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Boycott Indie Films (Especially 'Sleepwalk with Me'), They Hurt Our Corporate Spectacle Movies

[Update: Mike Birbiglia and Ira Glass have responded.] For too long now independent and low-budget films have been taking attention away from more important Hollywood films. While most of us work more hours on our films than we would ever think possible, highly paid actors and producers are slaving away trying to produce quality, fun-filled, and family-friendly (albeit violent) entertainment. It’s time now to boycott these heartfelt and powerful independent films because they are taking away dozens, maybe even hundreds of screens away from more deserving spectacle films, especially a little film called Sleepwalk with Me, a partially true story from the mind of Mike Birbiglia. If your sense of humor is broken, it’s probably best to look away now…

Thanks to Scott Myers at Go Into The Story for posting this. First, here is the trailer for the film Sleepwalk with Me:

Here is big-time Hollywood mogul Joss Whedon (director of on why we should all boycott the film (and all independent films in general):

Update: Here is the video response from Birbiglia and Glass:

A couple more videos with the producer of the film and Ira Glass himself, the latter video is from Filmmaker Magazine:

Am I slightly jealous that Birbiglia, who happens to be from my hometown and also went to high school with my brother for a short period of time, has gotten distribution for his first feature? Possibly…Yes. Am I also a little jealous that he’s a major successful comedian with a pretty large and faithful fan base? Maybe. Now before your head explodes from the sarcasm, I wanted to share this because I think it’s exceptional that someone who has always been an outcast in Hollywood (and has now finally seen some major success with The Avengers), took the time out of his day to show some love for the little guy.

I personally like independent films because they tend to challenge the viewer more often than big studio films. Everything isn’t always so cut-and-dry, and there is a rawness about these lower-budget films that comes from both a lack of a budget and a love of storytelling. Independent films, regardless of what some might say about quantity over quality in this age of DSLR filmmaking, can do things Hollywood films never will. For that reason alone, we have to continue supporting each other and keep working hard to build a community of people who just want to tell the best stories they can tell.

Link: Sleepwalk with Me

[via GITS]


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  • Gotta love Whedon… GOT TO!

  • Great post! Independent films are ultimately the heart of this industry. Thanks for helping bringing Sleepwalk with Me to light. I wish the filmmakers the best of luck. I can tell a lot of heart went into the writing and direction of the film.

  • Adrian Orozco on 08.14.12 @ 10:05PM

    Thanks for posting. I really want to see this movie! Never heard of it until now. Great stuff.

  • I’m glad that Whedon doesn’t do comedies.

  • dank! geeft weer inspiratie om zelf te blijven maken.

  • An even more impressive Whedonism — the fact that he played a role in this video – – within a month of the Avengers release. Looks like he’s having fun as a real person instead of as a Hollywood person, so props to him!

  • “I personally like independent films because they tend to challenge the viewer more often than big studio films.”

    Great understatement – one of the things I love, along with sarcasm and non-Hollywood films. It’s one of the reasons I moved to the UK.

  • deaconwhite on 08.15.12 @ 3:16PM

    FYI for those interested: It was shot ProRes on an Alexa with Cooke S5 lenses by Adam Beckman. Here’s an interview with him

  • you’re right, films that are spectacle for the sake of spectacle and money-grabbing are bad. And you’re right, independent films like this should be encouraged (Sleepwalk With Me looks like it’ll be a fantastic film, I hope it gets distribution on Australia).

    However, in your sarcasm, you gave the example of The Dark Knight Rises as a ‘spectacle film” – which, as a person who has watched it multiple times, I must disagree with. I think it’s common knowledge now that Nolan has immense creative control right now. This wasn’t a film where spectacle was mandated by Warner Bros. This was Nolan’s film, and one that he wanted to tell, as he chose to tell it.

    I have not seen many blockbuster films with a story as personal and intimate as this film. Yes, there was a lot of spectacle, but within it was a deeply personal and incredibly relatable story. It touched on the most elemental issues raised in the trilogy. It was hardly a film that was nothing more than spectacle.

    And I really do respect Joss Whedon, but I don’t think anyone can argue that The Avengers was a better example of pure spectacle. I admire Whedon’s self-deprecating humour and his unending support of independent films. It is something we should all applaud.

    To be fair, if you want to show an example of spectacle, you should have used one of the Transformers films. I don’t think anyone could possibly dispute that…

    Let’s see even more quality independent films get wider releases due to audience demand. This is a great start.

    • Don’t take any hyperlink as a perfect description of the words that are actually highlighted. The Dark Knight was just the closest Hollywood film in our chronological order that could have even remotely applied.

      Corporate spectacle, or just spectacle, isn’t an inherently bad description. It’s simply referring to large tent-pole films that cost a lot of money to make and to advertise and have plenty of action and explosions. It’s not to say that there cannot be redeeming qualities or these films can’t be good (my taste in movies actually ventures into plenty of these spectacle movies, so I’m not condemning them outright).

  • “from the mind of” hahahaha

  • Most indies films suck and they don’t challenge and audience because in order to do that you have to selfless and empathetic .Most of these films are done by self absorbed people who think they have all the answers to life :yawn: Think about it ,if indie films were better than why isn’t the show being run by the indie side of the business ?