New Orleans filmmakers bypass film industry with ‘People’

New Orleans filmmakers bypass film industry with People

Following a bold find-a-way-or-make-one-mentality, filmmakers Shane McGoey and Eric Sella are part of a revolution to take back the film industry.

Their movie “People,” written in just nine days, debuted at last year’s New Orleans Film Festival on October 16 and was released for streaming on Amazon Prime, iTunes and Google Play on May 1. McGoey, the director, and Sella, the producer, are attempting to sidestep the studios and theaters and deliver their movie directly to the consumer.

“Let’s show ‘People’ to the people,” Sella said.

Using a service called Quiver Digital, the filmmakers paid a flat fee to sell their film to several distribution platforms.

“I think the future is direct to the consumers, no more theaters, no more big blockbuster releases, because it doesn’t make financial sense to me … cut out the middlemen with the distributors … then the artist makes a lot more money,” Sella said.

McGoey, who attended Louisiana State University for three years and then the University of New Orleans for a year, began his career as a production assistant on the Bruce Willis film “Lay the Favorite.” This experience opened the door for the aspiring writer and director to work on bigger movies like “Django Unchained” and eventually make his own film.

“No one saw [‘Lay the Favorite’], but that got me involved with the film industry [in New Orleans], and I planted roots there and nurtured relationships that later sprung to life when we made ‘People,'” McGoey said.

Presented with the option to continue down the studio route or produce an original project, McGoey chose the path less traveled. The current drudgery of the film industry inspired his choice.

“When you’re not a name screenwriter and you don’t have an agent and you’re not in a union, it’s a disheartening profession,” McGoey said. “It’s hard to get work, it’s hard to make money, if you do get something written, then someone’s going to come along and rewrite over and over and over again.”

McGoey quickly wrote “People” and then recruited the help of his friend, Sella, to muster up funds for the project. The two have spent over a year and a half promoting the film on social media, sending messages online and trying to get their film in front of audiences any way possible.

“It would be easier to have these giant multi-million-dollar hit marketing campaigns, but it’s not necessary – if you’re willing to put in the work and pound the pavements, you can get it done,” Sella said.

The two were able to get the movie into the NOLA Film Festival, screened alongside indie hits like “Lion” and Best Picture winner “Moonlight.” The two also feel, however, that most film festivals have turned commercial and are no longer in support of the little guy.

McGoey and Sella want to continue making films together and pushing the envelope in style, plot and composition. “People” is comprised of six short vignettes loosely weaved together by a creative helix, which plays on traditional conventions. With an 8.6 rating on IMDB and critical acclaim, the film is already a best-selling pre-order on iTunes.

The duo believes that the film industry has become a machine that churns out mindless work and discourages creative thinking, but there is potential to turn the system on its head with movies like “People.”

“The big studio films have their place in the world, but no one is being fascinated or awed by those movies,” Sella said. “There’s definitely a niche for movies that are new and interesting and I think ‘People’ certainly is very much different than what else is out there.”

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