This year's annual Black List – a listing of the top ten unproduced screenplays floating around Hollywood – was released earlier this week (our own Alison Nastasi wrote about it). Why should screenwriters get all the love, though? Don't aspiring filmmakers deserve some recognition as well? That was the lofty idea behind Viewfinder, a list that ranks the ten best short films, commercials, and music videos in order to bring attention to the creators behind the camera.
The brainchild of Jeff Schroeder (a WME assistant), and put together by Montecito Picture Company's Patrick Chu alongside Aaron Schmidt of Langely Park Pictures, the Viewfinder list was compiled by polling studio executives, producers and assistants to learn what their ten best short works of the year were. After the votes were counted, they placed each video on a website where anyone could see it.
Hit the jump for more on this year's Viewfinder list – including why some think it's misleading. p>
While Viewfinder seems to have its heart in the right place – wanting to draw attention to aspiring filmmakers is certainly a noble cause – some are already questioning the "winners." Cynics look at the selections (which include such "unknowns" as Alejandro González Iñárritu for his work on a Nike commercial and Carl Erik Rinsch, a filmmaker who was originally linked to directing the new 'Alien' film) and see ten filmmakers already repped by major talent agencies. These guys aren't exactly "aspiring" or struggling to make it in the biz. No one is suggesting that these directors don't deserve recognition for their work – Rinsch's short, 'The Gift,' is a beautifully shot piece of cinema. The problem is that the words "aspiring filmmaker" implies the kind of indie directors out there making movies with a laptop and a decent camera with money out of their own pocket. Guys who haven't found representation and who aren't shooting music videos and corporate commercials that will be seen by millions of people.
What do you think, dear reader? Is it still worthwhile to promote filmmakers who've already obtained management and agents and (in some cases) are doing work seen by the masses, or is Viewfinder just another big Hollywood marketing tool? Make your argument below – but first check out Carl Erik Rinsch's 'The Gift.'