Shoot It! is a revealing history of how Hollywood, with its eye on the bottom line, arguably lost its ability to support the work of creative filmmakers; it is also a passionate portrait of the American independent film scene that has produced some of the best movies of the last two decades and inspired those in other countries to do the same.
The book examines the Hollywood studio system over several decades, from the period when moguls like Harry and Jack Warner and Louis B. Mayer made quality yet commercially viable films, to today, when studios seem only interested in surefire sequels and comic-book adaptations aimed at a global audience. By the same token, Shoot It! also celebrates today's great movies produced outside of the studio system, chronicling the international independent film movement in seven countries (the United States, Canada, Mexico, Britain, France, Romania, and South Korea), from its roots (French New Wave, British kitchen sink, the New York scene) to the revolutionary impact of digital technology. It also features commentary from indie film notables such as Gus Van Sant, Mike Leigh, Claire Denis, Atom Egoyan, Catherine Breillat, Sally Potter, John Sayles, and Ken Loach.
While the studios envisage a generic universe, repressing local film cultures along the way, talented independents continue to tell local stories with universal appeal. This book is a celebration of those determined filmmakers who, despite it all, overcome all obstacles and just shoot it.
David Spaner is a film critic and freelance journalist in Vancouver, British Columbia.