The new movie “cl.one” was filmed by an unknown twentysomething working out of his basement over a period of six years with a budget that came to about $25,000. That amount is just a drop in a bucket compared to the budget for even the most modest Hollywood movie. So you might expect little interest in the movie beyond that of the hardcore fan seeking out obscure independent films.
“cl.one” is different. With thousands of extras, on-location shoots, hundreds of special effects and a world premiere last Friday at the SXSW Film Festival and Conference in Austin, Texas, “cl.one” is getting the kind of buzz usually reserved for expensive Hollywood special effects-driven events. Hollywood should pay attention.
Jason J. Tomaric started working on “cl.one” when he was twenty. Set in a sterile post-apocalyptic future where humankind last hope for survival might be clones, the film required talents in addition to his own that Tomaric could not afford. Nevertheless, he was joined by many very talented people who volunteered their time and skills. Tomaric was also able to convinced NASA to let him use some of their locations for shoots. Other exotic locales included a nuclear power plant and a cathedral. Small businesses donated their services and as the film progressed Tomaric found plenty of extras to participate. Somehow, he pulled off the impossible.
I have not seen “cl.one” yet, but its impact should already be self evident. Independent digital filmmaking (along with blogging, podcasting, and Internet radio and television broadcasting) is just the beginning. The growing sophistication of technology despite rapidly falling prices is fundamentally changing entertainment. Suddenly, there is little to hold back artists of any skill levels from pursuing their passion. The explosion in content we will see over the next few years from these independent artists will dwarf the output from traditional media companies. Hollywood and its annoying cloning of old ideas should be on alert for a new “cl.one” in town.