FRANKLIN by Ronald Hawkins http://blogs.hoosiertimes.com/scifi
The fifth annual B Movie Celebration this past weekend showcased once again that entertaining movies can be made without spending mountains of money.
Although there was one major exception, most of the films at the festival shown fall into the low budget category while being high on the entertainment scale. This writer hasn’t been particularly fond of many of the low budget films on the SyFy Channel. The movies in the framework of a B film festival, however, were delightful, mixing whimsy with the occasional surprise that makes viewers jump back in their seats.
Legendary drive-in movie show host Joe Bob Briggs was among the celebrities in attendance. After a showing of their 1988 comic, classic “Killer Klowns from Outer Space,” the Chiodo brothers, a filmmaking and special effects team, answered questions from Briggs and the audience in the Artcraft Theatre. They shared their story of how a film with a limited initial release has grown in popularity over the years.
For aspiring filmmakers, there were opportunities to learn about the challenges facing movie makers.
At a roundtable discussion, filmmaker Fred Olen Ray discussed some of the practical realities of making movies for television networks such as SyFy. He has had several movies on the network, including films shown at the festival.
“SyFy doesn’t give anyone $250,000 and say go out and make a movie,” Ray said. “They might give you $750,000 spread out over three years as long you guarantee you’re going to spend $1.5 million making it.”
The filmmakers said distribution of their creations, not making the movies, is the hardest part of their work.
On the final day of the festival, there was a significant, but delightful departure from the showing of low-budget films.
For just under three hours, festival goers were treated to the epic “The Robot,” reportedly the most expensive movie ever made by Indian Bollywood filmmakers. Bollywood produces more films than the entire U.S. film industry.
This delightful, science fiction/musical/romance film was a bit long, but there was no question where the money was spent on the film. There’s even a choreographed, big cast musical number set on Machu Picchu, the “lost” Incan, mountaintop city in Peru.
Special effects are employed throughout, including marvelous work from Stan Winston Studios, and the stars are two of the biggest in Bollywood: Aishwarya Rai and Rajnikanth.
If you get a chance to see it, don’t miss it. I recommend, however, that you watch it in a couple of sessions because there is so much to it. And, unfortunately, the version I saw wasn’t subtitled and most of the dialog was in Hindi. I was still able to follow most of the plot, demonstrating once again the power of film images alone to tell stories.
“The Robot” demonstrated how a lot of money can be used to create a dazzling entertainment. The other films, however, showed that fun films can be made with a lot less money.