Cinema Libre

| February 5, 2004

Canoga Park, California isn't Hollywood and Cinema Libre isn't your typical film studio. Indeed, this activist-oriented new film studio and pre- and post-production house thinks of itself as the antithesis of the corporate dream machines that roll out reel after reel of block-busting safe bets. Aiming to aid socially concious and politically motivated filmmakers who want to enlighten as well as entertain their audiences, Cinema Libre presents itself as not just as a studio, but as a movement.

According to their website, 'Cinema Libre was created to aid independent filmmakers in producing original, non-conventional films and seeks to unite independent filmmakers/producers by providing a safe haven where they will be able to collaborate, develop, produce, and distribute films without compromising quality, content, style, language, or equity.' Among the group's complaints about the moviemaking industry are: 'studio domination, independents losing autonomy, distributors closing their doors and the consolidation of media outlets'

Parisian-born founder Philippe Diaz told LA Weekly that Cinema Libre plans to make and distribute films that 'take chances and reflect the vision of their creators, not the consensus of a focus groups ...films longer on character than car chases.' Diaz, having produced more than a dozen films himself, knows well the tremendous costs involved in creating and releasing films, as well as the pressure on directors to yield creative freedom to their funders. That's the reason that the initial $1 million used to begin Cinema Libre came from European investors who, as Diaz said, 'don't balk at giving filmmakers artistic control.'

The studio hopes to release five films each year and, using the relatively cheap methods that digital technology affords filmmakers, hopes to keep budgets around the $2 million mark. They intend to use a variety of domestic and international distribution networks to increase artists' likelihood of having their work shown. -- Eric Larson

Go there>>Cinema Libre Studio

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