Cinema Libre

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

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Cinema Libre
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