Is the middle ground of cinema disappearing?

Sammy Dewey, Staff Writer

As low-budget films survive and blockbuster movies prosper, the middle ground of the film industry seems to be a thing of the past.

According to Joth Riggs, an assistant director who did work with TV show shows such as "CSI" and "Angel", “With new technology, the barrier to entry is lower, and more people are making cheap, low-budget projects…but it’s really killed the middle ground between blockbuster and YouTube.”

A former TV show director, Riggs left the filming industry in 2002 believing his work was not consistent with his Christian faith. When he returned in 2010 to the industry to develop only faith-based films he found he industry to be completely different. Studios now would rather put more time and money into giant blockbusters like "The Avengers" and "Transformers" that have higher potential for bigger rewards.

With the so-called YouTube revolution, the cinema industry continues to stay up-to-date on the entertainment that people are engaging with the most while specifically targeted younger audiences.

“YouTube has given a voice to anyone who wants to put themselves out there in every way imaginable, which is incredible,” says junior Josh Mulvaney. Since the cinema industry began, many corporations have controlled the market, forcing filmmakers to go through them in order to produce projects. With YouTube this is not the case. Although, Mulvaney states, “YouTube will be used more for advertising and promotions.”

It seems as though movies and YouTube will thrive on their own. “I don’t think there will be much more of a blending of the middle ground since both have a different industry objective,” says Mulvaney.

A recent blockbuster Christian film that  caught attention, "Noah", which brought in a near $360 million and included a star-studded cast, was seen as a success by most critics and Hollywood, but was a complete disgrace according to Christians who questioned the plot and were upset that God was not mentioned by name throughout the entire movie.

An upcoming big-budget Christian film, "Exodus: Gods and Kings", looks to have promise with a strong cast as well. Those involved in making this movie are entirely different from "Noah" and many Christians are hoping the plot and authenticity will hold up this time around.

With 2014 coming to a close the industry of independent films has seen significant growth. For Riggs this is actually a great time to work solely on faith-based films which having a budget ranging anywhere from $100,000 to $2 million.

Bringing in $62 million making it the 33rd highest grossing movie of 2014, "God’s Not Dead" was a Pure Flix film shot in Baton Rouge, La. with a budget of only $2 million. The success of this mid-level Christian movie definitely gives hope to people like Riggs as this industry is now on the rise.