MOONLIGHT: Making Art On A Really Low Budget (ANALYSIS/LINK)


There are national TV commercials that cost more than Moonlight did, but they’re not nominated for 8 Academy Awards including Best Picture of the Year.

IndieWire’s Chris O’Falt examines how this could possibly be his very revealing article “The Craft of ‘Moonlight’: How a $1.5 Million Indie Landed Eight Oscar Nominations“. The piece includes insight from Oscar-nominated writer/director Barry Jenkins, his producer, and key behind-the-camera collaborators, as well as astute analysis by O’Falt himself.

For example:

  • “We’ve come to expect that an American independent film that wants to realistically portray what it’s like to grow up during Miami’s crack epidemic…would be matched by a realist cinematic style. Yet “Moonlight” defies the handheld improvised naturalism, or documentary style, that’s has become synonymous with indies tackling real-world issues and characters who live on the margins of society.”

Ultra-low budget films often employ a handheld approach, as much for practical purposes as aesthetic ones (maybe even more so). It’s faster and easier. And with the right editor, it can come together powerfully. So when a film like Moonlight actually takes the time to craft its visuals to the honed artistic level that it does, well, it’s worth discussing – and awarding.

To read the full piece, click here. Plus, for additional coverage into the artistry of Moonlight, click here to read IndieWire’s interview with the film’s Oscar-nominated co-editor Joi McMillon, the first African-American female to ever be nominated in that category.

Leave a Reply