No-budget film

A no-budget film is a film made with very little or no money. Actors and technicians are often employed in these films without remuneration. A no-budget film is typically made at the beginning of a filmmaker's career, with the intention of either exploring creative ideas, testing ones filmmaking abilities, or for use as a professional "calling card" when seeking creative employment. No-budget films are commonly submitted to film festivals, the intention being to raise wide-spread interest in the film.

No-budget films are financed out-of-pocket by the director, who typically takes on multiple roles, else uses a crew of volunteers. Where financing is unavailable, the production is financed out of this person's own pocket.


Satyajit Ray's debut film, Pather Panchali (1955),[1] was produced on a budget of 1.5 lakh (US$2,200).[2] Along with the other films in Ray's The Apu Trilogy, it is frequently listed among the greatest films of all time.[3][4][5][6] In 1960, Ron Rice released The Flower Thief, starring Taylor Mead, to a positive reception. The film was produced for less than $1000[7] using black-and-white 16mm 50' film cartridges left over from aerial gunnery equipment used during World War II.[8] In the early 1960s, filmmaker Jack Smith used discarded color-reversal film stock to film Flaming Creatures.[9] John Waters' 1964 black-and-white film Hag in a Black Leather Jacket reportedly cost $30 to make, though Waters has said that he stole the film stock.[10] Craig Baldwin's Flick Skin is entirely made from discarded film, or "found footage", retrieved from a projectionist's booth. [11] The No Wave Cinema movement of the late 1970s, represented by filmmakers such as Vivienne Dick, produced many notable no-budget films shot on Super 8,[12] such as Beauty Becomes The Beast. In 1993, Sarah Jacobson's first film, I Was a Teenage Serial Killer, was made with "one camera, one tape recorder, one mic and, like, four lights".[13] G.B. Jones took 13 years to film, direct and edit on Super 8mm the feature film The Lollipop Generation (2008), which was filmed whenever she could afford to buy a roll of film.[14] In 2012, first-time director Shawn Holmes shot his debut film Memory Lane with non-professional actors and a budget of less than $300.[15] In the same year, Goodbye Promise became the first film distributed online directly to its audience via a crowdfunding platform.[16] was released. The 2013 sci-fi Hyperfutura by James O'Brien employed found footage married to a live action narrative to create a dystopian future on an inventive no-budget scale.[17]

Footage for no-budget films is often shot on location, either with permission, or without permission (i.e. "guerrilla filmmaking"), using sites such as the home of the filmmaker or his friends, in the backyard or local neighborhood. No-budget films have often been made in the past using Super 8 mm film or video, but recent films have taken advantage of low-cost digital cameras and editing programs. A notable example of this could be found in the work of ASS Studios, a no-budget film studio founded in 2011 by Courtney Fathom Sell and Jen Miller on the Lower East Side of New York City.[18][19]

No-budget films can be distributed at film festivals that focus on independent and experimental films,[20] such as the Flicker Film Festival[21] and No Budget Film Festival[22] in Los Angeles, The 8 Fest in Toronto, and the Trasharama A-Go-Go festival in Australia.[23] The Polish brothers distributed their no-budget film For Lovers Only on iTunes and relied on social media to publicize it.[24]

Examples of well-received no-budget films are Kevin Smith's Clerks,[25] Christopher Nolan's Following, [26] Jafar Panahi's Taxi, [27], Shane Carruth's Primer, and Robert Rodriguez's El Mariachi.

See also


  1. ^ Robinson, Andrew (2003), Satyajit Ray: The Inner Eye: The Biography of a Master Film-Maker, I. B. Tauris, p. 77, ISBN 1-86064-965-3
  2. ^ Pradip Biswas (September 16, 2005). "50 years of Pather Panchali". Screen Weekly. Archived from the original on June 2, 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-23.
  3. ^ "The Sight & Sound Top Ten Poll: 1992". Sight & Sound. British Film Institute. Archived from the original on 2012-03-09. Retrieved 2008-05-20.
  4. ^ "Take One: The First Annual Village Voice Film Critics' Poll". The Village Voice. 1999. Archived from the original on 2007-08-26. Retrieved 2006-07-27.
  5. ^ The Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made By THE FILM CRITICS OF THE NEW YORK TIMES, New York Times, 2002.
  6. ^ "All-time 100 Movies". Time. Time Inc. 2005-02-12. Retrieved 2008-05-19.
  7. ^ Dixon, Wheeler Winston, "Performativity in 1960s Experimental Film", Film Criticism Vol 23, 1998
  8. ^ Dixon, Wheeler Winston, "The Exploding Eye" Archived 2006-12-19 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Strother, Annie (2011-11-23). "MOMA Pays Homage to Experimental Filmmaker Jack Smith". PBS. Retrieved 2014-11-15.
  10. ^ Grow, Kory (2014-09-05). "John Waters Looks Back: 'I Was Worse Than Ed Wood'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2014-11-15.
  11. ^ Media Meltdown·Senses of Cinema
  12. ^ "From No Wave To National Cinema", Lux
  13. ^ Sinagra, Laura, "Grrrl, Interrupted", City Lights, 2004
  14. ^ Liss, Sarah, "The Lollipop Generation", Eye Weekly, 2 Apr, 2008 Archived 2008-05-17 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ Courtney, Hannah. "Ferry filmmaker's 'Memory Lane' hits U.S." Times Leader Online. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  16. ^ "David Branin & Karen Worden from Film Courage Release Feature 'Goodbye Promise' for $1 on IndieGoGo". No Film School.
  17. ^ Chatelin, Bruno. Cannes Dailies. [1]
  18. ^ [2]
  19. ^ [3]
  20. ^ Nelms, Ian; Nelms, Eshom (2013-05-29). "Film Festivals: A Firsthand Account From the Front Lines of 21st-Century 'DIY' Distribution". The Wrap. Retrieved 2014-11-15.
  21. ^ Corrigan, Mike (2004-09-16). "Fall Arts Film - Flicker Fest". The Pacific Northwest Inlander. Retrieved 2014-11-15.
  22. ^ King, Susan (2013-09-25). "No Budget Film Festival, in 4th year, to feature screenings, panels". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014-11-15.
  23. ^ [4]
  24. ^ Macaulay, Scott (2011-07-13). "Polish Brothers Release Successful No-Budget Movie On iTunes". Filmmaker. Retrieved 2014-11-15.
  25. ^ Kelly, Christopher (2014-09-29). "Kevin Smith says 'Clerks III' is finally a go". Retrieved 2014-11-15.
  26. ^ Andrew, Geoff (2002-08-27). "Christopher Nolan". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-11-15.
  27. ^ Sexton, David (2015-02-17). "David Sexton: How to make a great film with no money or professional actors". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 2015-12-03.

External links

Atlantic Rhapsody

Atlantic Rhapsody is a 1989 Faroese documentary film by Katrin Ottarsdóttir. The original Faroese title is Atlantic Rhapsody - 52 myndir úr Tórshavn, where the second part means "52 pictures from Tórshavn". The film presents a day in the life of some inhabitants of Tórshavn, the capital of the Faroe Islands. The narrative is structured as a relay race, in which a person, a thing or something out of a scene brings the audience into another scene with new people and events. It is the first ever Faroese feature-length film.

Cheerleader Ninjas

Cheerleader Ninjas is a 2002 camp/action film directed by Kevin Campbell, starring actress Kira Reed, and from production company Control Track Productions. It predates the similarly-named George Takei comedic vehicle Ninja Cheerleaders. In the film, the internet must be rescued from the control of a religious fanaticism group by four cheerleader ninjutsu students and their geek allies. The movie was filmed at Englewood High School.

Die Alive

Die Alive is a Canadian feature film directed by JF Leduc. It was shot on DV in 2000 and released on DVD in 2001.

Die Alive is a comedy that tells the story of a no-budget film crew attempting to shoot a horror film in an abandoned hospital that turns out to be really haunted.

According to director JF Leduc, it was originally intended to shoot the "movie-in-the-movie" that the characters are shooting over a three-week period. Just 24 hours before the "get go", it was announced that they could no longer get the hospital for the three weeks they had planned, but that they could still use it for free for the weekend.The film was improvised over the weekend and cost about US$300 to produce (all costs included). The film was awarded a Guinness World Record as "Least Expensive Feature Film" ever made. It premiered at the Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal, was projected theatrically in Canada and Argentina, was shown to a pay-per-view audience on and later released on DVD.

This record was printed in the 2005 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records.

Hag in a Black Leather Jacket

Hag in a Black Leather Jacket (1964) is a John Waters short film made in Baltimore, Maryland, starring Mona Montgomery and Mary Vivian Pearce.

Hamilton, New Zealand

Hamilton (Māori: Kirikiriroa) is a city in the North Island of New Zealand. It is the seat and most populous city of the Waikato region, with a territorial population of 169,300, the country's fourth most-populous city. Encompassing a land area of about 110 km2 (42 sq mi) on the banks of the Waikato River, Hamilton is part of the wider Hamilton Urban Area, which also encompasses the nearby towns of Ngaruawahia, Te Awamutu and Cambridge.

The area now covered by the city was originally the site of several Māori villages, including Kirikiriroa, from which the city takes its Māori name. By the time English settlers arrived, most of these villages, which sat beside the Waikato River, were abandoned as a result of the Invasion of Waikato, Waikato Wars and the unjust land confiscation (Raupatu) by the Crown under the New Zealand Settlements Act 1863. The new English settlement was renamed Hamilton after Captain John Fane Charles Hamilton, the commander of HMS Esk, who was killed in the Battle of Gate Pā, Tauranga.Initially an agricultural service centre, Hamilton now has a diverse economy and is the third fastest growing urban area in New Zealand, behind Pukekohe and Auckland. Hamilton Gardens is the region's most popular tourist attraction. Education and research and development play an important part in Hamilton's economy, as the city is home to approximately 40,000 tertiary students and 1,000 PhD-qualified scientists.

Heathen (film)

Heathen is a 2009 British thriller film directed by Ross Shepherd. It tells the story of William Hunt, a reclusive railway worker, who suddenly finds himself on the trail of his missing brother, when he is sent mysterious clues relating to his disappearance. Shot in the city of Brighton, Heathen is a no budget film.

I Was a Teenage Serial Killer

I Was a Teenage Serial Killer is an underground no budget film written and directed by "The Queen of Underground Film", Sarah Jacobson. It is a short black-and-white film of a 19-year-old girl who is sick of sexist men and kills them. It was Jacobson's first film and it was released through her own company, Station Wagon Productions. She made the film under the guidance of her teacher, George Kuchar. The film featured songs by Heavens to Betsy.

Ed Halter, writing in the Village Voice, considered it "a key film of that decade's angrily subversive underground cinema."

Independent film

An independent film, independent movie, indie film or indie movie, is a feature film or short film that is produced outside the major film studio system, in addition to being produced and distributed by independent entertainment companies. Independent films are sometimes distinguishable by their content and style and the way in which the filmmakers' personal artistic vision is realized. Usually, but not always, independent films are made with considerably lower budgets than major studio films.Generally, the marketing of independent films is characterized by limited release, but can also have major marketing campaigns and a wide release. Independent films are often screened at local, national, or international film festivals before distribution (theatrical or retail release). An independent film production can rival a mainstream film production if it has the necessary funding and distribution.

Independent video game development

Independent video game development, or indie game development, is the video game development process of creating indie games; these are video games, commonly created by individual or small teams of video game developers and usually without significant financial support of a video game publisher or other outside source. These games may take years to be built from the ground up or can be completed in a matter of days or even hours depending on complexity, participants, and design goal.

Driven by digital distribution, the concept of independent video game development has spawned an "indie" movement. The increase in popularity of independent games has allowed increased distribution on popular gaming platforms such as the PlayStation Network, Nintendo eShop, Xbox Live and Steam.

João Costa Menezes

João Costa Menezes is a London-based Portuguese film actor, film producer and film director.

After a degree in Law by the University of Coimbra and three years working as a lawyer in Portugal, João decided to move to London in 1998, to follow an acting career. He got his first acting job in 1999, in the BBC series Sunburn, playing Luis. After that, he appeared in series such as Gormenghast and Jonathan Creek.

In London, he took a film course at the London Film School and a few workshops at Raindance .

His first short film as a director, actor and producer Zero, was shot in London in 2000. It was awarded a special prize at the Huesca Short Film Festival, Spain.

In 2001 he directed his first feature film, Akasha, a no-budget film shot in video, distributed in Russia, nominated for the Méliès d'Argent 2001. It was premiered in the United States of America at the Atlanta Film Festival.

In 2004 he directed his first music video Melancholic Ballad (for the Left Lovers), for The Fingertips, which became number 1 at Sic Radical and got the Best Music Video Award at the Arouca Film Festival.

João Got his Unarmed & Rapier and Dagger certification by the British Academy of Stage and Screen Combat in June 2005. He has done stunts in Kiss Kiss (Bang Bang) and played a Roman Soldier in Gladiator.

In 2007 he directed the short film Remember My Dream, with the English model Jakki Degg.

In 2008 he directed Mulheres, Bah!, premiered at the Fantasporto Film Festival and presented at the 2008 Cannes Short Film Corner, a short film with London's West End singer and actress Madalena Alberto.

Menezes does also voice-over, having done the voice of a fly in Serial Killer and the 2007 Portugal campaign for Apple Inc.

In addition to acting and filmmaking, João Costa Menezes is also a qualified tennis instructor by the United States Professional Tennis Registry.

Low-budget film

A low-budget film or low-budget movie is a motion picture shot with little to no funding from a major film studio or private investor. Many independent films are made on low budgets, but films made on the mainstream circuit with inexperienced or unknown filmmakers can also have low budgets. Many young or first time filmmakers shoot low-budget films to prove their talent before doing bigger productions. Many low-budget films that do not gain some form of attention or acclaim are never released in theatres and are often sent straight to retail because of its lack of marketability, look, story, or premise. There is no precise number to define a low budget production, and it is relative to both genre and country. What might be a low-budget film in one country may be a big budget in another. Modern-day young filmmakers rely on film festivals for pre promotion. They use this to gain acclaim and attention for their films, which often leads to a limited release in theatres. Film that acquire a cult following may be given a wide release. Low-budget films can be either professional productions or amateur. They are either shot using professional or consumer equipment.

Some genres are more conducive to low-budget filmmaking than others. Horror films are a very popular genre for low-budget directorial debuts. Jeremy Gardner, director of The Battery says that horror fans are more attracted to how the films affect them than seeing movie stars. This allows horror films to focus more on provoking a reaction than on expensive casting choices. Thriller films are also a popular choice for low-budget films, as they focus on narrative. Science fiction films, which were once the domain of B movies, frequently require a big budget to accommodate their special effects, but low-cost do-it-yourself computer-generated imagery can make them affordable, especially when they focus on story and characterization. Plot devices like shooting as found footage can lower production costs, and scripts that rely on extended dialogue, such as Reservoir Dogs or Sex, Lies, and Videotape, can entertain audiences without many sets.The money flow in filmmaking is a unique system because of the uncertainty of demand. The makers of the film do not know how well the film they release will be received. They may predict a film will do very well and pay back the cost of production, but only get a portion back. Or the opposite may happen where a project that few think will go far can bring in more profit than imaginable. A big gambling variable that is also involved is the use of stars. Frequently stars are brought on to a project to gain the film publicity and fame. This process can be profitable, but it is not a foolproof mechanism to successful funding. Well-known actors may join a low-budget film for a portion of the gross.

Mika Kaurismäki

Mika Juhani Kaurismäki (Finnish: [ˈmikɑ ˈkɑurismæki]; born 21 September 1955) is a Finnish film director.

Taxi (2015 film)

Taxi (full title Jafar Panahi's Taxi; Persian: تاکسی‎), also known as Taxi Tehran, is a 2015 Iranian docufiction starring and directed by Jafar Panahi. The film premiered in competition at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival where it won the Golden Bear and the FIPRESCI Prize. As of 2010, Panahi has been banned from making films and travelling for 20 years, so his niece Hana Saeidi, who also appears in the film, collected the award on his behalf.

Territoriu de bandolerus

Territoriu de bandolerus (Extremaduran for Territory of Bandits) is a Extremaduran film directed by Néstor del Barco and José Ignacio Cobos and produced by Pilar Cobos and Eduardo Gómez from the cultural association El Duendi. It is the first film made entirely in Extremaduran language (Serradilla dialect). It tells the story of the bandit El Cabrerín. It is based on actual events of the nineteenth century.

Filming is located in the village of Serradilla, province of Cáceres and its surroundings, including the Monfragüe National Park. Both cast and crew consisted of Serradilla locals. This movie has the distinction of starting as a no budget film, with members of the Serradilla community contributing resources in a collective effort.The film premiered on August 17, 2013 in Serradilla, with over 3000 attendees (the village census records 1729 inhabitants).

The Gamblers (2007 film)

The Gamblers (German: Die Spieler) is a 2007 German no budget film, and the film with the lowest budget (budget: 2000 €/ shooting time: 10 days) that was ever in the competition of an "A" Film Festival.

The film is based on, but not always loyal to, the novel The Gambler by Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky, although the film follows more a love story plot than a gambling addiction plot.

The Yo-Yo Gang

The Yo-Yo Gang is a 1992 Canadian 'exploitation film' about girl gangs. Directed by G.B. Jones, the thirty-minute 'no budget film' follows the exploits of two girl gangs, the "Yo-Yo Gang" and the "Skateboard Bitches", as a gangwar erupts between them. The tag line for the film reads: "Gang girls frequently out-curse, out-fight and out-sex every boys' gang around".

In between fighting, the film features scenes of the girls getting tattooed, piercing each other's ears, beating up boys, playing arcade games, riding scooters and talking on the phone.

The film was made using Super 8mm film format. It was shot in Toronto, Ontario, and San Francisco, California. Posters and stills from the film are featured in the book named after the director, G.B. Jones

The theme song, "Yo-Yo" is performed by Fifth Column and the film also features songs by Human Ashtrays and by Anti-Scrunti Faction, seen performing their song "Frat Boy". The soundtrack, including these bands and songs, was a cassette tape only release on Bitch Nation Tapes.

The film stars a number of notable musicians, including both members of Anti-Scrunti Faction, Leslie Mah, also of Tribe 8, and Tracie Thomas; Donna Dresch of Team Dresch; and Caroline Azar, Beverly Breckenridge, and Anita Smith, all Fifth Column members.

The cover of the Fifth Column album 36-C features a still shot of Jena von Brücker from the film. The cover of the Fifth Column 7 " single, "All Women Are Bitches", features a still shot of Anita Smith from the film, and the flipside, "Donna", features a still shot of Donna Dresch from the film.

The Yo-Yo Gang has played at film festivals and galleries around the world as well as at universities and colleges, and continues to be screened today.

Previously, G.B. Jones had directed the short film The Troublemakers, released in 1990. After The Yo-Yo Gang, she directed the feature film The Lollipop Generation, released in 2008.

The movie has been released on VHS but not on DVD or Blu-Ray.

UFO Abduction (film)

UFO Abduction is a 1989 found footage/thriller film.

Underground film

An underground film is a film that is out of the mainstream either in its style, genre, or financing.

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