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Independent film

From Academic Kids

An independent film (or indie film) is a film initially produced without financing or distribution from a major movie studio. Creative, business, and technological reasons have all contributed to the growth of the indie film scene in the late 20th and early 21st century.

Creatively, it was becoming increasingly difficult to get studio backing for experimental films. Experimental elements in theme and style are inhibitors for the big studios.

On the business side, the costs of big-budget studio films also leads to conservative choices in cast and crew. The problem is exacerbated by the trend towards co-financing (over two-thirds of the films put out by Warner Bros. in 2000 were joint ventures, up from 10% in 1987). An unproven director is almost never given the opportunity to get his or her big break with the studios unless he or she has significant industry experience in film or television. Films with unknowns, particularly in lead roles, are also rarely produced.

Until the advent of digital alternatives, the cost of professional film equipment and stock was also a hurdle to being able to produce, direct, or star in a traditional studio film. The cost of 35mm film is outpacing inflation: in 2002 alone, film negative costs were up 23%, according to Variety. Film requires expensive lighting and post-production facilities.

But the advent of consumer camcorders in 1985, and more importantly, the arrival of high-resolution digital video in the early 1990s, have lowered the technology barrier to movie production significantly. Both production and post-production costs have been significantly lowered; today, the hardware and software for post-production can be installed in a commodity-based personal computer. Technologies such as DVDs, IEEE 1394 connections and non-linear editing system pro-level software like Adobe Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro, and consumer level software such as Final Cut Express and iMovie make movie-making relatively inexpensive.

Popular digital camcorders, mostly semi-professional equipment with 3-CCD technology, include:

Most of these cost between US $2,000 - 5,000 in 2003, with costs continuing to decline as features are added, and models depreciate.

Another key expense for independent movie makers is the music for the film. The licencesing fees for popular songs can range between US $10-20,000.

Anecdotal evidence for the difference between indie films and studio films abounds. The following example was taken from a guest on David Letterman's talk show in November 2003:

The scene "Amy opens the window" takes half a day and perhaps ten shots in a big studio production:
Amy walks to the window,
Window itself,
Amy touching the handle,
shot from outside the window, etc.
For independent film makers, that scene is one shot, and done before 9 a.m.

Independent movie-making has resulted in the proliferation of short films and short film festivals. Full-length films are often showcased at film festivals such as Robert Redford's Sundance Film Festival the Phoenix Film Festival and the Cannes Film Festival. Award winners from these exhibitions often get picked up for distribution by major film studios, and go on to worldwide releases.

Contents

Indie-producing studios

The following studios are considered to be the most prevalent of the independent studios (as of 11/2004): Lions Gate, MGM/UA, Fox Searchlight, Focus, Sony Classics, IDP, Warner Independent, Magnolia, Fine Line, Dimension, ThinkFilm, 4Kids Productions, and Saban Entertainment.

Note that many of the above studios are subsidiaries of larger studios -- for example, Sony Classics is owned by Sony Pictures and is designed to develop less commercial, more character driven films.

List of Known indies

sex, lies and videotape von Steven Soderbergh- 1989

El Mariachi von Robert Rodriguez - 1992

Clerks von Kevin Smith - 1994

See also

External links

ja:自主映画 nl:Indie (film

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