'For Lovers Only' Demonstrates No-Budget Films Can Become Hits in the Internet Age

'For Lovers Only' Demonstrates No-Budget Films Can Become Hits in the Internet Age

Jul 13, 2011

As the technology to make films becomes ever cheaper, and avenues of distribution for indie projects expands, it seems likely that movie fans will encounter an increasing number of movies made well outside the Hollywood system. We’ve seen under-the-radar hits in recent years – from Robert Rodriguez’s El Mariachi to The Blair Witch Project on to recent sensation Paranormal Activity – but those films still eventually had studio involvement before they hit it big. Such is not the case with For Lovers Only.

The film, which was helmed by twin filmmakers Michael and Mark Polish, had a production budget of $0 and an advertising budget to match. The title, which is a black- and-white tale of old lovers reconnecting in Paris, was shot with two actors (one was Castle’s Stana Katic, the other Mark Polish) and on a Canon EOS 5D Mark II still camera. Thanks to Twitter and word of mouth, the film currently sits in the number 2 slot in the iTunes Romance category, the four slot on the indie films chart, and is in the top 100 in rentals on the mega site. Oh, and it’s made $200,000 so far.

While the Polish brothers talk of the film as a way to “get back to the real energy of filmmaking,” this isn’t your father’s version of the movie business. The filmmakers’ experiment revolved around the idea of shooting a film for nothing and then letting an audience find it through the magic of new media. So far, it’s been a complete success. Star Stana Katic’s tweets about the project ignited a firestorm amongst her fanbase – who then spread word far and wide across the Internet.

In some ways, it’s a bit like the path Kevin Smith took with his latest project, Red State. As Hollywood budgets continue to spiral upward (spending a hundred million on a film isn’t a particularly big deal these days…), many filmmakers are looking for ways to get their products into the marketplace while cutting out the middle man at the studio. Thanks to sites like iTunes, it’s entirely possible to make a film with your camcorder, edit it on your computer, and have it viewable by millions of users without having your last name be Spielberg.

Of course, in For Lovers Only case, it doesn’t hurt to have a star with a following to promote the finished product online – nor does it hurt when the filmmakers in question have helmed mainstream Hollywood projects and clearly have a talent when it comes to filmmaking. That being said, earning $200,000 for a project that cost essentially nothing to make is an impressive feat regardless of how one accomplishes it. Aspiring filmmakers take note – breaking into the business still isn’t easy, but the proliferation of new technology at the average person’s disposal makes it far easier to get your work noticed. Movies like For Lovers Only serve as potent reminders that anyone with talent and ambition can get their work out there and find an audience.

[via The Wrap]

for lovers only... from Polish Brothers on Vimeo.

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