5 Films Made With (Relatively) Limited Budgets


The film industry like most other industries goes through various different stages of what’s hot and what’s not. The last few years have seen a mass migration back to using good old fashioned film, perhaps most notably J.J. Abrams decision to use it for the latest Star Wars as well as Quentin Tarantino for his latest release “The Hateful 8”.

We also see these trends in Indie and Arthouse filmmaking and right now the motto on everyone’s lips is “less is more”. Iphone cameras are shooting award winning indie films and new filmmakers are fast realising that it’s not about your kit, it’s about you, your ideas and the way you choose to tell the story that really matters!

Here at Reel HQ, we believe wholeheartedly in this statement and that’s why we encourage our participants to work with what they have rather than breaking the bank on expensive and needless gear.

To celebrate this revolution and get you in the mood for some Guerilla filmmaking, here are 5 great and popular films that were made with a relatively small budgets and extremely limited resources. All of these are well worth a watch! Enjoy!

Once – (2007) John Carney

Budget:$160,000

A modern-day musical about a busker and an immigrant and their eventful week in Dublin, as they write, rehearse and record songs that tell their love story. Starring Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova this film has a touching storyline and a beautiful soundtrack to boot, to date it has also been adapted for the west end and been shown in theatres across the UK

Night of the Living Dead – (1968) George A. Romero

Budget: $114,000

A group of people hide from bloodthirsty zombies in a farmhouse. One of the original zombie classics, this film made way for the zombie apocalypse genre with which is now adored worldwide. There is no doubt this film would have been inspiration for many of today’s most popular films and TV shows in this genre such as The Walking Dead, 28 days later and even comedy classic Shaun of the dead.

Super Size Me – (2004) Morgan Spurlock

Budget: $65,000

While examining the influence of the fast food industry, Morgan Spurlock personally explores the consequences on his health of a diet of solely McDonald’s food for one month. This influential and game changing documentary was made with a miniscule budget but is still today highly regarded as an important film for human health and wellbeing.

Clerks – (1994) Kevin Smith

Budget:$27,000

A day in the lives of two convenience clerks named Dante and Randal as they annoy customers, discuss movies, and play hockey on the store roof. The first of what would be a series of awesome films by Kevin Smith. The film was shot for almost nothing using the actual store Kevin worked at as the set.

The Room – (2003) Tommy Wiseau

Budget:$6m

Johnny is a successful banker who lives happily in a San Francisco townhouse with his fiancée, Lisa. One day, inexplicably, she gets bored of him and decides to seduce Johnny’s best friend, Mark. From there, nothing will be the same again.

This is the most expensive film on this list but $6i’m in hollywood terms is nothing. Despite having a budget 100 times bigger than any other film on this list, the room is a great example of how to completely blow a budget. This film is widely regarded as one of the worst films of all time but now has a huge cult following due to it’s hilariously stupid storyline and often nonsensical lines from equally crazy characters. Definitely an illustration of how not to spend 6 million bucks!


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