The making of Broken: A manifesto for a democratised cinema

Author Identifiers

Damian Fasolo
ORCID: 0000-0001-9266-0572

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Arts and Humanities

First Advisor

Dr George Karpathakis


The enemy of art is the absence of limitations.

(Orson Welles cited in Hurbis-Cherrier, 2011, p. 16)

While much has been written on low budget independent film movements, there is little research on the correlations that exist between them, and in particular, the filmmaking approaches and techniques which significantly affect their final form. The key argument of this project is that, central to the critical success of any low budget film, is a filmmaker’s ability to transform the limitations imposed on them, and the constraints that they choose, into creative gain. Though it would appear to operate contrary to ordinary reasoning and intuition, constraint in an artistic context, is one of the filmmaker’s most powerful tools. The ensuing research and practice reveal how the implementation of this approach can, for example, bring about selfreflexivity and expressionism, political subversion, active viewing, and ambiguity. Furthermore, constraints are often used as a marketing tool to leverage a film’s status by creating a point of differentiation.

This exegesis examines the development of 20th century low budget movements which operated within a ‘manifesto of constraints’. Specifically, it seeks to identify filmmaking approaches of limitation, whether that be through strategies of constraint in budget, crewing, narrative form, and stylistic approach, and how these contributed to the critical success of the resulting work. In addition, there is an analysis on current trends in filmmaking practice, primarily resulting from a democratisation in technologies as well as new methods of funding, marketing and distribution.

By identifying shared commonalities of limitation among the movements and their manifestos, and by taking into account recent advancements in filmmaking practices, an informed, synthesised manifesto is subsequently devised. The creative film component of this research project, a no budget, semi-autobiographical feature film entitled Broken (Fasolo, 2017), is then produced, testing the rules set out in the synthesised manifesto. Finally, both the process of production and creative work are critically examined in light of the research; and as a result of the gaps identified through practice, a new manifesto is developed and presented for the 21st century democratised, no budget filmmaker.

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