“No! I won’t.”

Remember that? If anybody reading this was not a stubborn kid at least once in your life, stop reading this. You won’t get it.

The next step toward grown-up-ness was probably a little better. It sounded like this: “No thank you. I’ll do it myself.”

Stubbornness became independence, eventually, if everything worked right in the growing up brain. And that’s a good thing.

The opposite of independence is mindless conformity. It is doing whatever “they” are doing, saying, thinking. Groupthink is the worst kind of mental suicide.

“I’ll do it myself” then had to become “I’ll think for myself.” And the funny thing is that when you think for yourself, you might wind up doing things that are different from everybody else. But it’s not because you are stubborn. It’s because you might have come up with a better idea than everybody else.

Independence can lead to originality, creativity, and ingenuity.

That’s why this week we invite you to the Chautauqua International Film Festival. The point is that every film maker in the festival is an Independent Film Maker.

The Indies are not Hollywood. The best ones are so creative and original that you’ll start to think of Hollywood as “plain vanilla.”

Interestingly enough, the Independent Film movement began in the most unlikely of places.

According to The Lights Film School, in 1908, The Motion Picture Patents Company (MPPC) was composed of the major American film companies, including Thomas Edison and Eastman Kodak, the leading maker of raw film stock. That East Coast group owned everything: film production, distribution, and exhibition, and they outlawed all competition. Non-members were called “independents.” They were banished from the film industry.

A rebellious bunch of the outcasts headed for the West Coast where the courts refused to enforce the MPPC’s jurisdiction.

Guess where those independent film makers set up shop. A sleepy little California village called Hollywood.

They were so successful; they eventually became the establishment. Today, anybody not connected to Hollywood is an Independent film maker. Things come around that go around.

What has never changed is the independent spirit that drives some independent thinkers to think and create for themselves

That independent spirit is still what you will see if you go to the Chautauqua International Film Festival. It will not be Hollywood, and if you like independent thinking, you’ll love every minute of it. And while you’re there, the bonus is that you will be able to meet the independent film makers themselves, unique and interesting people doing life and movies their own way.

Real art is not cookie-cutter art. Real art is not boring, and neither are the people who do it.

Enjoy the festival. And enjoy the read in Jamestown’s most independent newspaper, your Jamestown gazette.

Walt Pickut

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Walt Pickut
Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.