Today I officially declare myself publicly, though it's taken shape for a while, as a sovereign filmmaker. Major film powers seek certain things: big names (from actors to producers), familiar people (many of the same "in" crowd), marketability and money. I need none of those things to tell entertaining and intellectual stories for an audience of people. As the film world changes we've gone from exclusivity as one system (Hollywood) to adding Independent film, and now I feel a third division of filmmaking coming in to existence. It is not exactly free media but it is more independent than independent film.
In an environment where major festivals are now only concerned with what films attract and draw in audiences to their 'products' and not the art of filmmaking. We are currently in a world where many independent film festivals claim to seek new voices and visions, only to seek out a specific voice (a friendly and trendy one) that caters to certain demographics. Their claims are false. Independent film has changed with the onset of digital technology: big names are able to step away from their day jobs and for 1/2 million dollars they are able to make an 'independent' film (assuming we use the textbook definition as a movie without major studio backing). The money is still coming from the same place, and their names are bound to draw attention.
Some people who doubt have said "it can't be..." but when you really step back, you can see it. Even if a movie with no names and no real large budget can stand toe-to-toe, pound-for-pound with some big time "independent" film in terms of story, acting, editing, sound etc. that does not mean it will be programmed or received in the same way. Even the old: "if it was really that amazing then people would see it" OR "they would have to program it" are FALSE. If it doesn't meet their criteria of 'indie' film they won't go for it.
I have been making films and storytelling since my youth and I have never needed any aide from any outside entity. As I developed as a filmmaker I both learned to create my own voice but I also learned the skills and craft to create my own piece from conceiving to mastering (and I mean almost everything: just check out the Hush's credits). The Hush itself was made with the contributions of many "no-named" talents who I feel really excelled in their craft; they were driven by creativity and a passion for their art not the draw or market to sell a product. We never once felt the need to change what we do in order to cater to anyone. The money spent came directly from my pocket to make sure that the essentials were there. The most inspiring part of it all was that our creativity was never hindered by our lack of resources, budget or star power, even when making an epic supernatural film noir. I have my own studio and resources that I have either built or collected to be a self sufficient film entity. My films and stories can be told with or without any other entities influence and resources.
The field to catch an audience (in a festival and industry sense), is not even. For as many bad films that get their shot in the limelight, there are many more that are exceptional that never get to see the light of day. Thankfully enough the internet and it's media capabilities are in their infancy, and things are shifting for better or worse.
I am a sovereign filmmaker because I can function autonomously within a system that is around and outside of my existence and not rely, be influenced or have to report to that system. Anyone who relies on certain elements of that outside force are 'independent'.
Stay tuned for updates and don't be afraid to stop being a dependently independent filmmaker.