I can't imagine a more exciting time to be an independent filmmaker. This week, even Sony—yes, Sony—showed off a prototype "entry level 35mm" camcorder. In other words, their $100,000+ CineAltas could price compete with RED...or even lower?
Sony has not said much about the prototype—like specific resolution, codec support, dynamic range, etc—but they do promise that the camera will be available before this time next year, and they did promise it would be for "everybody." Keep in mind, however, that this announcement was made at the National Associations of Broadcasters Show (NAB). So "everybody" probably refers to local TV stations more than your starving artist friend/self.
Here's the current landscape: For under a grand, you can shoot beautiful, 24fps 1080p on a Canon t2i. For a bit over $5k, you can upgrade to something like Panasonic's interesting upcoming 4/3ds camcorder (or the cams from Sony/Canon/JVC/etc. Spend somewhere between $20k-40k, score a RED. Spend $60k+, score an ARRI Alexa. This is all before you reach six digits.