Monday, January 21, 2008

Uwe Boll, I agree with you

Uwe Boll is easily this generations Ed Wood, having made some of the most critically panned horror films in recent history, including: "Alone in the Dark", "BloodRayne", "BloodRayne II: Deliverance" and "House of the Dead". He has seven films in different stages of production currently and he just released his biggest budget film to date, "In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale", which had a $60Million budget and has only pulled in a mere $8Million worldwide to date. However, before it was released, Uwe Boll wrote a letter to the guys over at, a site dedicated to, you guessed it, bashing Uwe Boll. The letter basically rips on the major media conglomerates, Hollywood, as well the film "First Sunday", which was the opening weekend competition for "In The Name of The King" and, you know what? I think I agree with a lot of what he's saying.

Before I get to his letter, this is a great opportunity for those who aren't familiar with Uwe, to get to know the good doctor. Dr. Uwe Boll, born June 22, 1965 in Wermelskirchen, Germany, is the self-proclaimed leading expert on adapting video games for the big screen. Film critics, however, continually throw him under the bus and the internet community considers him to personify everything that's wrong with film today. When the creator of Metal Gear heard the Boll was interested in adapting his game into a film, he lashed out on his blog, saying that there's no way that Boll would ever be able to touch it. Uwe actually made headlines in 2006 when he challenged his critics to "put up or shut up" and challenged his five harshest critics each to a 10 round boxing match. The event was dubbed "Raging Boll" and Boll fought and won against all five participants. Even though he's been nominated twice for "worst director" at the Razzie's, he can continually make films due to German tax laws that reward investments in film - a law that allows investors to write off 100% of their investment as a tax deduction... Always busy making stinker films, he's just announced that he's doing "Legend: Hand of God", he's in pre-production on "Zombie Massacre", in production on "BloodRayne 3", "Sabotage 1943" and in post-production on "Far Cry" and "Tunnel Rats". "Seed", "Postal", "They Wait" and "BloodRayne II: Deliverence" are out now... somewhere.

Now, to that letter... here's a link. When reading it, you have to remember that, essentially, Uwe Boll is an independent filmmaker that works outside the studio system. He may be able to get funding for his films, but he's not getting the marketing dollars that the studios put behind their films and those marketing dollars are what get you a big opening weekend. Sure, he calls "First Sunday" a "piece of shit" and that may, or may not have been called for, but he does have a point. As an independent filmmaker, you have to compete with the big boys and you're not going to be able to do market studies or buy advertising time on network TV, radio or newspapers. The major studios are all, generally, owned by big media conglomerates and they will promote their own films through their own outlets, blanketing the media, so the little guy can't be heard. So, really... Dr. Boll has a right to be pissed, but it's still funny that he defends his film because it "has the power to stay 3 weeks in the TOP TEN and that (they) can get at least 50% good reviews". Are those really things to be proud of?

So, assuming that the distribution system stays the way it is now, the way I see it, there's two things that need to happen to change this all around. (1) Indie filmmakers need to get creative with their marketing and (2) movie-goers need to see past all the studio's advertising. The key to changing both things lays with the internet. Addressing the first issue, it's a cheap tool to market your film. As for the second issue, people need to use the internet to research what they want to watch, not brainlessly do what mainstream advertising tells them to do. The only other way to change this around, of course, is to change the way films are distributed... and they may happen sooner than Hollywood thinks.

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