Paul Di Filippo (pgdf) wrote in theinferior4,
Paul Di Filippo
pgdf
theinferior4

Fast, cheap, and onto the screen

Last night Deborah and I watched CARNIVAL OF SOULS (1962). She was viewing it for the very first time, and I was seeing it for the first time since catching it on TV as a teen. I won't rhapsodize about this film except to say it still held up wonderfully, and is worth your time.

But what intrigued me more was how little it cost to make.

A documentary included on the DVD about the making of CoS revealed that the total budget for the film was $13,000 in 1961.

Looking at the Online Inflation Calculator (http://www.westegg.com/inflation/), we learn:

"What cost $13,000 in 1961 would cost $85,485.47 in 2006."

Still pretty cheap.

What other high-quality films out there cost so little to make?

Wikipedia has a very primitive list:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_least_expensive_films

But they don't include a famously inexpensive film: John Carpenter's DARK STAR (1974):

http://imdb.com/title/tt0069945/

In the profile of Carpenter cited below, we learn that he spent $60,000 to get his film ready for theatrical release.

http://movies.msn.com/celebs/celeb.aspx?c=300282&mp=b

What would that cost today, Oh Mighty Inflation Calculator?

"What cost $60,000 in 1974 would cost $263,010.19 in 2006."

Not as cheap as the legend, but still good.

Of course, as the next article tells us, when you're done filming, you've only spent about half the necessary money.

http://www.filmmakermagazine.com/summer1994/myth.php

And then there's the fact that high-powered home computers and editing software and digital filming have upset the whole equation, as detailed here:

http://www.peterbroderick.com/writing/writing/ultralowbudgetmoviemaking.html

So: who has other candidates for great little films made for next-to-nothing?
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