Dear independent filmmakers, creators, thinkers, entrepreneurs…
“You have a voice. You have your own language, using images or any other skill related to your field. Maybe you even have a vision, or work with a producer or a partner who has one that inspires you.
Well then… nurture your inspiration, face your challenges, be true to yourself, struggle and fight for your ideas as… the world is yours.
You want to express yourself, convey emotions, reach and touch people beyond cultural differences, contribute to other people’s lives in your own way… Beware of businesses who claim to provide you with a shortcut. You can be sure that there is none, and you don’t need any such illusion.
In the last few months and weeks, we’ve seen quite a few examples of large media businesses who pretend to support young independent filmmakers and even launch platforms to “support” them. Historically, the bigger they get and the wider they reach, the less they stay true to their initial goals. They strategize to attract talent and exploit them. Gradually, with the concentration of money and power, they gravitate toward dictating new mainstream standards (creative, social, entrepreneurial,…).
For example, they will tell you: “Films are in 3 acts, or shouldn’t be”. Or anything else relevant to your industry. They will be rich and credible, attractive and attaching top talent to work for them.
In media and content, they will tell you what “people want to see”. They will tell you what you want to see. You may object but… you will probably follow, massively. They are good at what they do.
Because big businesses, by definition, have business aspirations that outweigh their creative aspirations, this is often the path that they will go down.
However, our media landscape needs not and should not be dominated by big business schemes and concentration. There are new paths for independent creators. The Cities of Love platform being one of them, and we are hard at work on that. Collectively, we have a voice that could be as loud as, and more resonant than that of the so-called mainstream. You are media. Stay you. Stay independent. Explore new ways. Share those with each other.
What’s more, be vigilant of the businesses that approach you with a ‘deal’. Be open minded but stay firm to what you believe in, whether it’s the creative choices or the rightful value of your work. Do not put your visions under dangerous conflicts of interest. Do not support those who are proven to be exploitive of you or their customers. On the other hand, educate and partner with those that show good faith, especially for the businesses in developping markets in their formative stage.
The evolution of media and the future of cities will determine mankind’s evolution, and fate.
Be strong. Protect your voice. Watch what you buy, who you work with and what you build on. Each choice you make today, however small, is a vote that shapes our future.
We are media.
Let’s shape change.
One day at a time.”
— Emmanuel Benbihy, founder of Cities of Love