We have art in order not to die of the truth. – Fredrick Nietzsche
“Every artist should be crazy and ambitious” – Glauber Rocha
“How close and bright would the future appear if two, three, many Vietnams flowered on the face of the globe…” – Ernesto “Che” Guevara
“Without freedom, no art; art lives only on the restraints it imposes on itself, and dies of all others.” – Albert Camus
“Art will not disappear into nothingness; it will disappear into everything.” – Julio Garcia Espinosa
There’s a lot of self-doubt that can creep up into you when you decide you want to make a film. That self-doubt was something that especially got to me when i was making my film MACHETERO and that self-doubt only got worse when the film took an unconventional narrative structure. Some of that self-doubt is good, if it’s the self-imposed kind that you use to test your ideas, it can be used to push you to formulate your own ideas in a more succinct way. But some of that self-doubt is imposed by mainstream Hollywood bullshit propaganda that dictates that only the wealthy, the privileged, and the straight white males among us can make films. Some of that self-doubt is imposed by pseudo independent wannabe Hollywood bullshit pressure. No matter where it’s coming from it’s not good. Not good for making films, not good for filmmakers and not good for the audience that’s hungry for something authentic, hungry for something that hasn’t been spoon fed from either Hollywood or it’s pseudo independent counterpart.
In order to combat some of that negative energy i’ve created a filmmakers anti-manifesto called Illegalist Cinema: The Cinema of Cine-automatic. It’s helped me to make many of my films but it came about out of my production experiences with MACHETERO. It was something that i could turn to as a source of inspiration that curbed the self-doubt when it was greater than it should have been. It made gave me the strength to step into the unknown and find the possibilities that would have otherwise remained hidden.
Illegalist Cinema is an inspirational anti-manifesto designed to encourage those filmmakers who are not wealthy, privileged, white, male or straight to smash the fears and constraints of what a film should be to create an alternative to the wealthy privileged straight white male dominated system of filmmaking. The goal is to create a more inclusive perspective of history, of storytelling, of culture, of mythology, of politic and of cinema. Illegalist Cinema The Cinema Of Cine-Automatic is cultural warfare, a call to cinematic arms. It grew out of An Aesthetic Of Hunger, it continues to find another way in the tradition of Third Cinema and it’s searching of the perfection of an Imperfect Cinema. Illegalist Cinema is about taring down the walls of self-doubt and authoritarian imposed limitations and stepping out into the exploration of multiple possibilities…
There are only 5 simple and short “guidelines” that define Illegalist Cinema…
ILLEGALIST CINEMA is…
1 – A CINEMA OF REBELLION
The film has to be rebellious in both a political and artistic sense. It must seek to upset and overturn the status quo.
2 – A CINEMA OF ILLEGALITY AND IMMUNITY
Art is the creation of beauty. Beauty is defined as the search for understanding. The “laws” of creation trump the “laws” of the state. The creation of art is above the law. The legality of the state is designed to protect the status quo of elitism and inequality and only by defying or refusing to recognize that power can these limitations be destroyed. Without these limitations what was once thought to be impossible becomes possible.
3 – A CINEMA OF POVERTY
The film has to be an independent no-budget guerrilla film production. Independence is defined on two fronts. The first definition concerns art, the film must be independent of mainstream filmmaking and mainstream thought and especially independent of so-called “independent film”. The second definition being the financing of the film, self-financing and cooperative financing are encouraged. Theft is always highly encouraged. The film’s primary goal MUST NOT BE to create a financial profit. Cinema is an art and financial profit as a primary goal will only cause regression to the status quo. Corporate financing is possible if it allows for radical art, ideas and politics to be the primary priority and function of a film and places the concerns of financial profit behind that of art and communication.
4 – A CINEMA OF ACQUISITION
The film has the right to acquire whatever it needs for production through any means available. No permits and no permission whenever and wherever possible. Theft, lying and cheating in the face of power, authority and wealth are all fair game in the pursuit of art. Better to ask forgiveness (if need be) than to ask permission.
5 – A CINEMA OF SUBVERSION AND MISAPPROPRIATION
The film must take every opportunity to subvert and misappropriate the means of production (ie: props, locations, equipment, wardrobe) to instill a new sensibility that opens the mind to new possibilities. The idea is that everything is a stage upon which we act out our lives and our art. The lines between art and life will become blurred when a gun is a prop and a street is a set and a shopping cart is a dolly and a police officer’s uniform is costume and the reflection off a window is a source of light. The possibilities of all that we see, can somehow be transformed into a vehicle that moves the production closer to realization. It’s a means of seeing new possibilities in the world around us and trains our eye and our mind to find new ways to see and use everything around us. This exercise in seeing the possibilities is not something that will only serve the purposes of making cinema but train us in seeing the potential possibilities in everything.
These “guidelines” are not to be mistaken for rules. Illegalist Cinema like all art is rooted in anarchy and anarchy is not in the habit of dictating rules. Filmmakers who adopt these guidelines adopt them voluntarily. Illegalist Cinema is not a means of control but a means of liberation. It’s a means of dislodging the self-doubt imposed by Hollywood and it’s elitism. It’s a means of escaping the mentality that a film must be made in a certain way. It’s a declaration that cinema is not a business to be pimped for a price and a profit but an art given as a gift without expectation of gratitude. It’s a steady rain of creativity eroding the aesthetics of imperialism.
Illegalist Cinema is not forever… It’s a means to an end… A blueprint for thought… A tool to be used to reshape the world… The true goal of Illegalist Cinema is to make itself useless… Once we’ve freed ourselves this will all cease to matter…
MACHETERO opens in New York City for a one week limited theatrical run.
WED. JUNE 12TH – TUES JUNE 19TH
CLEMENTE SOTO VELEZ
KABAYITO’S THEATER (2ND FLOOR)
107 SUFFOLK STREET
NY NY 10002
(BTWN RIVINGTON & DELANCEY)
SCREENING TIMES • 1PM • 3PM • 5PM • 7PM • 9PM
F Train to Delancey Street or J , M , or Z Trains to Essex Street.
Walk to Suffolk Street, make a left.