It’s been a landmark year for independent filmmaking. Despite the average blockbuster now costing over $200 million to make, many more modest movies have managed to sneak through the ranks. Rick Famuyiwa’s Dope secured a Sundance Special Jury award despite a measly $700,000 budget, and David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows made back more than ten times its two million dollar cost. Likewise, Sean S. Baker’s Tangerine, which was shot entirely on an iPhone, has beaten the odds to become a sturdy Oscar contender – with trans lead Mya Taylor now hotly tipped for a Best Actress nomination.
Proving this point even further is Kevin Smith. The cult director, responsible for lo-fi 90s gems like Chasing Amy and Dogma, has decided to hammer some more positivity into the next generation of filmmakers – sharing the full budget details of his 1993 classic Clerks.
“22 years ago, I sent this incomplete budget along with a copy of Clerks to Miramax in hopes they'd buy my flick,” Smith wrote on his Facebook, alongside a picture of the price breakdown. “The missing negative cut figure was over a thousand bucks, putting us at the eventual figure: $27,575.”
Clerks – which now has a second sequel in the works – was originally made for $27,575 (around £18,485), but eventually went on to make over three million dollars (just over two million pounds) at the box office. That’s nearly 100 times the original amount. Not bad for a Divine Comedy remake set in a convenience store.
“You can make a movie for WAY less money these days, kids,” Smith added in a later comment. “All the tech you need is right on your smart phone. So... What's stopping you?”
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