Saturday, November 25, 2006

The definition of Independent Film

Independent film = in the United States a movie made outside of Hollywood or Indiewood (divisions of Hollywood companies that deal with low budget movies) or without the assistance of large corporate or institutional support, a movie made for a very low budget (if you have a lot of money to spend on your film, the fact that it is made outside of Hollywood or Indiewood is largely irrelevant), a movie made by a person or a team of people unknown to/previously not well employed by Hollywood or Indiewood & a movie featuring actors unknown to/previously not well employed by Hollywood or Indiewood.

What is a low budget in late 2006? The independent film Dance Party, USA was reportedly made for $3,000. My independent movie Date Number One was made for under $10,000.
I would say around $50,000 or less for a digital video originated movie and around $200,000 or less for a film made using 16 MM motion picture film are low budgets for this point in time.

Is there an independent film aesthetic? Or is there one way that an indie films should or do look? No. An independent film can look like Casablanca (very polished looking) or it can look like The Living End (rough looking image & sound).

Can a film be good if it is not an independent film? Yes. Hollywood & Indiewood have made many excellent movies.

Is a film good just because it is an independent film? No. There are many independent films that are not well made and are not satisfying as art or entertainment.

Can a film be made independently and then be distributed through Hollywood or Indiewood? Yes. Stranger Than Paradise, Slacker, Clerks are all examples of that.

Can a film be made independently and be distributed independently? Yes. The Debut (theatrical only), Robot Stories (theatrical only), Head Trauma (theatrical and home/DVD) are examples of independent films being distributed independently, without the assistance of Hollywood or Indiewood.

Why is independent film important? Independent film allows people who are not employed by or favorably connected to Hollywood or indiewood make and distribute movies. Movies, motion pictures, are the most popular art form & the most popular choice for entertainment in our time, and thus it is important for there to be an avenue for ordinary people, non-Hollywood or non-Indiewood artists & entertainers, to use the motion picture medium to tell stories. Independent film can have a positive social impact and can offer better or additional entertainment options for consumers. Independent film is also a tool for self-empowerment for some and also for some a tool for building a business, building wealth, an income generating activity; which are all very positive things.

- Sujewa

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