I have seen the future of independent film and it’s on YouTube. That’s why I’m bummed out that I can’t attend the event on Friday, April 19th to officially launch the Picture Show, a new YouTube channel that is a partnership between Maker Studios, a cutting-edge, talent-first media company founded by YouTube artists, and Tribeca Enterprises, a diversified global media company based in New York City.
Yes, yes, I understand the whole premise of the Picture Show is to make indie films accessible to people who can’t schlep all the way down from Boston to attend the opening of the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival. But if their launch event is going to make history, then I wish that I could be there live.
The Picture Show’s Backstory
In May 2012, Maker Studios and Tribeca Enterprises announced that they had partnered to create the new YouTube channel. The Picture Show will be a home for web series and short films. It will also act as an aspirational channel where the talent of tomorrow can be discovered. The programming will include collaborations between Maker Studios’ and Tribeca’s talent.
In a press release issued back then, Jane Rosenthal, CEO of Tribeca Enterprises, said, “The Picture Show is an exciting opportunity to incubate new stories, talent and audiences.” She added, “Working with Maker, who is one of the pioneers in the confluence of entertainment and technology, we intend to help artists reach a wider audience.”
In that release, Lisa Donovan, co-founder, Maker Studios, said, “We have tremendous respect for Tribeca’s commitment to talent and their excitement for new platforms. This partnership allows us to take the best of traditional film and television along with new age media to create new opportunities on YouTube for content creators.” She added, “The Picture Show will act as an online community where directors, writers and actors from different platforms can creatively collaborate."
Channel’s First Three Videos
The new YouTube channel for comedy nerds and movie lovers actually kicked off a couple of weeks ago with a special video from YouTube phenoms Mary Doodles and givememotion, who joined forces to offer their take on the History of Film in a Minute.
The video’s description quotes Chuck Palahniuk, Author of Fight Club and Choke, who said, “The first step – especially for young people with energy and drive and talent, but not money – the first step to controlling your world is to control your culture. To model and demonstrate the kind of world you demand to live in. To write the books. Make the music. Shoot the films. Paint the art.”
Utilizing Maker Studios’ roster of YouTube talent and Tribeca’s artists, along with writers and stars from College Humor and Upright Citizens Brigade, Picture Show will specialize in original content that blends the Maker sensibility with Tribeca's cinematic focus.
For example, the first episode in Picture Show’s all-new comedy series, Remix the Movies, has already been published. Remix the Movies is a series that imagines alternative takes on some of Hollywood's most iconic moments. First in the crosshairs: Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park, which returned to the big screen in 3D this month for its 20th anniversary.
The video’s description asks, “What would you say if the raptors were coming for you?”
A week ago, the Picture Show presented its third video, “Cupcake.”
Sharon Badal, Head Short Film Programmer, Tribeca Film Festival, was asked why she chose “Cupcake" for Picture Show Presents. She answered, “I love cupcakes and I love color so this film was right up my alley. I was impressed with the very clever production design as well as the playfulness of the entire storyline. It’s difficult to carry a short film using only voiceover narration, (in this case one with a French accent, no less) but the great performances need no dialog. And that last shot....um....I'll let it speak for itself.”
Future of Independent Film
Based on these first three samples, how can I jump to the conclusion that the Picture Show represents the future of indie films?
There are three key reasons. First, the Picture Show provides artists with a unique platform to expand the audience for their works. Second, it also broadens the access point for consumers to experience independent film and media. And third, the Picture Show opens the doors to writers, directors, actors, and producers who didn’t go to film school.
During his Future of Film talk at Tribeca Cinemas, Alex Karpovsky (“Girls,” “Rubberneck,” “Red Flag,” and “Inside Llewyn Davis”) was asked, “Do you feel like you missed out by not going to film school?” He said, “Instead of paying $200,000, you can have three Heinekens and approach someone you don’t know. It might be a better way to do it -- at least it was for me.”
That’s why I really wish I could attend the official launch of the Picture Show on Friday. I believe the event will usher in the future of indie film … over three Heinekens.