DOGME 19 / by Michael T Vollmann

DOGME 19 - First Draft

A new filmmaking “VOW OF CHASTITY” for the modern age, to push back against the gloss-ification and inauthenticity of the contemporary narrative film.

  1. Shooting must be done on location.

  2. No more than 1 artificial cinematic light may be used. All other lights must be practical. Bounces are okay.

  3. Story and Emotion should always trump technique, cinematography or continuity.

  4. A single explosion OR gunshot may be permitted if absolutely necessary.

  5. When casting, embrace ugly over beauty. Non-actors — in their element — must be chosen over “trained” actors if greater authenticity and believability can be achieved.

  6. When editing, no additional shots or angles shall be employed than are necessary to construct a scene. Fewer is better.

  7. A film should strive for a length of 89 minutes. Never more than 110.

  8. Low contrast S-log looks or milky monochromatic color schemes should be avoided.

  9. Scripts may be be used, but improvisation, spontaneity and the use of serendipitous environmental elements should be highly encouraged.

  10. Careful consideration should be given to credits and credit order to ensure fairness and to provide the clearest representation of the weight of all creative contributors.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin  — Monday 20 May 2019

-Michael T Vollmann

There are a few other trends in cinema that I’d like to contrast or resist, but haven’t thought through how they should be worded into the manifesto. For example:

  • Third acts are becoming intolerably long with too many twists and explosions. I’ve added a “single-use” clause for explosions and guns, but this seems arbitrary. Wonder if there’s a more clear rule to enact.

  • Modern cinematic language is becoming more and more literal. If someone grabs for a gun, there must be a CU, if someone looks askance, we must see the reverse to know why. While watching some classic 60’s & 70’s movies I’ve noticed that wider less descriptive shots are often used to convey important plot information, but the lack of literal “beat-us-over-the-head-shots” left me confused, my mind searching. Not because the information was missing, but because the form was less hand-to-mouth. Our current hand-to-mouth language trains audiences to be dumber.

  • I’m also considering whether there should be a strict 2 lens policy. (Something wide-ish, and long lens when necessary). I’ve been reading about how many films over time were shot with a single lens. This is more of a stylistic choice, but one I’d likely employ on my own film.

Going to think through these more…