“I signed the petition early on as a filmmaker,” Freeman said. “But I realize me giving up my hopes and dreams just isn’t enough. I have to stop putting my heart and soul into a festival that champions artistic freedom and the cinematic underdogs of the world to really make a difference.”
An international film festival steeped in artistic freedom, PollyGrind celebrates individuality, diversity, creativity, and empowerment by showcasing the work of filmmakers with defiantly independent visions.
Named one of 2012's “25 Festivals Worth the Entry Fee” by MovieMaker Magazine and voted by readers to the magazine’s 2013 Top 5 Coolest Experiemntal/
Although a few PollyGrind filmmakers have already signed the petition, such as Jeff Wedding (A Mearure of the Sin) and John E. Carson (Paranormal Jilltivity) it is Freeman’s hope many more follow suit in the final days of the campaign.
Audley created the petition as a response to recent national articles from Manohla Dargis in the New York Times and Beanie Barnes at Salon. The articles asked that less indie films be made and less be distributed as to not overwhelm critics and audiences.
“We believe if we can convince enough aspiring filmmakers to give up on their dreams, the industry will become solvent again, returning to a thriving and viable state,” Audley’s petition states. “Film critics and film audiences will no longer be overwhelmed by the glut of mediocre indie productions, while the truly inspired and talented filmmakers will easily be discovered and embraced, able to receive the wide acclaim and financial gain they deserve. Distributors, theater owners, tastemakers, as well as audiences and critics, will delight in having far fewer films to choose from.”
Audley is an indie filmmaker and actor. Having wrote and directed the features Open Five and Open Five 2, he has received rave reviews from the New Yorker, Hollywood Reporter and Indiewire for his acting. He starred in Amy Seimetz's Sun Don't Shine, David Lowery's Ain't Them Bodies Saints and the found footage anthology V/H/S.
For those that didn’t realize, Audley made sure to post an article on his website NoBudge.com on March 17 letting the world know his petition is satire.
“All jokes aside, I love indie films and I would never urge anyone to stop making them,” Audley wrote. “I started NoBudge in 2011 as a fan wanting to share films I loved and that's what I'll continue to do.”
Unless of course the 5,000 signatures are met. In that case, Audley will no longer make films, and Freeman, who has produced, but yet to direct a feature film, will also give up on that dream that dates back to when he was 12.
“Along with that, PollyGrind will be no more,” Freeman said. “The world can give up on film having any soul and be happy watching remakes, reboots, sequels, cookie cutter dramas and such in Imax and 3D that cost millions upon millions to make that star the same cast over and over and over again. ”
Upcoming and recently released on DVD or recently signed films that played PollyGrind include Daddy’s Little Girl, A Measure of the Sin, Frankie in Blunderland, Barbazul, 25K, Rage, 13/13/13, To Jennifer, Legend of the Hillbilly Butcher, Play Hooky, Final Entries: The Video Diary of Madi O, Nightmare Factory, I Am a Ghost, A Measure of the Sin, Another Zero in the System, Nightmare Box, Desolate, The Cohasset Snuff Film, Dry Bones, Sweet Leaf, Blood Soaked, Fat Cat, Blackface Killer, My Name is A by Anonymous, Coyote, Johnny Ghost, The Turnpike Killer, President Wolfman, China White Serpentine, Beast: A Monster Among Men, The Black Dahlia Haunting and more.
Freeman notes that there are indeed more films being made today, but he also believes the number of good films being made has increased and will continue to do so.
“It is just a lot harder to find an audience,” Freeman said. “It’s really tough to break through the noise. The problem right now is mainstream audiences mostly just see and know about what is at the box office, on Netflix streaming, at Wal-Mart or Redbox. There are no more video stores filled with titles and director’s you haven’t heard of that are waiting to be discovered. But there is definitely a growing network of individuals, websites, groups, businesses, companies and festivals that are organically forming this underground of support for indie films. And once the dust settles, maybe some long standing, very supportive institutes of independent film will remain to be platforms for new art.”
More than 4,000 digital signatures are still needed to make Freeman put an end to his part in that international filmmaking community. The petition’s deadline is March 31.
“I’ve been posting on social media about this since it launched,” Freeman said. “I was really hoping it would make some noise, but sadly most people don’t get the joke. ‘But what if it really gets 5,000 signatures?’ Well, it won’t, but I guess if it does, we can all just say it was an April Fool’s Day joke.”
Distribution contracts and consultations were awarded to winners of PollyGrind in 2011, 2012 and 2013. The festival is currently accepting submissions. For more information, visit http://www.PollyGrind.com or http://www.Facebook.com/