I have an idea. And it's kind of what I already do, I've just never thought of it this way before. Community Based Filmmaking. Films that are funded by the local community, about the local community, for the local community and by local talent.
What I've always done, is to hold fundrasiers in my hometown. They've always provided me with at least a quarter the budget of my films, sometimes more. And then I raise the rest elsewhere, online, personal loans etc. Then I go off and make the film I want to make, without restriction, without committee. I'm entirely independent. All my films have been based in my home town and are largely about my hometown. When they're done, I show them locally, to the people who partially funded them and they have always been well received. And they have screened here in Drogheda numerous times.
So why not have this be a regular thing, an acknowledged and practiced thing. That every few months a filmmaker is given money, donnated by the locals, based on an idea presented by the filmmaker, to go and make his film. It can be fiction, short, feature length, documentary, whatever he/she choses. It's about creative freedom too.
The filmmaker then uses his/her talent and resources to put the film together as they normally would, but perhaps using more local talent if they don't normally, local crew and cast. And they make an effort to shoot in the town, and about the town, and it's people.
It might sound a little restrictive, but I don't think it is. There are thousands of stories, interesting, inspiring, heartbreaking stories right outside your front door. They've been building up inside you all your life. Besides, so far I've made a drama, a comedy, a thriller, a documentary, a experimental arty piece... all outside my front door. So anything you're inspired to do is acceptable.
It's not about committees or focus groups or regulations deciding what you can and can't make. I cant be that. That would kill it stone dead. I'm just talking about being more focused in the community. In your town. And thinking about you film not just in globabl terms, in "Shaking the dust of this crumby town" as George Bailey once said, or getting to festivals etc. which of course you'll do, but it's about the films being for the people of you town. A more home grown approach to local cinema.
I guarantee these films will do well. If you're honest and hard working with them. Because if their routed in the town you know, about the people and places you know, they will relate in towns all over the world.
Just something to think about when you're starting out. Or looking for a new angle with your projects.
Addition: Money can also come from local businesses, or sponsorship in the form of food for crew etc. All for credit and press credit on websites etc.
The films are about the community, the town, the people, so in effect they promote the town and if the films travel they will do that on a global scale.