Guerrilla filmmaking

Guerrilla filmmaking refers to a form of independent filmmaking characterized by low budgets, skeleton crews , and simple props using whatever is available. Often scenes are shot quickly in real locations without any warning and filming permits .

Guerrilla filmmaking is usually done by independent filmmakers because they do not have the budget or obtain expensive sets. Larger and more “mainstream” film studios tend to avoid guerrilla filmmaking tactics because of the risk of being sued, fined or negative PR publicity.

According to Yukon Film Commission Manager Mark Hill, “Guerrilla filmmaking is driven by passion with whatever means at hand”. [1]

Guerrilla movies

Janet Maslin of The New York Times caractérisée Ed Wood as a guerrilla filmmaker. As depicted in the biopic Ed Wood , Wood stole a fake octopus for one of the scenes in his low budget films. [2]

Movie critic Roger Ebert described Sweet Sweetback’s Song Baadasssss , directed by Melvin Van Peebles , as “a textbook on guerrilla filmmaking” in his review of Baadasssss! , a biopic about the making of Sweet Sweetback . [3]Ben Sisario of The New York Times called Van Peebles “a hero of guerrilla filmmaking” who has suffered for his uncompromising vision. [4]

Spike Lee ‘s She’s Gotta Have It Was a guerrilla movie on a budget of $ 175,000 qui made $ 7,137,502 at the box office. [5] It was Spike Lee’s first feature-length film and inspired him to write the book Spike Lee’s Gotta Have It: Inside Guerrilla Filmmaking . [6]

New Queer Cinema director Gregg Araki shot his first two movies, Three Bewildered People in the Night (1987) and The Long Weekend (O ‘Despair) (1989) using a spring-wound Bolex camera and scrap film stock, on a budget of $ 5,000 each. [7]

Robert Rodriguez shot the action movie El Mariachi in Spanish. El Mariachi , which was shot for around $ 7,000 with money partially raised by volunteering in medical research studies, won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival in 1992. The film, originally intended for the Spanish-language low-budget home-video market, was distributed by Columbia Pictures in the United States . Rodriguez described his experiences making film in his book Rebel Without a Crew . The book and movie would inspire other filmmakers to pick up cameras and make no-budget movies. [8]

Pi , directed by Darren Aronofsky , [9] was made on a budget of $ 68,000. It was sold at the box office ($ 4.6 million gross worldwide). [10] Aronofsky Raised Money for the Project by selling $ 100 shares in the movie to family and friends, and was able to pay them back with a $ 50 profit per share when the film was sold to Artisan. quote needed ]

Troma Entertainment is a film production and distribution company founded by Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz in 1974. The company produces low-budget independent films, many of which have grown cult followings . Kaufman has been outspoken about their use of warrior marketing and tolerance of piracy, and he has written the books All About Filmmaking I Learned from the Toxic Avenger and Make Your Own Damn Movie! , which outline his philosophy of quick and inexpensive independent film. [11]

Paranormal Activity , directed by first time director Oren Peli , was shot for approximately $ 10,000. Michael Cieply of the New York Times, the production and release of “guerrilla style”. After being received at film festivals, Paramount put the film on a tour where fans could request a screening. [12]

Escape From Tomorrow , made for $ 650,000, was “shot in a guerrilla-style manner at Walt Disney World and Disneyland without the permission of the parks,” according to Jason Guerrasio of Indiewire . The Film Was Originally expected to not be released due to fears of a lawsuit from Disney, one goal It was released video on demand in October 2013. [13]

” Clark: A Gonzomentary ” was a 2012 gonzo journalism -styled mockumentary about an amateur filmmaker documenting a Philadelphian eccentric artist and his creative process.The guerrilla-style techniques implemented were used as part of the story itself, to represent the amateur production within the story. It was shot with a budget of less than $ 3,000 with a Canon XL2 and a Panasonic AG-DVX100 . The director under the opt out of using a steadicam purposefully to accomplish achieve more shakiness. It was Awarded Outstanding Lead Actor in a comedy or mockumentary by The 2013 The Web Series Festival and a “Spectacularly Realized” by Mark Bell of Film Threat[14]

” Midnight Rider “, a biopic of Gregg Allman , attempted to use guerrilla filmmaking methods to illegally film a sequence on a railroad bridge in active use. Sarah Jones, Sarah Jones. Jay Sedrish, Director of Randall Miller, has beensentenced to two years imprisonment for involuntary manslaughter. Both are prohibited from working in any directorial or safety-related role for a decade.

Super Demetrios (2011), the first Greek superhero movie, made on a budget of € 2,000, won the audience award at the 52nd Thessaloniki International Film Festival with the highest number of votes in the history of the festival and became an instant cult classic, [15] “According to Giannis Zoumboulakis of To Vima newspaper. [16]


The Final Cut Pro , Avid Media Composer and Premiere are a contributing factor to the increase in guerrilla filmmaking. Digital editing is a cheap and easy way of editing that allows the filmmaker to edit anywhere and at a low budget.

Many guerrilla filmmakers are now using their digital cameras because of their cheap cost, and the ability to set up shots quickly.

Many movies have used digital cameras in the place of movie cameras such as: 28 Days Later , Vice Miami and Sin City . A recent film shot on consumer camcorders that has received major attention and awards is My Date with Drew , directed by Brian Herzlinger. The first crowdfunded Indian Kannada movie “Lucia” also was effectively shot using Canon 5D.

See also

  • Kino (movement)
  • Digital cinematography
  • Digital film festivals
  • Planning the Low-Budget Movie
  • The Guerilla Filmmakers Handbook


  1. Jump up^
  2. Jump up^ Maslin, Janet (1994-09-23). “FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW; Ode to a Director Who Dared to Be Dreadful” . The New York Times . Retrieved 2014-11-25 .
  3. Jump up^ Ebert, Roger (2004-06-11). “Baadasssss!” . . Retrieved 2014-11-25 .
  4. Jump up^ Sisario, Ben (2010-01-20). “He’s Got It Bad, or ‘Baad,’ for His Art . The New York Times . Retrieved 2014-11-25 .
  5. Jump up^ Henderson, Stuart (2008-01-13). “She’s Gotta Have It” . PopMatters . Retrieved 2014-11-25 .
  6. Jump up^ Martin, Sharon Stockard (1987-12-13). ” ‘ PLEASE BABY PLEASE BABY PLEASE … ‘ ” . The New York Times . Retrieved 2014-11-25 .
  7. Jump up^ Levy, Emanuel . Cinema of Outsiders: The Rise of American Independent Film . New York University Press . p. 467. ISBN  0-8147-5124-5 .
  8. Jump up^ Broderick, Peter. “THE ABC’S OF NO-BUDGET FILMMAKING” . Filmmaker (Winter 1993) . Retrieved 2014-11-25 .
  9. Jump up^ “Production Update” . Filmmaker (Winter 1997) . Retrieved 2014-11-25.
  10. Jump up^ “Pi” . The Numbers . Retrieved 2014-11-25 .
  11. Jump up^ Takahashi (2011-04-08). “Steal this movie: cult film maker lets digital pirates share his content” . VentureBeat . Retrieved 2014-11-25 .
  12. Jump up^ Cieply, Michael (2009-09-20). “Thriller on Tour Lets Fans Decide on the Next Stop” . The New York Times . Retrieved 2014-11-25 .
  13. Jump up^ Guerrasio, Jason (2013-10-09). “How the Director of ‘Escape From Tomorrow’ Made a Crazy Guerrilla Movie In Disney World – And Got Away With It . ” Indiewire . Retrieved 2014-11-25 .
  14. Jump up^
  15. Jump up^ Kranakis, Manolis (2012-04-18). “Ο” Σούπερ Δημήτριος “θα σώσει την Ελλάδα από την κρίση!” [Super Demetrios will save Greece from (debt) crisis!]. Flix (in Greek). Athens, Greece . Retrieved 2016-08-15 .
  16. Jump up^ Zoumboulakis, Giannis (2011-11-20). ” The charm of guerrilla (filmmaker)”. To Vima (in Greek). Athens . Retrieved 2016-08-17 .