dimension – in that the films constitute a democratic cinema in which all films are equal. I shall explore how distribution does remain a key issue for such films and filmmakers, in spite of the utopian promise of online distribution and exhibition sites such as YouTube and Vimeo, and in spite of the theoretical support of the festival circuit. Nonetheless, I shall contend that such films constitute the future of cinema and a world in which seven billion cine-poets might bloom.