Justin McConnell’s documentary, Clapboard Jungle: Surviving the Independent Film Business, spans a five year period in McConnell’s life as an indie filmmaker. It not only follows his tumultuous journey while trying to navigate the daunting inner workings of the film industry and what it takes to get a film made, but also features interviews from others within the industry such as Guillermo del Toro and George A. Romero, where they get to share their own experiences, frustrations and advice for future filmmakers. 

One of the hardest things in life to come to terms with is the fact that our dreams do not always match reality, such is the case for so many artists. Clapboard Jungle strips away any glitz and glamour associated with being a filmmaker and gives us a peek behind the curtain of what it’s actually like through McConnell’s personal experiences. Everyone can relate on some level to the difficulties that McConnell faced: feeling so passionate about something that you are pursuing yet getting disappointed seemingly at every turn, and the constant doubt that comes with that. However, as we follow McConnell through these five years, we learn along with him that this doubt and failure is essential in order to improve. 

Clapboard Jungle also gives insight into the actual process that goes into making a film, from sitting down and writing a screenplay, to financing it, and networking at festivals. This documentary can undoubtably be used as a tool for an aspiring filmmaker to learn more about their chosen path. 

This is an inspiring and very necessary documentary to serve as a reminder that there is hope for any filmmaker. McConnell equated filmmaking to being an endless climb; the important takeaway from Clapboard Jungle is to persevere through any failure experienced, learning and growing from these hardships instead of giving up.



CAST: Chris Alexander, Dave Alexander, Chad Archibald 

DIRECTOR: Justin McConnell

SYNOPSIS: Following five years of an independent filmmaker, one question is asked: how does an indie filmmaker survive in the current film business?