No-budget inspiration: One Thousand Years, a narrative feature
There aren’t very many genuinely no-budget feature length films out there (as opposed to this term sometimes being used, ungenuinely in my opinion, in the industry to describe films made for less than $100,000). There especially aren’t very many that are good. As in, good enough to inspire. I know sometimes we can be inspired by seeing someone make a feature that turns out crappy, because it comforts us to truly feel like “I could probably make something better than that piece of garbage”. But that’s not really inspiration, that’s just unintentional self-exploitation of our own insecurities. BuT u DoNt WaNNA b nO hAtER, DAwG.
So anyways, if I remember any notable no-budget films, I’ll do a lil’ post on them in the hopes that they can lead by example that it very much so is possible to make something good or even great, or maybe at the very least inspiring, with whatever limited resources you have within your grasp.
A dude named Gabriel Fleming made a film called One Thousand Years on miniDV in the early 2000s. He basically made the whole thing as a one-person crew, with occasional help from a boom operator. Hellzyeah, mucho props on that. I somehow heard about it, and the short clips on the site impressed me so much I ordered his self-distributed DVD. Even though it’s lacking technically and formally (as are all no-budget films), this pre-mumblecore gem has some sparkling moments of artistry in it, in addition to a really great overall tone/texture– one that is genuinely auteur. And “genuinely auteur” is the most valuable, and unfortunately most rare, of qualities in narrative cinema. Kinda a bummer no one’s giving this dude 6 or 7 figure budgets to make films now, ten years later. But he did make another inexpensive feature called The Lost Coast which I’ve yet to see, though it’s in my long ass netflix instant que.