This day and age, being a creator of ANY kind of content, be it music, words, film, etc etc etc…is a hard road to travel. We live in a day and age where things can be gotten and accessed at the click of a button, quite often illegally and even more often with the artists who created the work not getting to see a dime of it.
It’s a cavalier attitude that has perforated throughout the “On Demand” era and generation that we live in and it sucks the emotional drive and will out of some talented artists who struggle to make ends meet on the best of days doing what they love.
Enter independent writer/director Gabriel Carrer and his latest film The Demolisher.
Full disclosure, he’s a personal friend and the kind you meet covering film in such a central hub for cinema like Toronto. I’ll admit that I wasn’t in love with his first feature effort In The House of Flies but as what happens pretty often, you get talked into watching something to help out a friend on the hopes you might actually want to say something positive. It’s always a tough position for me, but through years of experience I have discovered that filmmakers (Especially independent ones) just want someone they know will be honest with them, and I pride myself as a film critic to at least try and do exactly that, for better or for worse. So in the wake of its world premiere at the Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal that I attended and covered last year, I fired up The Demolisher.
Most of these movies that you watch as a “favor” do admittedly end up being a little cringe worthy, so I’ll admit that I was overjoyed to see something that any critic worth their salt is dying to see every time they watch a movie…something worth supporting.
You can read our review right here…
But needless to say that this was a bold piece of filmmaking that managed to transcend and straddle multiple genres without having to (or being able to) get any Telefilm or government grant money. This was the definition of pure independent cinema where a bunch of talented artists got together, checked every couch cushion they could and ran up their own personal debts in order to get a story that they simply HAD to tell out to the universe.
With positive write-ups all across the globe and sell out premiere’s at film festival that rank from incredibly important to small and insignificant…audiences loved this movie. For Carrer and company (via his production company Latefox Pictures) the primary goal had been achieved.
Now even in a city like Toronto, not every movie that gets made gets to have a theatrical run and Carrer and his team are savvy enough businessmen to understand the global markets and how to get something sold in order to get a little money back in their pockets…if only to make the next one.
The Demolisher had a release overseas on Blu-Ray, was just released in the US on DVD/BD & VOD with a Canadian release imminent. It’s more than most independent filmmakers can ever hope for, but they hustled their respective asses off and earned it…but here’s the catch and it’s one anyone in the creative arts deals with. It got pirated a fair bit and to be honest that’s not even the worst kick in the pants for Carrer out of all of this.
He has had friends and acquaintances basically say to his face…”Oh, I’ll have to torrent that one day and check it out.”
When did it become OK to say this? When did it become OK to basically rob and take money out of the mouths of independent artists (who make no mistake are using this money to do extravagant shit like…eat, have a roof over their heads, clothes on their backs) not bottles of Moet, or $500 dollar bottles of wine…the most ‘baller’ these guys get is with Steam Whistle and Jim Bean. Trust me, I’ve been there first hand.
And yeah, we all know that things just aren’t what they used to be with the proliferation of streaming services like Netflix and an increasingly competitive market place that is flooding the consumer with so many films and TV shows, they don’t know which way is up. However that doesn’t mean that these things are worth nothing.
Enter Skullation-60, to his credit Carrer couldn’t be silent anymore and said it all better than I could have in this statement below.
Statement by director Gabriel Carrer:
“The internet has been my greatest asset to enjoy and produce creative content for the world to see. The internet has also been a powerful tool in the hands of unknown enemies and digital thieves. Some of my most recent films have been leaked, torrented and exploited by unknown individuals across the world, which in return causes much frustration and financial decay. These enemies of mine are a force that cannot be stopped and most likely will never decrease in numbers, but they can be educated and at least be enlightened to step away from the glowing screens of their cyber comforts, and physically place themselves in a position where they can support the art of filmmakers; regardless of budget, independence or studio blessed. I have taken sixty minutes of my life to stare down the lens of a camera, uncut and unedited to illustrate that in a fraction of that time, someone could put their shoes on, get in a car, bus or bike and visit any sort of store in the real world to physically purchase and/or support cinema. It’s the year 2016, we are all aware of Netflix, iTunes and other streaming services or know someone that could point us in that direction of accessibility. Most likely the film that illegal downloaders wish to watch is on located there. For dollars you can make this happen, and the potential downloader would end up supporting the very artist(s) that thrive on this support system to make a living. Everyone on a film needs to make a living, not just the directors and actors, but the carpenters, the sound recordists, the visual FX artists, the caterers and every single person who bleeds hours into their days in making a film come to life. This video I created is my love note to all of you out there who continue to support illegal downloading of not just film, but music and visual art. Would you go and steal from me if I was staring right at you? Would you come to my house and steal my possessions/property? I can assure you, I would most definitely put up a fight, a fight to the death leaving only a skeletal wreck behind. Welcome to Skullaton-60. Support the arts and support the power of film with sustainable actions.”
We all want to support the arts, but it will always take money to make this world go around to find some alternative and truly bold expressions of art…otherwise we’ll all be lining up for yet another generic piece of entertainment that has been recycled through multiplexes time and time again…and there’s only so many of those movies guys like me can sit through J
Don’t illegally download movies, music, art or anything in-between…I know it’s easy, but it’s also really fucking shitty of us.