About this book
Shoot It! is a revealing history of how Hollywood, with its eye on the bottom line, lost its ability to support the work of creative filmmakers; it is also a passionate portrait of the independent filmmakers who have risen up to fill the void.
The book examines the Hollywood studio system over several decades, from the period when it produced more 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 (European New Waves, New York independents) to the revolutionary impact of digital technology. It also features commentary from indie film notables such as Mike Leigh, Gus Van Sant, Claire Denis, Miranda July, Woody Allen, 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 every obstacle and just shoot it.
There have been plenty of history books written about independent film, but few take the expansive, international view of journalist and critic David Spaner in his new book Shoot It!
A compulsively readable, well-researched book that explores many aspects of Hollywood history and how it has related to independent film ... For people interested in film history and its intersection with politics, it's a must read.
Edward Copeland on Film
Author and film critic David Spaner has crafted an engaging, comprehensive history of the highs and lows of independent film, with special attention paid to how it's interacted over the years with its big brother (or evil twin, depending on how you look at it) the studio system ... Shoot It!
is a great resource for people who A) want a general historical overview on independent film and the studio system, or B) already have that general overview and are looking for some new moviemakers or films to explore. The wealth of quotes included in Spaner's book are from directors, actors, producers and writers who range across decades and continents both; among the dozens of moviemakers Spaner interviewed are Mike Leigh, Gus Van Sant, Miranda July, Park Chan-Wook, Rebel Without a Cause
writer Stewart Stern and blacklisted screenwriter Norma Barzman. Their insight, combined with Spaner's historical overview, proves that the history of independent film can be just as interesting as the films themselves.
Shoot It! tells a fascinating story about the evolution of the Hollywood studio system from its early days in California, where it grew and soon supplanted the French film industry as the dominant international player.
A sort of alt.history of the movies, David Spaner's book attempts to find a common ground of anti-American corporate resistance linking 1920s union organizers, blacklist victims of the 1950s, John Cassavetes, the French New Wave, New York punk bohemians, Method actors and international filmmakers.
The Globe and Mail
In a highly readable and very entertaining book stuffed with interviews (including Mike Leigh, Ken Loach, Catherine Breillat, Seymour Cassel, John Sayles, Francois Ozon, Sally Potter, Henry Jaglom, Miranda July, Gus Van Sant, Woody Allen, Claire Denis, Sarah Polley, and many, many others), one of Spaner's great achievements is to illuminate this combative relationship and the under-reported history of activism in the Dream Factory.
As a historian of film and filmmakers, Spaner has created a chronicle of largely within-(or near)-the system resistance ... Spaner's book [also] provides an often stirring account of stubborn obliviousness to the principle of idealism.
Geoff Pevere, Literary Review of Canada
A thorough, one might almost say encyclopaedic take on a core consideration in modern filmmaking. Recommended to aspiring filmmakers everywhere, with plenty of interest to film fans besides.
Eye for Film
gives a comprehensive overview of both the history and current state of independent film today ... [The book] offers a great introduction to many socially conscious filmmakers.
The book offers a critical political perspective on Hollywood history from the early days of union organizing to the 1950s McCarthy era blacklists and the 1960s counterculture movement.