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The Academy should add an independent category to the Oscars

Not independent as in Little Miss Sunshine independent, but real independent, produced and distributed outside of Hollywood, like: Mutual Appreciation, The Debut, Jumping Off Bridges, Robot Stories, Head Trauma, Four Eyed Monsters, etc. The Oscars already have a foreign film category - for films made outside of the US & without (i think) Hollywood involvement to any significant degree (i may be wrong on that for certain "foreign" projects, but nevertheless, there is a line that separates domestic films from foreign films - thus the separate category in the Oscars). Certain Indiewood projects like Half Nelson are recognized by the Academy/A.M.P.A.S., but it would be cool if they added a complete new category for real indie/DIY movies - movies that were made completely outside the Hollywood/Indiewood system & are distributed outside that system. Now why would they want to do that you ask? So the Oscars would be more complete in recognizing domestic (US) filmmaking and distribution. And, real indie filmmaking is a talent pool from which Hollywood can draw from for future projects. Being nominated for an Oscar would make a new-to-Hollywood-filmmaking director & his/her Hollywood project perhaps an easier sell to the public and the media. If real indie filmmaking & distribution is recognized & supported by the Oscars, then the awards show & the Academy itself will become more relevant and more reflective of the total filmmaking picture in the US. The existence of the Gotham Awards and the Spirits Awards, and specially the real independent movies that those programs sometimes recognize, shows that there is more to awards show worthy relevant American filmmaking than what Hollywood puts out. Also the thousands of real indie movies that are recognized & celebrated at the hundreds of US indie film festivals each year are an argument in favor of adding an indie category to the Oscars. Because the material certainly exists, and recognizing some of the works at the Oscar stage could be useful to the film industry. Incorporating some of that real indieness would make the Oscars, the Academy and Hollywood itself more exciting and more hopeful. Excitement and hope, along with a great new movie and a fresh voice, can equal a lot of dollars in revenue, and also a lot of dollars worth of publicity and good will.

- Sujewa


Scilla said…
I whole heartedly agree with you! The academy should have a best independent film and best internet film category!

although there is the independent spirit awards which is pretty darn cool. I love what they are doing but I still think the Academy having a category would legitimize the indie storytelling.
Scilla Andreen
Co-Founder & Fellow Filmmaker
lucas said…

slightly off-topic, but not by much. partially inspired by some of your posts, i've decided to start a series of reviews/articles on DIY films (details here) as a means of helping promote them. i was wondering if you'd be interested in helping out, either by having me review Date Number One or something.

The Sujewa said…
Hey Scilla,

Thanks for checking out the blog entry & commenting. We can definitely use more awards programs that recognize real indie filmmaking/high quality ultra-low/"no" budget filmmaking. Specially flicks that are taking new paths to the audience. I don't have any great hope for Oscars creating a real indie film category, but luckily we can get our work done & out w/ or without the Oscars. But who knows, all things, as they say, are possible. Eventually :) Maybe one day we will see a $5K self-distributed fiction feature nominated for an Oscar.

- Sujewa
The Sujewa said…
Hey Lucas,

Great idea! Will mail you a Date Number One screener this month. I do need yer mailing address. E-mail me at Thanks! Will also visit yer blog & add a link to it from mine.

As zines were essential for building the punk/indie rock scene, blogs can be very useful for creating a more active real indie/ultra low budget film scene.
Specially blogs written by writers who will take the time to reflect as necessary & look with an open mind at ultra-low budget self-distributed movies & similar works.

- Sujewa

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