I'm not really sure why you feel like you've gone about this in the wrong way, it sounds like you've done it all right. You had an interest, you thought about it and researched it, then you got out your camera and put it all on video. Those are all the major steps. Sure, you could have had your subjects sign releases, or the pubs sign off on your filming there...but that you generally learn as you deal with entering into festivals or attaining distribution deals.
I think you're probably some distance from that, and the best advice I could give you at this point is to use the internet as your training ground. Post it on vimeo, get eyes on it. If it's any good, you'll know. If it's not, people will tell you why. Comment sections are very active both here and on Vimeo, you'll get plenty of feedback.
Then, make the next one. Change things up, bump up your production value as you grow, most importantly focus on that story. Tighten it up, do it again. And again. Post it all online as you go, and eventually you'll get good enough that festivals will be looking for you and not the other way around.
Adam, is there anything you recommend we see that is less biased and emotionally-driven?
Hey don't be discouraged, Johnny, there's plenty of room in the theater for mouth-breathers! Don't know what you're doing in a filmmaking forum, though. This heres for thinkin' folk.
If you don't want to accept the consequences of your everyday choices off the film set, fine. Do what you want. But on set, buddy, you represent more than just your outmoded set of opinions and standards: you're making content that will shape the worldview of every single person who sits down in front of it. Whether you want to acknowledge it or not, there are people in the theater on either side of you watching that thriller and thinking to themselves "Yes! That is exactly the sort of high-intensity, kick-ass-take-no-prisoners-from-them-damn-foreigners Liam Neeson styled mentality we need in the White House leading this country".
And those people, John, deserve to have more thoughtful minds working behind the camera telling stories in interesting, sure, but also RESPECTFUL ways.
We can learn a lot from film, or we can learn nothing at all.
And lastly, bro, if you're tired of what you see out there, stop complaining about it online and go make something different.
Side-stepping your remark that the seminal films in history are "ice-cream"...jesus man we are really on different pages here aren't we...
Let's try to shore up this divide a bit.
John, I spent four years of my life in theory driven film school where we considered everything made, EVERYTHING MADE, to be a social, cultural and political text. From reality television shows like The Simple Life and Big Brother to even the most mind-numbing of summer blockbusters like the Avengers or Jack Reacher films (things I would consider closer to the "ice-cream" of the American film cannon) - evrything can and probably should be interpreted through a social, cultural or political lens. If you aren't
Here's the reason: whether you like it or not, everything is political. A trip to the grocery store is an exercise in your democratic right to vote. Which company's employment policies do you support? Will you endorse Nestle's long history of human rights abuses throughout West Africa, or will you choose Hershey's? (the answer should be neither. Both use child laborers)
And at this point, not being aware of something isn't an excuse. As a top politician recently said of the Iraq War, if you said it wasn't about the oil you were either in on the con, or you were being conned. It's one of the two.
So you see from my point, John, I think it's less upon me to defend the notion that all films are political than for you to name one that isn't.
And I'd be very careful with that one, if I were you, I've spent a lot of time reading wayyyyy too deep into films and stories in general.
But honestly, this is my major problem with your perspective: it's just kind of boring. Why would you want to go through life thinking that everything is exactly what it claims to be? I see that as adorable, almost a childlike sense of innocence, the thought that a can of tuna magically appears on the shelf is a wonderful thought. But of course we know that isn't true, even if we know nothing about the particulars of the fishing industry we are aware of its presence.
We're filmmakers, not fisherman, and the industry behind filmmaking is MASSIVE. There are so many people involved in the process that I would sincerely hope they are motivated to wake up in the morning to create something slightly more than just "ice-cream". Shit, even people who create ice-cream want to create more than just ice-cream!
Ladri di biciclette, Battleship Potemkin, Apocalypse Now, Dr. Strangelove, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Les Quatre cents coups, Battle of Algiers, The Grapes of Wrath, Paths of Glory I mean do I really need to keep going here to make the point that 'good shit' is often a leftist-thinking-man's sorta shit??? Someone. Anyone. Please watch a goddamn classic film.
I don't think we have a choice at this point, LJ. Four years ago I would have agreed with you, now we don't have the luxury to pretend that guys like Mike don't exist.
So, Mike, please: what sort of stories would you like to see told?