Lazarus Died Again.
So, here we are, at the midnight hour of the Lazarus kickstarter. I wish that I had more to give, but I have given all that I can. I don’t actually make money, as a student. I just leverage debt. I know that there are people out there with money. But I know fewer and fewer. Most people I know are on the frayed edge of utter financial ruin. Utter financial ruin and abject poverty are roughly synonymous states of being, and with finances being what they are, the person living on the street can have a larger relative self worth to a person who has declared bankruptcy, as the former does not necessarily owe money to the government. But, to have something, and leverage its value, and then fail? This essay is not about any of this. It is just something I observe, and offers as some excuse as to why Lazarus has not reached the goal.
It is truly sad. For so many reasons. In terms of how finance is ultimately directed towards and away from ideas with the cruel indifference of a free market artistic community. I have asked for a far lesser amount than Mike for my own film, and come up wanting. To fail in this is actually; based on personal experience, lateral to losing a run for political office. You can separate yourself from whatever challenge you face and fall short of because there is a thing between you and the judged. In art, it is a specific work. To have a work dismissed is not to disregard the artist entirely. In politics, the time and place of an election, the utter statistical power of the incumbent, the random melee of primaries, all serve as variables that can be pointed towards, rather than turn the finger towards oneself. And pull the trigger.
Because, for an artist, attempting to survive in the 21st century is a depressing horror show. There is no common denominator for quality in a given genre, and fragmentation of the media spectrum has led to a truly bizarre marketplace. In it, user generated content can mingle with professionally produced reality programming. Reality programming that in no way mirrors reality. Also fragmentary is the way in which we ingest our media, with the recent quantum leap in affordable, portable, streaming, and cloud based content, there is no place that media cannot find us. It is into this global saturation that we have been thrust, unfunded, uneducated, and unsupported, and told to advance civilization beyond the total wreckage left in the wake of the industrial revolution. Artistic collaboration is almost impossible to sustain without any available finance. Even on a community based level, a minimum capital is required to even consider a given project. The 21st century artists is divided by class. The segregation is in place to completely and desperately maintain that those with success cannot surround themselves with those below them, for fear of them.
Film is a fantastic example of this, whereby a film funded by a major studio has millions of dollars in capital available to them, consolidated around a powerful network of production professionals. Look at the dizzying amount of credits at the end of any computer generated or augmented work, and imagine further the vast economy required to fuel the raw human power through days and nights and months and years of manipulating light by the pixel. Millions and millions generating billions and billions more in an industry that survives by remaining insular to the culture that surrounds it, and attempts to compete with it. They own the theaters, they control the distribution, and their carriage on national broadcast is their ultimate power to control the things that we are allowed to see and hear.
On the fringe of this, public access and independent film offer unique inroads to specific culture, and unmitigated vision. What Hollywood filmmakers lack is the power to express their inner vision, for their vision must often be distorted to serve both societal standards and economic interests, for their very existence depends on supporting and endorsing the hegemony that allows their continued expression. When a film contains itself in scope to align to the vision of a single person, the product is something that is rarely seen. It is rare because of the support required to accomplish such a thing. As a percentage, Lazarus is asking for a pittance. But a pittance has not surfaced. And this is a modern tragedy. Not only for those we have lost, and for Mike Bredon, but for the many at least hundreds of others that have devoted time, energy, blood, and finance towards making Lazarus a reality.
It makes me think about the biblical Lazarus. How he was risen, and then must have had to die again. What a strange experience that would be. But as the story goes, he would die knowing that he had made Jesus weep, and so was probably comfortable in his final destination. I hope that Lazarus as a film will live, and succeed as an example of independent community film. Which has the potential to be a refreshing change from what the media believes will make us watch and buy things.