“SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN” | director, Malik Bendjelloul
[PREMIERE SCREENING: Thursday, January 19 9:30 pm –Library Center Theatre, Park City]
I’m a filmmaker because it’s one of very few activities I know of that can completely absorb me. Both when shooting and editing, it’s a pure creative state of mind where I can forget everything else—sometimes even that I’m hungry—because I’m so absorbed. That’s why I do this—it’s a job that you can never grew tired of. Every day there are new creative challenges to overcome and new ideas to come up with in order to do that. You’re constantly moving. I like that.
The choice to use film for this story wasn’t hard – it’s a story that consists half of visual images and half of music so film was clearly the most powerful way to tell it.
Film is more of an option than ever today for anybody with a story to tell. Students presently graduating from film school will be part of the first generation of filmmakers for whom moviemaking can be a thoroughly pleasurable experience. For so many years the cost of the film stock alone was $3000 per hour. Funding was so arduous and complicated that you were already exhausted on the first day of shooting. This was not a situation that nurtured creativity – or courage. You couldn’t afford to screw it up, and so you stuck to familiar routes. Filmmakers would look enviously at writers and painters who didn’t need anything more than pencil and paper to create.
I think we will soon see a new golden age in filmmaking. People will be able to make movies with fewer and fewer compromises. When David Lynch decided to make Inland Empire with a low-res video camera six years ago, it was in some ways disheartening – proof that financing is difficult even for one of the world’s greatest filmmakers. Lynch chose to compromise the technical quality, in exchange for pulling free from controlling bureaucracy. Nowadays, he wouldn’t need to compromise.
A secondhand full HD camera today is $3000. As recently as five years ago, when I started making this film, the lamps I used cost $4,500 each. The ones I used on the most recent shots were $45 – and the quality was the same. The lower cost finally offers filmmakers the chance to operate almost as independently as painters, writers or musicians. It’s going to be beautiful, when every filmmaker is able to make exactly the film he or she intended to. Those are the only films that are ever really interesting.