STARTED FROM NOTHING – is a series of posts, dedicated to film makers(and movements) that without Bank loans,Studio finances, independently made films, some of which went on to be classics, but also became influential, not only in their country, but on Global cinema, and generations of film-makers directly inspired by them
Today Chris Nolan is known as the genius director that resurrected the Batman franchise, and the creator of cerebral thrillers like MOMENTO, and thinking man action INCEPTION. But he wasn’t always making billion dollar box office movies. He actually started VERY low key way back in London.
Most people think his first film to be MOMENTO, but it’s actually a low budget thriller called THE FOLLOWING. A film he shot over a period of a year , with little to no budget. The story in true Nolan style, is a non linear neo noir , with a protagonist, a writer who lacking inspiration, starts to follow strangers in hope of getting a great idea.
The story was inspired by a break in to Nolan’s own apartment which spiraled into the idea of a stranger watching you.
With no financing, the choice of shooting in Black&White not only fit the noir style, but was a way of cutting down the budget and hiding the fact that shots could take place months apart(often shooting one day a week,keeping that pace for a year)
Nolan write the script to accommodate his lack of budget and his friends shot on weekends over a period of a year using their own apartments, their friends, stealing some shots in public and also using restaurants.
“In black and white, it’s much more possible to hide some of your budgetary constraints,” Nolan said. “When you have absolutely no money and absolutely no resources, [trying] to achieve color cinematography is extremely difficult. [With black and white,] it’s much more possible to get some kind of level of style to the thing—quickly and easily throwing in some lights and shadow and going with that.”- Chris Nolan
The film toured the festival circuit, showed Nolan’s potential, and the rest as they say, is history. Nolan sparked enough interest to get financing for the impressive MOMENTO and today is Hollywood’s golden boy, who with two films alone (The Dark Knight+ Inception) cross the billion dollar mark in box office takes.
Not bad for someone who started from having no budget for his film, today, you have studios lining up to work with him.
Nolan is another inspirational Indie tale, and even as he makes billion dollar grossing movies, his voice is still clear in his output.