The term “Straight to video” may soon be as passé as the video cassette. Youtube could soon be the preffered choice of distribution for young filmmakers and c-movies starring Jean-claude Van damne if a big distribution cannot be secured.
Recently the movie Princess of Nebraska premiered at Youtube. First weekend it scored a view count of 140 000. The plot:
“Princess of Nebraska is about a young girl, under 20 and pregnant, who comes to the states with no background for the cultural revolution. She doesn’t know about Tiananmen Square, and really, she has no idea who she is, so she experiments sexually, and with new media. One woman is running away, the other is searching for something—these are two sides of the same story.”
The movie premiered at Youtube october 17th. Unfortunately only available for viewing in the US. The movie was directed by Wayne Wang director of Smoke and Joy Luck club and a lot of other quality movies. In this interview Wang talks about the movie and the way it was made. Money quotes:
The Cameras: “Princess was actually shot in a new-media way, which I did even before I knew where I would be releasing it. We shot it on a handheld consumer camera, the kind that anyone can buy in the store.”
The Attitude: “I’m always looking for the next thing—the old theatrical model is so boring and breaking down. In the film community, people still think that if you shoot digital, it’s a lesser thing. But it’s an amazing medium, and people should not fear it. Music has gone ahead of us and has been completely transformed, but film is the next business to go that way. I don’t think it’s the only option, but it’s a new option and I’m very intrigued by it.
The cost: “It was really cheap—we shot it really guerilla style. It took us about 15 to 17 days to shoot. It was down and dirty, with maximum eight people on the crew. The two most expensive things were story rights and song at the end. The whole endeavor cost what craft services would cost on a big release.”
Above quotes are interesting because I think this is what we will see more of: Movies made in cheap ways. Thus not being ‘worse’ movies but ‘different’.
On the whole Wayne Wang seem to regard his art and the changing landscape with humble eyes. One would wish that he would form a good example for other film makers.
The movie got a decent write up in The New York Times too.