Philly’s Flavors: The Scoop on Film Trends of Philadelphia

deal-pictureThe city of Philadelphia is a very diverse city. It’s a melting pot for food, language and culture. The level of the city’s diversity, however is finite. When it comes to the film scene of Philadelphia, things tend to seem very uniform. When asked what were their favorite film genres the majority of people in Philadelphia with which I spoke responded within a three genre bracket, Horror, Comedy and Action. Horror however, holds the title of favorite out of the three. This is a fact that makes some of us curious. Why would the city of brotherly love have such a violent movie lust – what makes these genres (action and horror specifically) so popular and successful? Well, in this article series that’s what I venture to find out. What makes popular genres so popular?

The results of the question of what are Philadelphia’s favorite genres lie within accordance to the predictions of an independent film artist, who holds an intimate relationship with the industry, Matthew Delia. Delia is an actor, director and producer in the industry and a bit of a movie buff by default. The insurgence of the city’s Horror and Action focused obsessions are attributed two visionaries, Alexander Emmert (horror) and Loren Lepre (horror/action), according to Delia.

Neither Lepre nor Emmert are Philly natives, but they both took the industry by storm! Lepre is known for his Average Superstar films and regarded as a leader in the Philadelphia film scene according to imdb.com (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm4338573/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm). While Emmert has gained major traction in his screenwriting and producing career on the coasts of the United States, in Los Angeles and Philadelphia through his company Invictus Films (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2772986/bio).

Aside from their creativity and innovation Delia attributes their success to the fact that, “they have worked on many other filmmakers sets”, and “they have also networked and became connected with many people in Philadelphia allowing them to utilize these contacts to benefit the films they make.”

And ask anyone in the industry, they cannot express enough how important networking is. This is truly a “not what you know, but who you know” business.

This implies the success of the film is dependent on the success of the film producers within the industry. Which, again is a very shaky industry. I delve further into this idea to discover how success is generated on the industry spectrum

What I’ve found was that despite this being a stable or widely lucrative business, most people I have spoken with who are in the film industry say that they are in this line of work at foremost for the love of the art. But this makes people wonder, how the love of the art figures in to the success of films?

Delia answers this query when he says, “I think the love of the arts affects the leading films by them being better. Films that are made with passion and because of the love of the art are generally better in quality.”

Raindance.org supports this claim with an explanation as to why it might work in one of their articles, “The 5 Habits of Highly Successful Filmmakers” (http://www.raindance.org/the-5-habits-of-highly-successful-filmmakers/).  In the article they are huge supporters of the “Use it or Lose it Mentality.”  They believe in the exercise of the talent everyday – even something minor – just be consistent. Consistency is not a task for the faint of heart, but only of those willing to shed the blood, sweat and tears for the industry. This can only be done and done right by those who love what they do.

So, under the impression that successful genres are a result of many successful films and successful films are the result of behind the scenes work and industry labor, by producers actors and screenwriters, it has been found that the popularity and success of genres in Philadelphia – horror and comedy – should attribute all their fame the grassroots film makers who have a love for what they do and work the mixers to the best degree.

An interesting perspective indeed, but in the next issue of the Philly Philm Report I challenge this idea that the success is generated behind the scenes as I venture out to the other side of the screen and investigate the weight the moviegoers have on the success of genres and the films that compose those genres.

Stay tuned!

-Jachai May

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