Why FilmLab Was Developed
The age-old relationship of art and commerce - we've been staring at its ugly face since the birth of art itself. We spend years in conservatories, MFA programs, apprenticeships ad infinitum. We hone our crafts and, ideally, our own perspectives, our own voices. We sacrifice immensely for this. Our social lives, our romantic lives, our familial lives, our financial well-being, and very often... our mental well-being. There are so many of us making this journey, and yet, it's an innately solitary pursuit. To look outwardly with clear eyes, we must, alone, dive inwards... blindly into the unknown abyss in hopes of finding our way back up to the world to share our findings. We dig and dig and dig, and the irony of it all is that the more personal we are as artists, the more universally our discoveries resonate. Specificity is, in fact, what creates universality.
We spend a lifetime furiously swimming upstream to, more often than not, get to the top of a mountain and immediately jump into a different downstream rapid: commercialism. Waiting at the top of this mountain are hundreds of financially driven men and women who drove their cars up the other way. They're waiting for exhausted, wayward artists to pop up from the abyss so they can capitalize. CAPITALIZE. Bears scooping salmon. They don't give a shit about your findings, or your vision. They care about their money. They have a formula and as long as they can hammer you into a square shape, to fit into their square hole, they're happy. They've created the illusion of a path that continues to carry us upwards. In actuality, it does the opposite. That's why the arrival of fame, fortune, "success"; it's always been notoriously anti-climactic.
And once they've herded us to their intended destination, it's immensely difficult to find our way back to where we came from. We lose touch with why we started doing, what we're doing, in the first place. Did we spend years sharpening our tools to then painstakingly build someone else's poorly crafted vision? Are we here to be complicit in creating content that lulls people into stupors, or to wake them up, to inspire, to breathe life into? The reality is that we all take these jobs because we have bills to pay, mouths to feed, lifestyles to maintain, but this doesn't mean that we need to give up on creating art that is connected to the magic that originally drove us to this field.
FilmLab was formed in recognition of all the deserving artists who have lost their way in a jarring, capitalistic world. Our participants and founders have been series regulars on primetime and cable shows, cinematographers of multi-season series and features at Sundance, content creators and performers on Broadway, not-for-profit builders, CFOs of major financial institutions, exhibition holders at The Whitney museum, gear rental house owners, attorneys, and talent managers. We've collaborated with many over the last year whose talent shines more in reality, than it does on a piece of paper - on a resume: non-union crew who deserve a leg up, actors who don't fit perfect archetypes, ACs who have cinematographic brilliance dormant, and DPs who have director's vision. in 2017, our first year of operation, we raised our first round of seed money, purchased industry-standard gear, got an office in Soho, attained official 501-C3 not-for-profit status, and incubated a wonderfully wide array of artistic endeavors. Thanks for reading. For more info on our latest projects, please click here.