The world of indie filmmaking is always changing, and it can be difficult to predict where exactly the industry is headed.
However, in 2023, it’s clear that new technology — from virtual screenings to increased online distribution to virtual reality — have quickly become the backbone of a new generation of indie filmmakers.
That’s the message from Bardya Ziaian, an entrepreneur and indie filmmaker who started making movies during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Despite the challenges faced by him and his team, Ziaian successfully completed his first indie film project, a comedy called “Super Dicks.”
Now a few years into the industry, Ziaian has his own production company and is better versed in the ways of the indie film space. As an entrepreneur, primarily using financial technology (fintech), Ziaian is well-versed in the art of tracking and predicting trends.
“Changes are inevitable in the indie film space as technology continues to enable new talent to produce better projects,” said Ziaian. “It’s truly an exciting thing to watch.”
Making a great movie is irrelevant if you can’t get it in front of audiences.
Independent filmmakers have long faced the problem of movie theaters monopolized by Hollywood, but the dominance of online viewing has created a whole new avenue toward success. With the proliferation of streaming services and access to social media, it’s easier than ever for indie filmmakers to reach a global audience.
This has also led to the increase of the “digital DIY” distribution model, which allows filmmakers to self-release their films online without having to go through traditional distribution channels.
“You no longer need to have multiple business partners to market your projects – it’s possible to be completely self-sufficient. For many independent filmmakers, this is ideal, because you have complete control over your project,” Ziaian said.
The new landscape of film, forged by technology, has also created new incentives for partnerships between legacy film studios and young upstarts in need of resources.
This emerging trend has blurred the lines between independent and studio filmmaking, leading many rookies to find partnerships with studios and co-productions.
This has opened up new opportunities for more independent filmmakers to access larger budgets and greater distribution networks. However, this also means that the definition of “indie film” is becoming increasingly more fluid.
The rise of VR and AR
The rise of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology is also having a great impact on the world of filmmaking.
While these technologies are still in their infancy today, they have the potential to completely revolutionize the way films are both made and experienced. Indie filmmakers are experimenting with using VR and AR in a variety of ways, ranging from creating fully immersive VR films, to using AR to enhance traditional films.
“I’m very excited to see how these technologies will change the way we experience indie films,” said Ziaian. “I’ll be keeping a close eye on these two technologies in particular.”
New kinds of festivals
Finally, the pandemic has significantly impacted the film industry, with many festivals and film events having been canceled or postponed for the future.
While this has presented challenges for filmmakers, it has also led to the rise of online festivals as well as virtual screenings, which has made it possible for independent films to reach broader audiences even when the traditional distribution channels are not available.
For all these reasons, the future of filmmaking, independent filming including, looks brighter than many outside observers might think. From the increasing availability of digital platforms to advances in technology, there are plenty of opportunities for indie filmmakers to innovate revolutionary work.
“The future of independent filmmaking is no doubt going to bring about new opportunities for filmmakers of all sizes, and that’s something I’m looking forward to,” says Ziaian. “As someone who didn’t start out working in film, knowing more professionals can be born out of these opportunities makes me happy.”