According to IMDb, since 1900 an annual average of 2,577 films has been produced around the world. This figure is far from definitive; partially because of increasingly decentralised way films can be produced, and the shifting interpretation of what even makes a ‘film,’ but also because it depends on data being input to IMDb, which excludes a huge number of films which are now gathering dust – having been made and forgotten before the advent of the internet – while many more may have been produced by artists without easy access to the internet. Even taking this into account, however, the famous data-base’s average still doesn’t do justice to the exponential growth taking place in the industry right now.
Prior to 1910, when the necessary technology really started to become available to those who could afford it, virtually no films were produced each year. There soon followed a rapid incline which peaked around 1921 – a year which saw 2,511 films produced. Years of recession and war would see that particular bubble burst, with the industry not to recover such a level of production until the mid-1960s.
During the 1960s, a spurt of growth in filmmaking was driven once more by the advent of new, cheaper technologies, which enabled the popularisation of filmmaking. This peaked in 1968 with 3,268 productions in that year. Again, things would flatten out over the coming decades of economic and geopolitical turbulence – but in the early 2000s, the increasing prominence of the internet – enabling new access to tools and distributive networks – saw a sonic boom in production. Over the coming decade, a new wave of independent filmmakers took advantage of these conditions to drive an exponential increase in film production. In 2005, around 4,584 films were produced – something which boomed to 9,387 by 2015. Working from this extremely conservative estimate, it is safe to assume that at figure has risen to at least 12,000 in the years since – though the coronavirus lockdown may well have severely dented that number in 2020.
This has shown no signs of slowing since, enabling a veritable renaissance in the film festival world as well. As independents seek a means to distribution, the biggest film festivals such as Sundance now receive in excess of 10,000 submissions – covering short films under 40 minutes and full length films of all genres – while the smallest film festivals still accrue around 100 to 200 submissions. Due to the boom in revenues from submissions this has caused, there are now an estimated 3,000 active film festivals around the world, while almost 10,000 film festivals have run at least once in the last 15 years. With this huge growth in the number of platforms championing new work – coupled with the viral clout of the internet – there are more opportunities than ever before for independent filmmakers to reach the audience their work merits.
Taking advantage of those opportunities is easier said than done, however. The vast majority of film festivals will not supply filmmakers with feedback when they reject their films. Indy Film Library was set up to change that situation. The platform for independent filmmakers not only hosts an annual screening of top films in Amsterdam, but supplies impartial and trustworthy analysis of every film submitted. Indy Film Library provides invaluable assessments of where fledgling filmmakers can hone their craft, and make a name for themselves on the indy film circuit.
For more information on how to submit your film to Indy Film Library, visit our submissions page.