In 1993, I released a feature low-budget western /
contemporary-occult-horror movie, DEATH MAGIC, to domestic and
international video.
I financed it with what was left of an inheritance, a second mortgage,
overtime work, a second job, and credit cards.  There were no other
funding sources.
I finagled all of my friends to work on it, including pro commercial
artists to create the special effects. I begged and pleaded and got many
exciting locations, including a former cavalry fort area to build a
full-size gallows, and a huge ranch and use of all the horses.
I wrote, produced, directed, shot 85%, edited, supervised the sound mix,
music, and music mix, arranged the publicity, and was the domestic
distributor for a while. From the green light to the release was four
long grueling years. As of last month, I finally paid the last debts. It
did, however, get some tasty reviews.
Now, taking all this on might seem to be an idiot's decision. In the
worst moments, it certainly seems so to me.  This movie was my film
school. Nevertheless, and regardless of whatever irony or post-semiotic
Jungified de-existentialist pseudo gen-X recalcified theorizing you
might want to put on it, if DEATH MAGIC ain't independent by whatever
criteria you choose, than yes, "independent cinema" is a myth.
Frankly, I don't think it gets much more independent than this.
Paul E. Clinco
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