Create or Die could just as easily be called Filmmaking for Dummies. That's not meant as an insult. While not very invigorating as a movie, this documentary serves as a great introduction for aspiring filmmakers.
Director Sarah Massey focuses on David Axe, a prolific if admittedly unaccomplished director of such films Bae Wolf and There's Nothing in the Shed. These are extremely tiny features you've never heard of. Microbudget horror and fantasy flicks made with little hope of getting finished, let alone getting distribution.
But Axe and his faithful repertory players and crew have come together for Acorn, which he believes will be his very meta magnum opus. Create or Die lets all the major filmmakers share their exciting and deflating experiences, both on Acorn and past projects. Some of these anecdotes don't add up to much, but they're extremely useful to anyone hoping to follow in Axe's footsteps and try their hand at microbudget features.
While the film focuses on the nitty-gritty details of the challenges of making a movie, it doesn't focus nearly as much on some of the biggest obstacles: getting funding and securing distribution. While Axe's producer is correct in stating that film festivals aren't the golden ticket they used to be, some illumination on how Axe has been able to get the money to complete seven (admittedly bad) features to date would have been helpful.
There are certainly some parallels to American Movie, but Axe is no Mark Borchardt. He's far more competent but far less fascinating. Once again, this is more of a "I did it and so can you" success story than a "I can't believe the footage I got" failure story.
For most viewers, Create or Die will be a mildly entertaining diversion. But for aspiring filmmakers, it's an invaluable resource.
*This film is available on Amazon Prime, Tubi, and Roku.