Independent film
Overview
An independent film, or indie film, is a professional film production resulting in a feature film
Feature film
In the film industry, a feature film is a film production made for initial distribution in theaters and being the main attraction of the screening, rather than a short film screened before it; a full length movie...

 that is produced mostly or completely outside of the major film studio system. In addition to being produced and distributed by independent entertainment companies, independent films are also produced and/or distributed by subsidiaries of major film studios. Independent films are sometimes distinguishable by their content and style and the way in which the filmmakers' personal artistic vision is realized.
Encyclopedia
An independent film, or indie film, is a professional film production resulting in a feature film
Feature film
In the film industry, a feature film is a film production made for initial distribution in theaters and being the main attraction of the screening, rather than a short film screened before it; a full length movie...

 that is produced mostly or completely outside of the major film studio system. In addition to being produced and distributed by independent entertainment companies, independent films are also produced and/or distributed by subsidiaries of major film studios. Independent films are sometimes distinguishable by their content and style and the way in which the filmmakers' personal artistic vision is realized. Usually, but not always, independent films are made with considerably lower film budgets than major studio films. Generally, the marketing of independent films is characterized by limited release
Limited release
Limited release is a term in the American motion picture industry for a motion picture that is playing in a select few theaters across the country ....

, but can also have major marketing campaigns and a wide release
Wide release
Wide release is a term in the American motion picture industry for a motion picture that is playing nationally . Specifically, a movie is considered to be in wide release when it is on 600 screens or more in the United States and Canada.In the US, films holding an NC-17 rating almost never have a...

. Independent films are often screened at local, national, or international film festivals before distribution (theatrical and/or retail release). An independent film production can rival a mainstream
Mainstream
Mainstream is, generally, the common current thought of the majority. However, the mainstream is far from cohesive; rather the concept is often considered a cultural construct....

 film production if it has the necessary funding and distribution.

Resistance to the Edison Trust

The roots of independent film can be traced back to the filmmakers in the 1900s who resisted the control of a trust
Trust (19th century)
A special trust or business trust is a business entity formed with intent to monopolize business, to restrain trade, or to fix prices. Trusts gained economic power in the U.S. in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Some, but not all, were organized as trusts in the legal sense...

 called the Motion Picture Patents Company
Motion Picture Patents Company
The Motion Picture Patents Company , founded in December 1908, was a trust of all the major American film companies , the leading film distributor and the biggest supplier of raw film stock, Eastman Kodak...

 or "Edison Trust."

The Motion Picture Patents Company, founded in December 1908, was a trust of all the major film companies (Edison
Edison Studios
Edison Studios was an American motion picture production company owned by the Edison Company of inventor Thomas Edison. The studio made close to 1,200 films as the Edison Manufacturing Company and Thomas A. Edison, Inc. until the studio's closing in 1918...

, Biograph
Biograph Studios
Biograph Studios was a studio facility and film laboratory complex built in 1912 by the Biograph Company, formerly American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, at 807 E. 175th Street, in the Bronx, New York....

, Vitagraph
Vitagraph Studios
American Vitagraph was a United States movie studio, founded by J. Stuart Blackton and Albert E. Smith in 1897 in Brooklyn, New York. By 1907 it was the most prolific American film production company, producing many famous silent films. It was bought by Warner Bros...

, Essanay
Essanay Studios
The Essanay Film Manufacturing Company was an American motion picture studio. It is best known today for its series of Charlie Chaplin comedies of 1915.-Founding:...

, Selig, Lubin
Lubin Studios
The Lubin Manufacturing Company, was an American motion picture production company that produced silent films from 1902 to 1916. Lubin films were distributed with a Liberty Bell trademark.-History:...

, Kalem, American Star
Georges Méliès
Georges Méliès , full name Marie-Georges-Jean Méliès, was a French filmmaker famous for leading many technical and narrative developments in the earliest cinema. He was very innovative in the use of special effects...

, American Pathé), the leading distributor (George Kleine) and the biggest supplier of raw film, Eastman Kodak
Eastman Kodak
Eastman Kodak Company is a multinational imaging and photographic equipment, materials and services company headquarted in Rochester, New York, United States. It was founded by George Eastman in 1892....

.

At the time of the formation of the MPPC, Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison
Thomas Alva Edison was an American inventor and businessman. He developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and a long-lasting, practical electric light bulb. In addition, he created the world’s first industrial...

 owned most of the major patent
Patent
A patent is a form of intellectual property. It consists of a set of exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state to an inventor or their assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for the public disclosure of an invention....

s relating to motion pictures, including that for raw film
Film stock
Film stock is photographic film on which filmmaking of motion pictures are shot and reproduced. The equivalent in television production is video tape.-1889–1899:...

. The MPPC vigorously enforced its patents, constantly bringing suits
Lawsuit
A lawsuit or "suit in law" is a civil action brought in a court of law in which a plaintiff, a party who claims to have incurred loss as a result of a defendant's actions, demands a legal or equitable remedy. The defendant is required to respond to the plaintiff's complaint...

 and receiving injunctions against independent filmmakers. Because of this, a number of filmmakers responded by building their own cameras and moving their operations to Hollywood, California, where the distance from Edison's home base of New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

 made it more difficult for the MPPC to enforce its patents.

The Edison Trust was soon ended by two decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

: one in 1912, which canceled the patent on raw film, and a second in 1915, which cancelled all MPPC patents. Though these decisions succeeded at legalizing independent film, they would do little to remedy the de facto
De facto
De facto is a Latin expression that means "concerning fact." In law, it often means "in practice but not necessarily ordained by law" or "in practice or actuality, but not officially established." It is commonly used in contrast to de jure when referring to matters of law, governance, or...

 ban on small productions; the independent filmmakers who had fled to Southern California
Southern California
Southern California is a megaregion, or megapolitan area, in the southern area of the U.S. state of California. Large urban areas include Greater Los Angeles and Greater San Diego. The urban area stretches along the coast from Ventura through the Southland and Inland Empire to San Diego...

 during the enforcement of the trust had already laid the groundwork for the studio system
Studio system
The studio system was a means of film production and distribution dominant in Hollywood from the early 1920s through the early 1960s. The term studio system refers to the practice of large motion picture studios producing movies primarily on their own filmmaking lots with creative personnel under...

 of classical Hollywood cinema
Classical Hollywood cinema
Classical Hollywood cinema or the classical Hollywood narrative, are terms used in film history which designates both a visual and sound style for making motion pictures and a mode of production used in the American film industry between roughly the 1910s and the early 1960s.Classical style is...

.

The studio system replaces Edison

In early 1910, director D.W. Griffith was sent by the Biograph Company
American Mutoscope and Biograph Company
The American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, was a motion picture company founded in 1895 and active until 1928. It was the first company in the United States devoted entirely to film production and exhibition, and for two decades was one of the most prolific, releasing over three thousand short...

 to the west coast with his acting troupe, consisting of actors Blanche Sweet, Lillian Gish
Lillian Gish
Lillian Diana Gish was an American stage, screen and television actress whose film acting career spanned 75 years, from 1912 to 1987....

, Mary Pickford
Mary Pickford
Mary Pickford was a Canadian-born motion picture actress, co-founder of the film studio United Artists and one of the original 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences...

, Lionel Barrymore
Lionel Barrymore
Lionel Barrymore was an American actor of stage, screen and radio. He won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in A Free Soul...

, and others. They started filming on a vacant lot near Georgia Street in downtown Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

. While there, the company decided to explore new territories, traveling several miles north to Hollywood, a little village that was friendly and enjoyed the movie company filming there. Griffith then filmed the first movie ever shot in Hollywood, In Old California, a Biograph melodrama about California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 in the 1800s, while it belonged to Mexico. Biograph stayed there for months and made several films before returning to New York.

During the Edison era of the early 1900s, many Jewish immigrants had found employment in the U.S. film industry. Under the Edison Trust, they were able to make their mark in a brand-new business: the exhibition of films in storefront theaters called nickelodeons
Nickelodeon movie theater
The Nickelodeon was a multi-purpose theater that was popular from about 1900 to 1914. Usually situated in converted storefronts, the Nickelodeon featured motion pictures, illustrated songs, slide shows and lectures...

. Within a few years, ambitious men like Samuel Goldwyn
Samuel Goldwyn
Samuel Goldwyn was an American film producer, and founding contributor executive of several motion picture studios.-Biography:...

, Carl Laemmle
Carl Laemmle
Carl Laemmle , born in Laupheim, Württemberg, Germany, was a pioneer in American film making and a founder of one of the original major Hollywood movie studios - Universal...

, Adolph Zukor
Adolph Zukor
Adolph Zukor , born Adolph Cukor, was a film mogul and founder of Paramount Pictures.-Early life:...

, Louis B. Mayer
Louis B. Mayer
Louis Burt Mayer born Lazar Meir was an American film producer. He is generally cited as the creator of the "star system" within Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in its golden years. Known always as Louis B...

, and the Warner Brothers
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., also known as Warner Bros. Pictures or simply Warner Bros. , is an American producer of film and television entertainment.One of the major film studios, it is a subsidiary of Time Warner, with its headquarters in Burbank,...

 (Harry, Albert, Samuel, and Jack) had switched to the production side of the business. After hearing about Biograph's success in Hollywood, in 1913 many such would-be movie-makers headed west to avoid the fees imposed by Edison. Soon they were the heads of a new kind of enterprise: the movie studio
Movie studio
A movie studio is a term used to describe a major entertainment company or production company that has its own privately owned studio facility or facilities that are used to film movies...

.

By establishing a new system of production, distribution, and exhibition which was independent of The Edison Trust in New York, these studios opened up new horizons for cinema in the United States
Cinema of the United States
The cinema of the United States, also known as Hollywood, has had a profound effect on cinema across the world since the early 20th century. Its history is sometimes separated into four main periods: the silent film era, classical Hollywood cinema, New Hollywood, and the contemporary period...

. The Hollywood oligopoly replaced the Edison monopoly. Within this new system, a pecking order
Pecking order
Pecking order or just peck order is the colloquial term for a hierarchical system of social organization in chickens. It was first described from the behaviour of poultry by Thorleif Schjelderup-Ebbe in 1921 under the German terms Hackordnung or Hackliste' ...

 was soon established which left little room for any newcomers. At the top were the five major studios, 20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation — also known as 20th Century Fox, or simply 20th or Fox — is one of the six major American film studios...

, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. is an American media company, involved primarily in the production and distribution of films and television programs. MGM was founded in 1924 when the entertainment entrepreneur Marcus Loew gained control of Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures Corporation and Louis B. Mayer...

, Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures Corporation is an American film production and distribution company, located at 5555 Melrose Avenue in Hollywood. Founded in 1912 and currently owned by media conglomerate Viacom, it is America's oldest existing film studio; it is also the last major film studio still...

, RKO Pictures
RKO Pictures
RKO Pictures is an American film production and distribution company. As RKO Radio Pictures Inc., it was one of the Big Five studios of Hollywood's Golden Age. The business was formed after the Keith-Albee-Orpheum theater chains and Joseph P...

, and Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., also known as Warner Bros. Pictures or simply Warner Bros. , is an American producer of film and television entertainment.One of the major film studios, it is a subsidiary of Time Warner, with its headquarters in Burbank,...

 Beneath them were Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. is an American film production and distribution company. Columbia Pictures now forms part of the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment, a subsidiary of the Japanese conglomerate Sony. It is one of the leading film companies...

, United Artists
United Artists
United Artists Corporation is an American film studio. The original studio of that name was founded in 1919 by D. W. Griffith, Charles Chaplin, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks....

, and Universal Studios
Universal Studios
Universal Pictures , a subsidiary of NBCUniversal, is one of the six major movie studios....

. Finally there was "Poverty Row
Poverty Row
Poverty Row is a slang term used in Hollywood from the late silent period through the mid-fifties to refer to a variety of small and mostly short-lived B movie studios...

," a catch all term used to encompass any other smaller studio that managed to fight their way up into the increasingly exclusive movie business. It is worth noting that though the small studios that made up Poverty Row could be characterized as existing "independently" of any major studio, they utilized the same kind of vertically and horizontally integrated systems of business as the larger players in the game. Though the eventual breakup of the studio system and its restrictive chain-theater distribution network would leave independent movie houses eager for the kind of populist, seat-filling product of the Poverty Row studios, that same paradigm shift would also lead to the decline and ultimate disappearance of "Poverty Row" as a Hollywood phenomenon. While the kinds of films produced by Poverty Row studios only grew in popularity, they would eventually become increasingly available both from major production companies and from independent producers who no longer needed to rely on a studio's ability to package and release their work.

The following table illustrates the categories commonly used to characterize the Hollywood system.
The Big Five majors The Little Three majors Poverty Row (top four of many)
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. is an American media company, involved primarily in the production and distribution of films and television programs. MGM was founded in 1924 when the entertainment entrepreneur Marcus Loew gained control of Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures Corporation and Louis B. Mayer...

United Artists
United Artists
United Artists Corporation is an American film studio. The original studio of that name was founded in 1919 by D. W. Griffith, Charles Chaplin, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks....

Grand National
Grand National Films Inc.
Grand National Films, Inc or Grand National Pictures was an American motion picture company in operation from 1936-1939. The company has no relation to the British Grand National Pictures.-History and releases:...

Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures Corporation is an American film production and distribution company, located at 5555 Melrose Avenue in Hollywood. Founded in 1912 and currently owned by media conglomerate Viacom, it is America's oldest existing film studio; it is also the last major film studio still...

Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. is an American film production and distribution company. Columbia Pictures now forms part of the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment, a subsidiary of the Japanese conglomerate Sony. It is one of the leading film companies...

Republic Pictures
Republic Pictures
Republic Pictures was an independent film production-distribution corporation with studio facilities, operating from 1934 through 1959, and was best known for specializing in westerns, movie serials and B films emphasizing mystery and action....

20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation — also known as 20th Century Fox, or simply 20th or Fox — is one of the six major American film studios...

Universal Studios
Universal Studios
Universal Pictures , a subsidiary of NBCUniversal, is one of the six major movie studios....

Monogram Pictures
Monogram Pictures
Monogram Pictures Corporation is a Hollywood studio that produced and released films, most on low budgets, between 1931 and 1953, when the firm completed a transition to the name Allied Artists Pictures Corporation. Monogram is considered a leader among the smaller studios sometimes referred to...

Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., also known as Warner Bros. Pictures or simply Warner Bros. , is an American producer of film and television entertainment.One of the major film studios, it is a subsidiary of Time Warner, with its headquarters in Burbank,...

Producers Releasing Corporation (aka PRC)
Producers Releasing Corporation
Producers Releasing Corporation was one of the more lower-end Hollywood film studios on Poverty Row from the late '30s to the mid-'40s. PRC, as it was commonly known, made low-budget B-movies for the lower-half of a double bill. A few of its films have gained a respectable reputation over the...

RKO Pictures
RKO Pictures
RKO Pictures is an American film production and distribution company. As RKO Radio Pictures Inc., it was one of the Big Five studios of Hollywood's Golden Age. The business was formed after the Keith-Albee-Orpheum theater chains and Joseph P...


United Artists and the resistance to the studio system

The studio system quickly became so powerful that some filmmakers once again sought independence as a result. On February 5, 1919 four of the leading figures in American silent cinema (Mary Pickford
Mary Pickford
Mary Pickford was a Canadian-born motion picture actress, co-founder of the film studio United Artists and one of the original 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences...

, Charles Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks
Douglas Fairbanks
Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. was an American actor, screenwriter, director and producer. He was best known for his swashbuckling roles in silent films such as The Thief of Bagdad, Robin Hood, and The Mark of Zorro....

, and D. W. Griffith
D. W. Griffith
David Llewelyn Wark Griffith was a premier pioneering American film director. He is best known as the director of the controversial and groundbreaking 1915 film The Birth of a Nation and the subsequent film Intolerance .Griffith's film The Birth of a Nation made pioneering use of advanced camera...

) formed United Artists, the first independent studio in America. Each held a 20% stake, with the remaining 20% held by lawyer William Gibbs McAdoo
William Gibbs McAdoo
William Gibbs McAdoo, Jr. was an American lawyer and political leader who served as a U.S. Senator, United States Secretary of the Treasury and director of the United States Railroad Administration...

. The idea for the venture originated with Fairbanks, Chaplin, Pickford, and cowboy star William S. Hart
William S. Hart
William Surrey Hart was an American silent film actor, screenwriter, director and producer. He is remembered for having "imbued all of his characters with honor and integrity."-Biography:...

 a year earlier as they were traveling around the U.S. selling Liberty bond
Liberty bond
A Liberty Bond was a war bond that was sold in the United States to support the allied cause in World War I. Subscribing to the bonds became a symbol of patriotic duty in the United States and introduced the idea of financial securities to many citizens for the first time. The Act of Congress which...

s to help the World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 effort. Already veterans of Hollywood, the four film stars
Movie star
A movie star is a celebrity who is well-known, or famous, for his or her starring, or leading, roles in motion pictures. The term may also apply to an actor or actress who is recognized as a marketable commodity and whose name is used to promote a movie in trailers and posters...

 began to talk of forming their own company to better control their own work as well as their futures. They were spurred on by the actions of established Hollywood producers and distributors, who were making moves to tighten their control over their stars' salaries and creative license. With the addition of Griffith, planning began, but Hart bowed out before things had formalized. When he heard about their scheme, Richard A. Rowland
Richard A. Rowland
Richard A. Rowland was an American studio executive and film producer.-Career:Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Rowland was the head of Metro Pictures Corporation from 1915 to 1920, a studio he founded in 1915 along with Louis B. Mayer. Mayer left in 1918 to form his own studio...

, head of Metro Pictures
Metro Pictures
Metro Pictures Corporation was an American motion picture production company founded in late 1915 by Richard A. Rowland . Louis B. Mayer who worked for Metro Pictures Corporation early on. It is not to be confused with MGM which is a much later franchise concerning itself, Goldwyn and Louis B....

, is said to have observed, "The inmates are taking over the asylum."

The four partners, with advice from McAdoo (son-in-law and former Treasury Secretary of then-President Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson
Thomas Woodrow Wilson was the 28th President of the United States, from 1913 to 1921. A leader of the Progressive Movement, he served as President of Princeton University from 1902 to 1910, and then as the Governor of New Jersey from 1911 to 1913...

), formed their distribution company, with Hiram Abrams
Hiram Abrams
Hiram Abrams was an early American movie mogul and one of the first presidents of Paramount Pictures and the first managing director of United Artists.- Biography :...

 as its first managing director. The original terms called for Pickford, Fairbanks, Griffith and Chaplin to independently produce five pictures each year, but by the time the company got under way in 1920-1921, feature films were becoming more expensive and more polished, and running times had settled at around ninety minutes (or eight reels). It was believed that no one, no matter how popular, could produce and star in five quality feature films a year. By 1924, Griffith had dropped out and the company was facing a crisis: either bring in others to help support a costly distribution system or concede defeat. The veteran producer Joseph Schenck
Joseph Schenck
Joseph Michael Schenck was a pioneer executive who played a key role in the development of the United States film industry.Born in Rybinsk, Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia to a Jewish household, he and his family-including younger brother Nicholas- emigrated to New York City in 1893, he and Nicholas...

 was hired as president. Not only had he been producing pictures for a decade, but he brought along commitments for films starring his wife, Norma Talmadge
Norma Talmadge
Norma Talmadge was an American actress and film producer of the silent era. A major box office draw for more than a decade, her career reached a peak in the early 1920s, when she ranked among the most popular idols of the American screen.Her most famous film was Smilin’ Through , but she also...

, his sister-in-law, Constance Talmadge
Constance Talmadge
Constance Talmadge was a silent movie star born in Brooklyn, New York, USA, and was the sister of fellow actresses Norma Talmadge and Natalie Talmadge.-Early life:...

, and his brother-in-law, Buster Keaton
Buster Keaton
Joseph Frank "Buster" Keaton was an American comic actor, filmmaker, producer and writer. He was best known for his silent films, in which his trademark was physical comedy with a consistently stoic, deadpan expression, earning him the nickname "The Great Stone Face".Keaton was recognized as the...

. Contracts were signed with a letter of independent producers, especially Samuel Goldwyn
Samuel Goldwyn
Samuel Goldwyn was an American film producer, and founding contributor executive of several motion picture studios.-Biography:...

, Alexander Korda
Alexander Korda
Sir Alexander Korda was a Hungarian-born British producer and film director. He was a leading figure in the British film industry, the founder of London Films and the owner of British Lion Films, a film distributing company.-Life and career:The elder brother of filmmakers Zoltán Korda and Vincent...

 and Howard Hughes
Howard Hughes
Howard Robard Hughes, Jr. was an American business magnate, investor, aviator, engineer, film producer, director, and philanthropist. He was one of the wealthiest people in the world...

. Schenck also formed a separate partnership with Pickford and Chaplin to buy and build theaters under the United Artists name.

Still, even with a broadening of the company, UA struggled. The coming of sound
Sound film
A sound film is a motion picture with synchronized sound, or sound technologically coupled to image, as opposed to a silent film. The first known public exhibition of projected sound films took place in Paris in 1900, but decades would pass before sound motion pictures were made commercially...

 ended the careers of Pickford and Fairbanks. Chaplin, rich enough to do what he pleased, worked only occasionally. Schenck resigned in 1933 to organize a new company with Darryl F. Zanuck
Darryl F. Zanuck
Darryl Francis Zanuck was an American producer, writer, actor, director and studio executive who played a major part in the Hollywood studio system as one of its longest survivors...

, Twentieth Century Pictures, which soon provided four pictures a year to UA's schedule. He was replaced as president by sales manager Al Lichtman
Al Lichtman
Alexander "Al" Lichtman was a businessman working in the motion picture industry. He also occasionally worked as a film producer. Born in Monok, Hungary. His parents were Joseph Lichtman and Pepe Zuckermandel. Lichtman has a "Star" on the Hollywood Walk of Fame...

 who himself resigned after only a few months. Pickford produced a few films, and at various times Goldwyn, Korda, Walt Disney
Walt Disney
Walter Elias "Walt" Disney was an American film producer, director, screenwriter, voice actor, animator, entrepreneur, entertainer, international icon, and philanthropist, well-known for his influence in the field of entertainment during the 20th century. Along with his brother Roy O...

, Walter Wanger
Walter Wanger
Walter Wanger was an American film producer. An intellectual and a socially conscious movie executive who produced provocative message movies and glittering romantic melodramas, Wanger's career began at Paramount Pictures in the 1920s and led him to work at virtually every major studio as either a...

, and David O. Selznick
David O. Selznick
David O. Selznick was an American film producer. He is best known for having produced Gone with the Wind and Rebecca , both of which earned him an Oscar for Best Picture.-Early years:...

 were made "producing partners" (i.e., sharing in the profits), but ownership still rested with the founders. As the years passed and the dynamics of the business changed, these "producing partners" drifted away. Goldwyn and Disney left for RKO, Wanger for Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures
-1920:* White Youth* The Flaming Disc* Am I Dreaming?* The Dragon's Net* The Adorable Savage* Putting It Over* The Line Runners-1921:* The Fire Eater* A Battle of Wits* Dream Girl* The Millionaire...

, and Selznick for retirement
Retirement
Retirement is the point where a person stops employment completely. A person may also semi-retire by reducing work hours.Many people choose to retire when they are eligible for private or public pension benefits, although some are forced to retire when physical conditions don't allow the person to...

. By the late 1940s, United Artists had virtually ceased to exist as either a producer or distributor.

The Society of Independent Motion Picture Producers

In 1941, Mary Pickford
Mary Pickford
Mary Pickford was a Canadian-born motion picture actress, co-founder of the film studio United Artists and one of the original 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences...

, Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin
Sir Charles Spencer "Charlie" Chaplin, KBE was an English comic actor, film director and composer best known for his work during the silent film era. He became the most famous film star in the world before the end of World War I...

, Walt Disney
Walt Disney
Walter Elias "Walt" Disney was an American film producer, director, screenwriter, voice actor, animator, entrepreneur, entertainer, international icon, and philanthropist, well-known for his influence in the field of entertainment during the 20th century. Along with his brother Roy O...

, Orson Welles
Orson Welles
George Orson Welles , best known as Orson Welles, was an American film director, actor, theatre director, screenwriter, and producer, who worked extensively in film, theatre, television and radio...

, Samuel Goldwyn
Samuel Goldwyn
Samuel Goldwyn was an American film producer, and founding contributor executive of several motion picture studios.-Biography:...

, David O. Selznick
David O. Selznick
David O. Selznick was an American film producer. He is best known for having produced Gone with the Wind and Rebecca , both of which earned him an Oscar for Best Picture.-Early years:...

, Alexander Korda
Alexander Korda
Sir Alexander Korda was a Hungarian-born British producer and film director. He was a leading figure in the British film industry, the founder of London Films and the owner of British Lion Films, a film distributing company.-Life and career:The elder brother of filmmakers Zoltán Korda and Vincent...

, and Walter Wanger
Walter Wanger
Walter Wanger was an American film producer. An intellectual and a socially conscious movie executive who produced provocative message movies and glittering romantic melodramas, Wanger's career began at Paramount Pictures in the 1920s and led him to work at virtually every major studio as either a...

—many of the same people who were members of United Artists—founded the Society of Independent Motion Picture Producers. Later members included William Cagney, Sol Lesser, and Hal Roach
Hal Roach
Harold Eugene "Hal" Roach, Sr. was an American film and television producer and director, and from the 1910s to the 1990s.- Early life and career :Hal Roach was born in Elmira, New York...

. The Society aimed to preserve the rights of independent producers in an industry overwhelmingly controlled by the studio system. SIMPP fought to end monopolistic practices by the five major Hollywood studios which controlled the production, distribution, and exhibition of films.

In 1942, the SIMPP filed an antitrust suit against Paramount's United Detroit Theatres. The complaint accused Paramount of conspiracy to control first-run and subsequent-run theaters in Detroit. It was the first antitrust suit brought by producers against exhibitors alleging monopoly and restraint of trade.

In 1948, the United States Supreme Court Paramount Decision ordered the Hollywood movie studios to sell their theater chains and to eliminate certain anti-competitive practices. This effectively brought an end to the studio system of Hollywood's Golden Age.

By 1958, many of the reasons for creating the SIMPP had been corrected and SIMPP closed its offices.

Low-budget films

The efforts of the SIMPP and the advent of inexpensive portable cameras during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 effectively made it possible for any person in America with an interest in making films to write, produce, and direct one without the aide of any major film studio. These circumstances soon resulted in a number of critically acclaimed and highly influential works, including Maya Deren
Maya Deren
Maya Deren , born Eleanora Derenkowsky, was an American avant-garde filmmaker and film theorist of the 1940s and 1950s...

's Meshes of the Afternoon
Meshes of the Afternoon
Meshes of the Afternoon is a short experimental film directed by wife and husband team, Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid. The film's narrative is circular, and repeats a number of psychologically symbolic images, including a flower on a long driveway, a key falling, a door unlocked, a knife in a...

in 1943, Kenneth Anger's Fireworks
Fireworks (1947 film)
Fireworks is a homoerotic experimental film by Kenneth Anger. Filmed in his parents' Beverly Hills, California, home over a long weekend while they were away, the film stars Anger and explicitly explores themes of homosexuality and sado-masochism...

in 1947, and Morris Engel, Ruth Orkin and Ray Abrashkin's Little Fugitive
Little Fugitive
Little Fugitive is a 1953 film written and directed by Raymond Abrashkin , Morris Engel and Ruth Orkin, that tells the story of a child alone at Coney Island....

in 1953. Filmmakers such as Ken Jacobs
Ken Jacobs
Ken Jacobs is an American experimental filmmaker. He is the director of Tom, Tom, The Piper's Son , which was admitted to the National Film Registry in 2007, and Star Spangled to Death , a nearly seven hour film consisting largely of found footage.He coined the term paracinema in the early 1970s,...

 with little or no formal training began to experiment with new ways of making and shooting films.

Little Fugitive became the first independent film to be nominated for Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay at the American Academy Awards. It also received Silver Lion at Venice
Venice Film Festival
The Venice International Film Festival is the oldest international film festival in the world. Founded by Count Giuseppe Volpi in 1932 as the "Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte Cinematografica", the festival has since taken place every year in late August or early September on the island of the...

. Both Engel and Anger's films won acclaim overseas from the burgeoning French New Wave
French New Wave
The New Wave was a blanket term coined by critics for a group of French filmmakers of the late 1950s and 1960s, influenced by Italian Neorealism and classical Hollywood cinema. Although never a formally organized movement, the New Wave filmmakers were linked by their self-conscious rejection of...

, with Fireworks inspiring praise and an invitation to study under him in Europe from Jean Cocteau
Jean Cocteau
Jean Maurice Eugène Clément Cocteau was a French poet, novelist, dramatist, designer, playwright, artist and filmmaker. His circle of associates, friends and lovers included Kenneth Anger, Pablo Picasso, Jean Hugo, Jean Marais, Henri Bernstein, Marlene Dietrich, Coco Chanel, Erik Satie, María...

, and François Truffaut
François Truffaut
François Roland Truffaut was an influential film critic and filmmaker and one of the founders of the French New Wave. In a film career lasting over a quarter of a century, he remains an icon of the French film industry. He was also a screenwriter, producer, and actor working on over twenty-five...

 citing Little Fugitive as an essential inspiration to his seminal work, The 400 Blows
The 400 Blows
The 400 Blows is a 1959 French film directed by François Truffaut. One of the defining films of the French New Wave, it displays many of the characteristic traits of the movement. The story revolves around Antoine Doinel, an ordinary adolescent in Paris, who is thought by his parents and teachers...

. As the 1950s progressed, the new low-budget paradigm of filmmaking gained increased recognition internationally, with films such Satyajit Ray
Satyajit Ray
Satyajit Ray was an Indian Bengali filmmaker. He is regarded as one of the greatest auteurs of 20th century cinema. Ray was born in the city of Kolkata into a Bengali family prominent in the world of arts and literature...

's critically acclaimed Apu Trilogy
Apu trilogy
The Apu Trilogy is a trilogy consisting of three Bengali films directed by Satyajit Ray: Pather Panchali , Aparajito and Apur Sansar . The films — completed 1955-1959 — were based on two Bengali novels written by Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay: Pather Panchali and Aparajito...

(1955–1959).

Unlike films of the collapsing studio system, these new low-budget films could afford to take risks and explore new artistic territory outside of the classical Hollywood narrative. Maya Deren was soon joined in New York by a crowd of like minded avant-garde filmmakers who were interested in creating films as works of art rather than entertainment. Based upon a common belief that the "official cinema" was "running out of breath" and had become "morally corrupt, aesthetically obsolete, thematically superficial, [and] temperamentally boring,", this new crop of independents formed The Film-Makers' Cooperative
The Film-Makers' Cooperative
The Film-Makers' Cooperative aka The New American Cinema Group is an artist-run, non-profit organization which was founded in 1962 in New York City by Jonas Mekas, Shirley Clarke, Stan Brakhage, Gregory Markopoulos, Lloyd Michael Williams and other filmmakers to distribute avant-garde films through...

, an artist-run, non-profit organization which they would use to distribute their films through a centralized archive. Founded in 1962 by Jonas Mekas
Jonas Mekas
Jonas Mekas is a Lithuanian-born American filmmaker, writer, and curator who has often been called "the godfather of American avant-garde cinema." His work has been exhibited in museums and festivals across Europe and America.-Biography:...

, Stan Brakhage
Stan Brakhage
James Stanley Brakhage , better known as Stan Brakhage, was an American non-narrative filmmaker who is considered to be one of the most important figures in 20th century experimental film....

, Shirley Clarke
Shirley Clarke
Shirley Clarke was an American independent filmmaker.-Early life:Born Shirley Brimberg in New York City, Shirley Clarke was the daughter of a Polish-immigrant father who made his fortune in manufacturing. Her mother was the daughter of a multimillionaire Jewish manufacturer and inventor. Her...

, Gregory Markopoulos
Gregory Markopoulos
Gregory J. Markopoulos was a Greek-American experimental filmmaker. Born in Toledo, Ohio to Greek immigrant parents, Markopoulos began making 8 mm films at an early age. He attended USC Film School in the late 1940s, and went on to become a co-founder — with Jonas Mekas, Shirley Clarke, Stan...

, and others, the Cooperative provided an important outlet for many of cinema's creative luminaries in the 1960s, including Jack Smith
Jack Smith (film director)
Jack Smith was an American filmmaker, actor, and pioneer of underground cinema...

 and Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol
Andrew Warhola , known as Andy Warhol, was an American painter, printmaker, and filmmaker who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art...

. When he returned to America, Ken Anger would debut many of his most important works there. Mekas and Brakhage would go on to found the Anthology Film Archives
Anthology Film Archives
__notoc__Anthology Film Archives is a film archive and theater located at 32 Second Avenue on the corner of East Second Street in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City devoted to the preservation and exhibition of experimental film. It is the only non-profit organization of its...

 in 1970, which would likewise prove essential to the development and preservation of independent films, even to this day.

The exploitation boom and the MPAA rating system

Not all low budget films existed as non-commercial art ventures. The success of films like Little Fugitive, which had been made with low (or sometimes non-existent
No budget film
A no budget film is a produced film made with very little, or no money.Young directors starting out in filmmaking commonly use this method because there are few other options available to them at that point. All the actors and technicians are employed without remuneration, and the films are largely...

) budgets encouraged a huge boom in popularity for non-studio films. Low budget film making promised exponentially greater returns (in terms of percentages) if the film could have a successful run in the theaters. During this time, independent producer/director Roger Corman
Roger Corman
Roger William Corman is an American film producer, director and actor. He has mostly worked on low-budget B movies. Some of Corman's work has an established critical reputation, such as his cycle of films adapted from the tales of Edgar Allan Poe, and in 2009 he won an Honorary Academy Award for...

 began a sweeping body of work that would become legendary for its frugality and grueling shooting schedule. Until his so-called "retirement" as a director in 1971 (he continued to produce films even after this date) he would produce up to seven movies a year, matching and often exceeding the five-per-year schedule that the executives at United Artists had once thought impossible.

Like those of the avante-garde, the films of Roger Corman took advantage of the fact that unlike the studio system, independent films had never been bound by its self-imposed production code
Production Code
The Motion Picture Production Code was the set of industry moral censorship guidelines that governed the production of the vast majority of United States motion pictures released by major studios from 1930 to 1968. It is also popularly known as the Hays Code, after Hollywood's chief censor of the...

. Corman's example (and that of others like him) would help start a boom in independent B-movies
B movies (The exploitation boom)
The 1960s and 1970s mark the golden age of the independent B movie, made outside of Hollywood's major film studios. As censorship pressures lifted in the early 1960s, the low-budget end of the American motion picture industry increasingly incorporated the sort of sexual and violent elements long...

 in the 1960s, the principal aim of which was to bring in the youth market
Youth marketing
Youth Marketing is a term used in the marketing and advertising industry to describe activities to communicate with young people, typically in the age range of 12 to 34...

 which the major studios had lost touch with. By promising sex
Sex in film
Sex in film refers to the presentation in motion pictures of sexuality and sex acts, including love scenes. Sex scenes have been depicted in film since the silent era of cinematography. Many actors and actresses have exposed parts of their bodies or dressed and behaved in ways considered sexually...

, wanton violence, drug use, and nudity
Nudity in film
Nudity in film is any presentation in motion pictures of people while naked or wearing less clothing than contemporary norms consider modest. Many actors and actresses have appeared nude, or exposing parts of their bodies or dressed in ways considered provocative by contemporary standards at some...

, these films hoped to draw audiences to independent theaters by offering to show them what the major studios could not. Horror and science fiction films experienced a period of tremendous growth during this time. As these tiny producers, theaters, and distributors continued to attempt to undercut one another, the B-grade shlock film soon fell to the level of the Z movie
Z movie
The term Z movie arose in the mid-1960s as an informal description of certain unequivocally non-A films. It was soon adopted to characterize low-budget pictures with quality standards well below those of most B movies and even so-called C movies...

, a niche category of films with production values so low that they became a spectacle in their own right. The cult audiences these pictures attracted soon made them ideal candidates for midnight movie screenings revolving around audience participation and cosplay
Cosplay
, short for "costume play", is a type of performance art in which participants don costumes and accessories to represent a specific character or idea. Characters are often drawn from popular fiction in Japan, but recent trends have included American cartoons and science fiction...

.

In 1968, a young filmmaker named George A. Romero
George A. Romero
George Andrew Romero is a Canadian-American film director, screenwriter and editor, best known for his gruesome and satirical horror films about a hypothetical zombie apocalypse. He is nicknamed "Godfather of all Zombies." -Life and career:...

 shocked audiences with Night of the Living Dead
Night of the Living Dead
Night of the Living Dead is a 1968 American independent black-and-white zombie film and cult film directed by George A. Romero, starring Duane Jones, Judith O'Dea and Karl Hardman. It premiered on October 1, 1968, and was completed on a USD$114,000 budget. After decades of cinematic re-releases, it...

, a new kind of intense and unforgiving independent horror film. This film was released just after the abandonment of the production code, but before the adoption of the MPAA rating system. As such, it was the first and last film of its kind to enjoy a completely unrestricted screening, in which young children were able to witness Romero's new brand of highly realistic gore. This film would help to set the climate of independent horror for decades to come, as films like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is a 1974 American independent horror film directed and produced by Tobe Hooper, who cowrote it with Kim Henkel. It stars Marilyn Burns, Paul A. Partain, Edwin Neal, Jim Siedow, and Gunnar Hansen, who respectively portray Sally Hardesty, Franklin Hardesty, the...

in 1974 and Cannibal Holocaust
Cannibal Holocaust
Cannibal Holocaust is a 1980 Italian horror film directed by Ruggero Deodato from a screenplay by Gianfranco Clerici. Filmed in the Amazon Rainforest and dealing with indigenous tribes, it was cast mostly with United States actors and filmed in English to achieve wider distribution...

in 1980 continued to push the envelope.

With the production code abandoned and violent and disturbing films like Romero's gaining popularity, Hollywood opted to placate the uneasy filmgoing public with the MPAA ratings system, which would place restrictions on ticket sales to young people. Unlike the production code, this rating system posed a threat to independent films in that it would affect the number of tickets they could sell and cut into the grindhouse
Grindhouse
A grindhouse is an American term for a theater that mainly shows exploitation films. It is named after the defunct burlesque theaters located on 42nd Street in New York City, where 'bump n' grind' dancing and striptease were featured.- History :...

 cinema's share of the youth market. This change would further widen the divide between commercial and non-commercial films.

New Hollywood and independent filmmaking

Following the advent of television
Television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

 and the Paramount Case
United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc.
United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc., 334 US 131 was a landmark United States Supreme Court anti-trust case that decided the fate of movie studios owning their own theatres and holding exclusivity rights on which theatres would...

, the major studios attempted to lure audiences with spectacle. Screen gimmicks, Widescreen
Widescreen
Widescreen images are a variety of aspect ratios used in film, television and computer screens. In film, a widescreen film is any film image with a width-to-height aspect ratio greater than the standard 1.37:1 Academy aspect ratio provided by 35mm film....

 processes and technical improvements, such as Cinemascope
CinemaScope
CinemaScope was an anamorphic lens series used for shooting wide screen movies from 1953 to 1967. Its creation in 1953, by the president of 20th Century-Fox, marked the beginning of the modern anamorphic format in both principal photography and movie projection.The anamorphic lenses theoretically...

, stereo
STEREO
STEREO is a solar observation mission. Two nearly identical spacecraft were launched into orbits that cause them to respectively pull farther ahead of and fall gradually behind the Earth...

 sound, 3-D and others, were invented in order to retain the dwindling audience by giving them a larger-than-life experience.

The 1950s and early 1960s saw a Hollywood dominated by musicals, historical epics, and other films which benefited from these advances. This proved commercially viable during most of the 1950s. However, by the late 1960s, audience share was dwindling at an alarming rate. Several costly flops, including Cleopatra
Cleopatra (1963 film)
Cleopatra is a 1963 British-American-Swiss epic drama film directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. The screenplay was adapted by Sidney Buchman, Ben Hecht, Ranald MacDougall, and Mankiewicz from a book by Carlo Maria Franzero. The film starred Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Rex Harrison, Roddy...

and Hello, Dolly! put severe strain on the studios. Meanwhile, in 1951, lawyers-turned-producers Arthur Krim and Robert Benjamin
Robert Benjamin
Robert Saul Benjamin . Robert Benjamin was a founding partner of the movie-litigation firm Phillips, Nizer, Benjamin, Krim & Ballon. With his longtime friend and partner, Arthur Krim, he took over United Artists in 1951...

 had made a deal with the remaining stockholders of United Artists which would allow them to make an attempt to revive the company and, if the attempt was successful, buy it after five years. The attempt was a success, and in 1955 United Artists became the first "studio" without an actual studio. UA leased space at the Pickford/Fairbanks Studio, but did not own a studio lot as such. Because of this, many of their films would be shot on location. Primarily acting as bankers, they offered money to independent producers. Thus UA did not have the overhead, the maintenance or the expensive production staff which ran up costs at other studios. UA went public in 1956, and as the other mainstream studios fell into decline, UA prospered, adding relationships with the Mirisch
Mirisch
Mirisch is a Jewish family name:* Harold Mirisch * Marvin Mirisch * Walter Mortimer Mirisch , American film producer of Polish Jewish descent* Irving Mirisch* Lawrence Mirisch- See also :...

 brothers, Billy Wilder
Billy Wilder
Billy Wilder was an Austro-Hungarian born American filmmaker, screenwriter, producer, artist, and journalist, whose career spanned more than 50 years and 60 films. He is regarded as one of the most brilliant and versatile filmmakers of Hollywood's golden age...

, Joseph E. Levine
Joseph E. Levine
Joseph E. Levine was an American film producer.He was born in Boston, Massachusetts. His Embassy Pictures Corporation was an independent studio and distributor responsible for such films as Hercules , The Carpetbaggers, Harlow, The Graduate, A Bridge Too Far and The Lion in Winter.Levine is famous...

 and others.

By the mid 1960s, RKO had collapsed completely, and the remaining four of big five had recognized that they did not know how to reach the youth audience. Foreign films, especially European and Japanese cinema, were experiencing a major boom in popularity with young people, who were interested in seeing films with non-traditional subjects and narrative structures. An added draw for such films was that they, like the American independents, were unencumbered by the production code. In an attempt to capture this audience, the Studios hired a host of young filmmakers (many of whom were mentored by Roger Corman) and allowed them to make their films with relatively little studio control.

In 1967, Warner Brothers offered first-time producer Warren Beatty
Warren Beatty
Warren Beatty born March 30, 1937) is an American actor, producer, screenwriter and director. He has received a total of fourteen Academy Award nominations, winning one for Best Director in 1982. He has also won four Golden Globe Awards including the Cecil B. DeMille Award.-Early life and...

 40% of the gross on his film Bonnie and Clyde
Bonnie and Clyde (film)
The film was originally offered to François Truffaut, the best-known director of the New Wave movement, who made contributions to the script. He passed on the project to make Fahrenheit 451. The producers approached Jean-Luc Godard next...

instead of a minimal fee. The movie proceeded to gross over $70 million worldwide by 1973. This initial successes paved the way for the studio to relinquish almost complete control to the film school generation and began what the media dubbed "New Hollywood
New Hollywood
New Hollywood or post-classical Hollywood, sometimes referred to as the "American New Wave", refers to the time from roughly the late-1960s to the early 1980s when a new generation of young filmmakers came to prominence in America, influencing the types of films produced, their production and...

."

On May 16, 1969, Dennis Hopper
Dennis Hopper
Dennis Lee Hopper was an American actor, filmmaker and artist. As a young man, Hopper became interested in acting and eventually became a student of the Actors' Studio. He made his first television appearance in 1954 and appeared in two films featuring James Dean, Rebel Without a Cause and Giant...

, a young American filmmaker, wrote, directed, and acted in his first film, Easy Rider
Easy Rider
Easy Rider is a 1969 American road movie written by Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, and Terry Southern, produced by Fonda and directed by Hopper. It tells the story of two bikers who travel through the American Southwest and South with the aim of achieving freedom...

. Along with his producer/star/co-writer Peter Fonda
Peter Fonda
Peter Henry Fonda is an American actor. He is the son of Henry Fonda, brother of Jane Fonda, and father of Bridget and Justin Fonda...

, Hopper was responsible for the first completely independent film of New Hollywood. Easy Rider debuted at Cannes
Cannes Film Festival
The Cannes International Film Festival , is an annual film festival held in Cannes, France, which previews new films of all genres including documentaries from around the world. Founded in 1946, it is among the world's most prestigious and publicized film festivals...

 and garnered the "First Film Award," ("Prix de la premiere oeuvre") after which it received two Oscar nominations, one for best original screenplay and one for Corman-alum Jack Nicholson
Jack Nicholson
John Joseph "Jack" Nicholson is an American actor, film director, producer and writer. He is renowned for his often dark portrayals of neurotic characters. Nicholson has been nominated for an Academy Award twelve times, and has won the Academy Award for Best Actor twice: for One Flew Over the...

's breakthrough performance in the supporting role of George Hanson, an alcoholic lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union
American Civil Liberties Union
The American Civil Liberties Union is a U.S. non-profit organization whose stated mission is "to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States." It works through litigation, legislation, and...

.

Following on the heels of Easy Rider just over a week later, the revived United Artists' Midnight Cowboy
Midnight Cowboy
Midnight Cowboy is a 1969 American drama film based on the 1965 novel of the same name by James Leo Herlihy. It was written by Waldo Salt, directed by John Schlesinger, and stars Dustin Hoffman and newcomer Jon Voight in the title role. Notable smaller roles are filled by Sylvia Miles, John...

, which, like Easy Rider, took numerous cues from Ken Anger and his influences in the French New Wave, became the first and only X rated film to win the Academy Award for best picture. Midnight Cowboy also held the distinction of featuring cameo
Cameo appearance
A cameo role or cameo appearance is a brief appearance of a known person in a work of the performing arts, such as plays, films, video games and television...

 roles by many of the top Warhol superstars, who had already become symbols of the militantly anti-Hollywood climate of NYC's independent film community.

Within a month, another young Corman trainee, Francis Ford Coppola
Francis Ford Coppola
Francis Ford Coppola is an American film director, producer and screenwriter. He is widely acclaimed as one of Hollywood's most innovative and influential film directors...

, made his debut in Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 at the Donostia-San Sebastian International Film Festival with The Rain People
The Rain People
The Rain People is a 1969 film by Francis Ford Coppola. Alongside Shirley Knight, leading players are James Caan and Robert Duvall, both of whom would later work with Coppola in The Godfather. Future film director and Coppola friend George Lucas worked as an aide on this film, and made a short...

, a film he had founded his own studio, American Zoetrope
American Zoetrope
American Zoetrope is a studio founded by Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas. Founded on December 12, 1969, American Zoetrope was an early adopter of digital filmmaking, including some of the earliest uses of HDTV...

, to make a reality. Though The Rain People was largely overlooked by American audiences, Zoetrope would became a powerful force in New Hollywood. Through Zoetrope, Coppola formed a distribution agreement with studio giant, Warner Bros., which he would exploit to achieve wide releases for his films without making himself subject to the controlling forces of Hollywood.

These three films provided the major Hollywood studios with both an example to follow and a new crop of talent to draw from. In 1971, Zoetrope co-founder George Lucas
George Lucas
George Walton Lucas, Jr. is an American film producer, screenwriter, and director, and entrepreneur. He is the founder, chairman and chief executive of Lucasfilm. He is best known as the creator of the space opera franchise Star Wars and the archaeologist-adventurer character Indiana Jones...

 made his feature film debut with THX 1138
THX 1138
THX 1138 is a 1971 science fiction film directed by George Lucas in his directorial debut. The film is based on a screenplay by Lucas and Walter Murch...

, also released by Zoetrope through their deal with Warner Bros., announcing himself as another major talent of New Hollywood. By the following year, the leaders of the New Hollywood revolution had made enough of a name for themselves that Coppola was offered Paramount's multi-generational gangster
Gangster
A gangster is a criminal who is a member of a gang. Some gangs are considered to be part of organized crime. Gangsters are also called mobsters, a term derived from mob and the suffix -ster....

 epic, The Godfather
The Godfather
The Godfather is a 1972 American epic crime film directed by Francis Ford Coppola, based on the 1969 novel by Mario Puzo. With a screenplay by Puzo, Coppola and an uncredited Robert Towne, the film stars Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Sterling Hayden, John Marley, Richard...

.
Meanwhile Lucas had obtained studio funding for American Graffiti
American Graffiti
American Graffiti is a 1973 coming of age film co-written/directed by George Lucas starring Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Paul Le Mat, Charles Martin Smith, Cindy Williams, Candy Clark, Mackenzie Phillips and Harrison Ford...

from Universal.
In the mid-1970s, the major Hollywood studios continued to tap these new filmmakers for both ideas and personnel, producing idiosyncratic, startling original films such as Paper Moon
Paper Moon (film)
Paper Moon is a 1973 American comedy film directed by Peter Bogdanovich and released by Paramount Pictures. The screenplay was adapted from the novel Addie Pray by Joe David Brown, and the film was shot in black-and-white. The film is set during the Great Depression in the U.S. states of Kansas and...

, Dog Day Afternoon
Dog Day Afternoon
Dog Day Afternoon is a 1975 drama film directed by Sidney Lumet, written by Frank Pierson, and produced by Martin Bregman. The film stars Al Pacino, John Cazale, Charles Durning, Chris Sarandon, Penny Allen, James Broderick, and Carol Kane. The title refers to the "dog days of summer".The film was...

and Taxi Driver
Taxi Driver
Taxi Driver is a 1976 American drama film directed by Martin Scorsese and written by Paul Schrader. The film is set in New York City, soon after the Vietnam War. The film stars Robert De Niro and features Jodie Foster, Harvey Keitel, and Cybill Shepherd. The film was nominated for four Academy...

,
all of which were met with enormous critical and commercial success. These successes by the members of New Hollywood led each of them in turn to make more and more extravagant demands, both on the studio and eventually on the audience.

It can often seem that all members of the New Hollywood generation were independent filmmakers. Though those mentioned above began with a considerable claim on the title, almost all of the major films commonly associated with the movement were studio projects. The New Hollywood generation soon became firmly entrenched in a revived incarnation of the studio system, which financed the development, production and distribution of their films. Very few of these filmmakers ever independently financed or independently released a film of their own, or ever worked on an independently financed production during the height of the generation's influence. Seemingly independent films such as Taxi Driver, The Last Picture Show
The Last Picture Show
The Last Picture Show is a 1971 American drama film directed by Peter Bogdanovich, adapted from a semi-autobiographical 1966 novel of the same name by Larry McMurtry....

and others were studio films: the scripts were based on studio pitches and subsequently paid for by the studios, the production financing was from the studio, and the marketing and distribution of the films were designed and controlled by the studio. Though Coppola made considerable efforts to resist the influence of the studios, opting to finance his risky 1979 film Apocalypse Now
Apocalypse Now
Apocalypse Now is a 1979 American war film set during the Vietnam War, produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola. The central character is US Army special operations officer Captain Benjamin L. Willard , of MACV-SOG, an assassin sent to kill the renegade and presumed insane Special Forces...

himself rather than compromise with skeptical studio executives, he, and filmmakers like him, had saved the old studios from financial ruin by providing them with a new formula for success.

Indeed, it was during this period that the very definition of an independent film became blurred. Though Midnight Cowboy was financed by United Artists, the company was certainly a studio. Likewise, Zoetrope was another "independent studio" which worked within the system to make a space for independent directors who needed funding. George Lucas would leave Zoetrope in 1971 to create his own independent studio, Lucasfilm
Lucasfilm
Lucasfilm Limited is an American film production company founded by George Lucas in 1971, based in San Francisco, California. Lucas is the company's current chairman and CEO, and Micheline Chau is the president and COO....

, which would produce the blockbuster
Blockbuster (entertainment)
Blockbuster, as applied to film or theatre, denotes a very popular or successful production. The entertainment industry use was originally theatrical slang referring to a particularly successful play but is now used primarily by the film industry...

 Star Wars
Star Wars
Star Wars is an American epic space opera film series created by George Lucas. The first film in the series was originally released on May 25, 1977, under the title Star Wars, by 20th Century Fox, and became a worldwide pop culture phenomenon, followed by two sequels, released at three-year...

and Indiana Jones franchises. In fact, the only two movies of the movement which can be described as uncompromisingly independent are Easy Rider at the beginning, and Peter Bogdanovich
Peter Bogdanovich
Peter Bogdanovich is an American film historian, director, writer, actor, producer, and critic. He was part of the wave of "New Hollywood" directors, which included William Friedkin, Brian De Palma, George Lucas, Martin Scorsese, Michael Cimino, and Francis Ford Coppola...

's They All Laughed
They All Laughed
For the 1937 song by George and Ira Gershwin see They All Laughed They All Laughed is a 1981 film directed by Peter Bogdanovich. It is based on a screenplay by Bogdanovich and Blaine Novak.-Plot:...

, at the end. Peter Bogdanovich
Peter Bogdanovich
Peter Bogdanovich is an American film historian, director, writer, actor, producer, and critic. He was part of the wave of "New Hollywood" directors, which included William Friedkin, Brian De Palma, George Lucas, Martin Scorsese, Michael Cimino, and Francis Ford Coppola...

 bought back the rights from the studio to his 1980 film and paid for its distribution out of his own pocket, convinced that the picture was better than what the studio believed — he eventually went bankrupt because of this.

In retrospect, it can be seen that Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg
Steven Allan Spielberg KBE is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, video game designer, and studio entrepreneur. In a career of more than four decades, Spielberg's films have covered many themes and genres. Spielberg's early science-fiction and adventure films were seen as an...

's Jaws
Jaws (film)
Jaws is a 1975 American horror-thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg and based on Peter Benchley's novel of the same name. In the story, the police chief of Amity Island, a fictional summer resort town, tries to protect beachgoers from a giant man-eating great white shark by closing the beach,...

(1975) and George Lucas
George Lucas
George Walton Lucas, Jr. is an American film producer, screenwriter, and director, and entrepreneur. He is the founder, chairman and chief executive of Lucasfilm. He is best known as the creator of the space opera franchise Star Wars and the archaeologist-adventurer character Indiana Jones...

's Star Wars
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, originally released as Star Wars, is a 1977 American epic space opera film, written and directed by George Lucas. It is the first of six films released in the Star Wars saga: two subsequent films complete the original trilogy, while a prequel trilogy completes the...

(1977) marked the beginning of the end for the New Hollywood. With their unprecedented box-office successes, these movies jump-started Hollywood's blockbuster mentality, giving studios a new paradigm as to how to make money in this changing commercial landscape. The focus on high-concept premises, with greater concentration on tie-in merchandise (such as toys), spin-offs into other media (such as soundtracks), and the use of sequels (which had been made more respectable by Coppola's The Godfather Part II
The Godfather Part II
The Godfather Part II is a 1974 American gangster film directed by Francis Ford Coppola from a script co-written with Mario Puzo. The film is both a sequel and a prequel to The Godfather, chronicling the story of the Corleone family following the events of the first film while also depicting the...

), all showed the studios how to make money in the new environment.

On realizing how much money could potentially be made in films, major corporations started buying up the remaining Hollywood studios, saving them from the oblivion which befell RKO in the 50s. Eventually, even RKO was revived. The corporate mentality these companies brought to the filmmaking business would slowly squeeze out the more idiosyncratic of these young filmmakers, while ensconcing the more malleable and commercially successful of them. Like the original independents who fled the Edison Trust to form old Hollywood, the young film school graduates who had fled the studios to explore on-location shooting and dynamic, neo-realist styles and structures ended up replacing the tyrants they had sought to dislodge with a more stable and all-pervasive base of power.

Outside Hollywood

Though many of the thematic changes which would resound through the American cinema of the 1970s would prominently feature heightened depictions of realistic sex and violence, those directors who wished to reach the audience which the old Hollywood once had quickly learned to stylize
Aestheticization of violence
The aestheticization of violence in high culture art or mass media is the depiction of or references to violence in what Indiana University film studies professor Margaret Bruder calls a "stylistically excessive," "significant and sustained way." When violence is depicted in this fashion in films,...

 these actions in a way that made them appealing and attractive, rather than repulsive or obscene. However, at the same time that the maverick film students who would become the American new wave were developing the skills they would use to take over Hollywood, many of their classmates had begun to develop in a different direction. Influenced by foreign "art house" directors, (such as Ingmar Bergman
Ingmar Bergman
Ernst Ingmar Bergman was a Swedish director, writer and producer for film, stage and television. Described by Woody Allen as "probably the greatest film artist, all things considered, since the invention of the motion picture camera", he is recognized as one of the most accomplished and...

 and Federico Fellini
Federico Fellini
Federico Fellini, Cavaliere di Gran Croce OMRI , was an Italian film director and scriptwriter. Known for a distinct style that blends fantasy and baroque images, he is considered one of the most influential and widely revered filmmakers of the 20th century...

) exploitation shockers (including Joseph P. Mawra, Michael Findlay
Michael Findlay
Michael Findlay, along with his wife Roberta Findlay, directed and produced numerous sexploitation movies. They have been described as "the most notorious filmmakers in the annals of sexploitation"....

, and Henri Pachard
Henri Pachard
Henri Pachard was the pseudonym of American pornographic film director Ron Sullivan . His other aliases included Jackson St. Louis and Crystal Blue....

) and those who walked the line between, (Kenneth Anger
Kenneth Anger
Kenneth Anger is an American underground experimental filmmaker, occasional actor and author...

, et al.) a number of young film makers began to experiment with transgression not as a box-office draw, but as an artistic act
Transgressive art
Transgressive art refers to art forms that aim to transgress; i.e. to outrage or violate basic mores and sensibilities. The term transgressive was first used by American filmmaker Nick Zedd and his Cinema of Transgression in 1985...

. Directors such as John Waters
John Waters (filmmaker)
John Samuel Waters, Jr. is an American filmmaker, actor, stand-up comedian, writer, journalist, visual artist, and art collector, who rose to fame in the early 1970s for his transgressive cult films...

 and David Lynch
David Lynch
David Keith Lynch is an American filmmaker, television director, visual artist, musician and occasional actor. Known for his surrealist films, he has developed his own unique cinematic style, which has been dubbed "Lynchian", and which is characterized by its dream imagery and meticulous sound...

 would make a name for themselves by the early 70s for the bizarre and often disturbing imagery which characterized their films.

When Lynch's first feature film, 1977's Eraserhead
Eraserhead
Eraserhead is a 1977 American surrealist film and the first feature film of David Lynch, who wrote, produced and directed. Lynch began working on the film at the AFI Conservatory, which gave him a $10,000 grant to make the film after he had begun working there following his 1971 move to Los Angeles...

, brought Lynch to the attention of producer Mel Brooks
Mel Brooks
Mel Brooks is an American film director, screenwriter, composer, lyricist, comedian, actor and producer. He is best known as a creator of broad film farces and comic parodies. He began his career as a stand-up comic and as a writer for the early TV variety show Your Show of Shows...

, he soon found himself in charge of the $5 million film The Elephant Man
The Elephant Man (film)
The Elephant Man is a 1980 American drama film based on the true story of Joseph Merrick , a severely deformed man in 19th century London...

for Paramount. Though Eraserhead was strictly an out-of-pocket, low-budget, independent film, Lynch made the transition with unprecedented grace. The film was a huge commercial success, and earned eight Academy Award
Academy Awards
An Academy Award, also known as an Oscar, is an accolade bestowed by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize excellence of professionals in the film industry, including directors, actors, and writers...

 nominations, including Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay nods for Lynch. It also established his place as a commercially viable, if somewhat dark and unconventional, Hollywood director. Seeing Lynch as a fellow studio convert, George Lucas
George Lucas
George Walton Lucas, Jr. is an American film producer, screenwriter, and director, and entrepreneur. He is the founder, chairman and chief executive of Lucasfilm. He is best known as the creator of the space opera franchise Star Wars and the archaeologist-adventurer character Indiana Jones...

, a fan of Eraserhead and now the darling of the studios, offered Lynch the opportunity to direct his next Star Wars
Star Wars
Star Wars is an American epic space opera film series created by George Lucas. The first film in the series was originally released on May 25, 1977, under the title Star Wars, by 20th Century Fox, and became a worldwide pop culture phenomenon, followed by two sequels, released at three-year...

sequel, Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi is a 1983 American epic space opera film directed by Richard Marquand and written by George Lucas and Lawrence Kasdan. It is the third film released in the Star Wars saga, and the sixth in terms of the series' internal chronology...

.
However, Lynch had seen what had happened to Lucas and his comrades in arms after their failed attempt to do away with the studio system. He refused the opportunity, stating that he would rather work on his own projects.

Lynch instead chose to direct a big budget adaptation of Frank Herbert
Frank Herbert
Franklin Patrick Herbert, Jr. was a critically acclaimed and commercially successful American science fiction author. Although a short story author, he is best known for his novels, most notably Dune and its five sequels...

's science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

 novel
Novel
A novel is a book of long narrative in literary prose. The genre has historical roots both in the fields of the medieval and early modern romance and in the tradition of the novella. The latter supplied the present generic term in the late 18th century....

 Dune
Dune (novel)
Dune is a science fiction novel written by Frank Herbert, published in 1965. It won the Hugo Award in 1966, and the inaugural Nebula Award for Best Novel...

for Italian
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 producer Dino De Laurentiis
Dino De Laurentiis
Agostino "Dino" De Laurentiis was an Italian film producer.-Early life:He was born at Torre Annunziata in the province of Naples, and grew up selling spaghetti produced by his father...

's De Laurentiis Entertainment Group
De Laurentiis Entertainment Group
De Laurentiis Entertainment Group was a production company/distribution unit founded by producer Dino De Laurentiis.The company is notable for producing Manhunter, Blue Velvet, the horror films Near Dark and Evil Dead II, King Kong Lives , and Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, as well as...

, on the condition that the company release a second Lynch project, over which the director would have complete creative control. Although De Laurentiis hoped it would be the next Star Wars
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, originally released as Star Wars, is a 1977 American epic space opera film, written and directed by George Lucas. It is the first of six films released in the Star Wars saga: two subsequent films complete the original trilogy, while a prequel trilogy completes the...

, Lynch's Dune
Dune (film)
Dune is a 1984 science fiction film written and directed by David Lynch, based on the 1965 Frank Herbert novel of the same name. The film stars Kyle MacLachlan as Paul Atreides, and includes an ensemble of well-known American and European actors in supporting roles. It was filmed at the Churubusco...

(1984) was a critical and commercial dud, costing $45 million to make, and grossing a mere $27.4 million domestically. The producer was furious that he would now be forced to allow Lynch to make any kind of film he wanted. He offered Lynch only $6 million, reasoning that it would be best to let it be a small flop and be rid of the director. However, the film, Blue Velvet was a resounding success. Lynch subsequently returned to his independent roots, and did not work with another major studio for over a decade.

John Waters, on the other hand, proved too hot to handle for the major studios. Distributing his films locally though a production company of his own creation known as Dreamland Productions
Dreamlanders
Dreamlanders refers to the cast and crew of regulars whom John Waters has used in his films. The term comes from the name of Waters' production company, Dreamland Productions...

, Waters defied the mainstream completely until the early 80s, when the fledgling New Line Cinema
New Line Cinema
New Line Cinema, often simply referred to as New Line, is an American film studio. It was founded in 1967 by Robert Shaye and Michael Lynne as a film distributor, later becoming an independent film studio. It became a subsidiary of Time Warner in 1996 and was merged with larger sister studio Warner...

 agreed to work with him on Polyester
Polyester (film)
Polyester is a 1981 comedy film directed, produced, and written by John Waters, and starring Divine, Tab Hunter, Edith Massey, and Mink Stole...

. During the 80s, Waters would become a pillar of the New York based independent film movement known as the "Cinema of Transgression
Cinema of Transgression
The Cinema of Transgression is a term coined by Nick Zedd in 1985 to describe a New York City, United States based underground film movement, consisting of a loose-knit group of like-minded artists using shock value and humor in their work...

," a term coined by Nick Zedd
Nick Zedd
Nick Zedd is an American filmmaker and author based in New York City. He coined the term Cinema of Transgression in 1985 to describe a loose-knit group of like-minded filmmakers and artists using shock value and black humor in their work...

 in 1985 to describe a loose-knit group of like-minded New York artists using shock value
Shock value
Shock value is the potential of an action , image, text, or other form of communication to provoke a reaction of disgust, shock, anger, fear, or similar negative emotions.-Shock value as humor:...

 and humor in their super 8mm films and video art
Video art
Video art is a type of art which relies on moving pictures and comprises video and/or audio data. . Video art came into existence during the 1960s and 1970s, is still widely practiced and has given rise to the widespread use of video installations...

. Other key players in this movement included Kembra Pfahler
Kembra Pfahler
Kembra Pfahler is an American performance artist, rock musician and actress. As a performance artist she has been recognized on every "Top 10 List" published during the past quarter century. Her graphic depictions of the horror, repetition, degradation, and have been recognized as insightfully...

, Casandra Stark
Casandra Stark
Casandra Stark Mele is a New York City underground Icon, considered one of the "principal players in the Cinema of Transgression" ....

, Beth B, Tommy Turner
Tommy Turner
Thomas "Tommy" Turner is a Scottish former professional footballer.He was captain of the St. Mirren side that won the Scottish First Division in 1999-2000....

, Richard Kern
Richard Kern
Richard Kern is a New York underground filmmaker, writer and photographer. He first came to underground prominence as part of the underground cultural explosion in the East Village of New York City in the 1980s, with erotic and experimental films featuring underground personalities of the time...

 and Lydia Lunch
Lydia Lunch
Lydia Lunch is an American singer, poet, writer, and actress whose career was spawned by the New York No Wave scene...

. Rallying around such institutions as the Film-Makers' Cooperative and Anthology Film Archives, this new generation of independents devoted themselves to the defiance of the now-establishment New Hollywood, proposing that "all film schools be blown up and all boring films never be made again."

In India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, John Abraham, a Malayalam film director founded an independent production house called Odessa Collective in 1984. With Odessa, he aimed at production and exhibition of meaningful films with the active participation of the general public. For the financing of the first film produced by Odessa, John and his friends traveled through villages and collected money from the general public. The film, Amma Ariyan
Amma Ariyan
Amma Ariyan is a 1986 Malayalam film directed by avant-garde filmmaker John Abraham....

(Report to mother) (1986) was exhibited across the state of Kerala
Kerala
or Keralam is an Indian state located on the Malabar coast of south-west India. It was created on 1 November 1956 by the States Reorganisation Act by combining various Malayalam speaking regions....

 on a non-commercial basis.

The Sundance Institute

In 1978, Sterling Van Wagenen and Charles Gary Allison
Charles Gary Allison
Charles Gary Allison was an American screenwriter and film producer.- Biography :Allison spent the first years of his life in London, returning to the United States in 1944. He grew up living simultaneously in Washington, DC and Los Angeles, attending school in Washington, DC, Los Angeles,...

, with Chairperson Robert Redford
Robert Redford
Charles Robert Redford, Jr. , better known as Robert Redford, is an American actor, film director, producer, businessman, environmentalist, philanthropist, and founder of the Sundance Film Festival. He has received two Oscars: one in 1981 for directing Ordinary People, and one for Lifetime...

, (veteran of New Hollywood and star of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is a 1969 American Western film directed by George Roy Hill and written by William Goldman...

) founded the Utah/US Film Festival in an effort to attract more filmmakers to Utah and showcase what the potential of independent film could be. At the time, the main focus of the event was to present a series of retrospective films and filmmaker panel discussions; however it also included a small program of new independent films. The jury of the 1978 festival was headed by Gary Allison
Charles Gary Allison
Charles Gary Allison was an American screenwriter and film producer.- Biography :Allison spent the first years of his life in London, returning to the United States in 1944. He grew up living simultaneously in Washington, DC and Los Angeles, attending school in Washington, DC, Los Angeles,...

, and included Verna Fields
Verna Fields
Verna Fields was an American film editor, film and television sound editor, educator, and entertainment industry executive. In the first phase of her career, from 1954 through to about 1970, Fields mostly worked on smaller projects that gained little recognition. She was the sound editor for...

, Linwood Gale Dunn, Katherine Ross
Katharine Ross
Katharine Juliet Ross is an American film and stage actress. Trained at the San Francisco Workshop, she is perhaps best known for her role as Elaine Robinson in the 1967 film The Graduate, opposite Dustin Hoffman, which won her an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress, and her role...

, Charles E. Sellier Jr., Mark Rydell
Mark Rydell
Mark Rydell is an American actor, film director and producer.-Career:Rydell's initial training was in music. As a youth, he wanted to be a conductor. He began his career as an actor and first became known for his role as Walt Johnson on The Edge of Night and as Jeff Baker on As the World Turns,...

, and Anthea Sylbert.

In 1981, the same year that United Artists, bought out by MGM, ceased to exist as a venue for independent filmmakers, Sterling Van Wagenen left the film festival to help found the Sundance Institute
Sundance Institute
Sundance Institute is a non-profit organization founded by Robert Redford in 1981 that actively advances the work of filmmakers and storytellers worldwide...

 with Robert Redford. In 1985, the now well-established Sundance Institute, headed by Sterling Van Wagenen, took over management of the US Film Festival, which was experiencing financial difficulties. Gary Beer and Sterling Van Wagenen spearheaded production of the inaugural Sundance Film Festival which included Program Director Tony Safford and Administrative Director Jenny Walz Selby.

In 1991, the festival was officially renamed the Sundance Film Festival, after Redford's famous role as The Sundance Kid. Through this festival, such notable figures as Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith
Kevin Patrick Smith is an American screenwriter, actor, film producer, and director, as well as a popular comic book writer, author, comedian/raconteur, and internet radio personality best recognized by viewers as Silent Bob...

, Robert Rodriguez
Robert Rodriguez
Robert Anthony Rodríguez is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, cinematographer, editor and musician. He shoots and produces many of his films in his native Texas and Mexico. He has directed such films as Desperado, From Dusk till Dawn, The Faculty, Spy Kids, Sin City, Planet...

, Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Jerome Tarantino is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, cinematographer and actor. In the early 1990s, he began his career as an independent filmmaker with films employing nonlinear storylines and the aestheticization of violence...

, Paul Thomas Anderson
Paul Thomas Anderson
Paul Thomas Anderson is an American film director, screenwriter, and producer. He has written and directed five feature films: Hard Eight , Boogie Nights , Magnolia , Punch-Drunk Love and There Will Be Blood...

, Steven Soderbergh
Steven Soderbergh
Steven Andrew Soderbergh is an American film producer, screenwriter, cinematographer, editor, and an Academy Award-winning film director. He is best known for directing commercial Hollywood films like Erin Brockovich, Traffic, and the remake of Ocean's Eleven, but he has also directed smaller less...

, James Wan
James Wan
James Wan is a Malaysian-born Australian producer, screenwriter, and film director of Chinese heritage. He is widely known for directing the horror film Saw and creating Billy the puppet. He also directed Dead Silence, Death Sentence and Insidious.-Life and career:Wan was born in Kuching, Sarawak,...

 and Jim Jarmusch
Jim Jarmusch
James R. "Jim" Jarmusch is an American independent film director, screenwriter, actor, producer, editor and composer. Jarmusch has been a major proponent of independent cinema, particularly during the 1980s and 1990s.-Early life:...

 garnered resounding critical acclaim and unprecedented box office sales. In 2005, about 15% of the U.S.
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 domestic box office
Box office
A box office is a place where tickets are sold to the public for admission to an event. Patrons may perform the transaction at a countertop, through an unblocked hole through a wall or window, or at a wicket....

 revenue was from independent studios.

The "Indie Film" Movement

The 1990s saw the rise and success of independent films not only through the film festival circuit but at the box office as well while established actors, such as Bruce Willis
Bruce Willis
Walter Bruce Willis , better known as Bruce Willis, is an American actor, producer, and musician. His career began in television in the 1980s and has continued both in television and film since, including comedic, dramatic, and action roles...

, John Travolta
John Travolta
John Joseph Travolta is an American actor, dancer and singer. Travolta first became known in the 1970s, after appearing on the television series Welcome Back, Kotter and starring in the box office successes Saturday Night Fever and Grease...

, and Tim Robbins
Tim Robbins
Timothy Francis "Tim" Robbins is an American actor, screenwriter, director, producer, activist and musician. He is the former longtime partner of actress Susan Sarandon...

, found success themselves both in independent films and Hollywood studio films. The success of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (film)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a 1990 American live-action film adaptation of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise directed by Steve Barron. The film was followed by three sequels: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze in 1991, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III in 1993, and...

in 1990 from New Line Cinema
New Line Cinema
New Line Cinema, often simply referred to as New Line, is an American film studio. It was founded in 1967 by Robert Shaye and Michael Lynne as a film distributor, later becoming an independent film studio. It became a subsidiary of Time Warner in 1996 and was merged with larger sister studio Warner...

 grossed over $100 million in the United States making it the most successful indie film in box-office history. Miramax Films
Miramax Films
Miramax Films is an American entertainment company known for distributing independent and foreign films. For its first 14 years the company was privately owned by its founders, Bob and Harvey Weinstein...

 had a string of hits with Sex, Lies, and Videotape
Sex, lies, and videotape
Sex, Lies, and Videotape is a 1989 independent film that brought director Steven Soderbergh to prominence. It tells the story of a man who films women discussing their sexuality, and his impact on the relationship of a troubled married couple....

, My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown
My Left Foot (film)
My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown is a 1989 drama film directed by Jim Sheridan and starring Daniel Day-Lewis. It tells the true story of Christy Brown, an Irishman born with cerebral palsy, who could control only his left foot. Christy Brown grew up in a poor, working class family, and...

, and Cinema Paradiso, putting Miramax and New Line Cinema in the sights of big companies looking to cash in on the success of independent studios. In 1993, Disney bought Miramax for $60 million. Turner Broadcasting, in a billion-dollar deal, acquired New Line Cinema, Fine Line Features
Fine Line Features
Fine Line Features was the speciality films division of New Line Cinema. It produced, purchased, distributed and marketed films of a more "indie" flavor than its parent company...

, and Castle Rock Entertainment
Castle Rock Entertainment
Castle Rock Entertainment is a film and television production company founded in 1987 by Martin Shafer, director Rob Reiner, Andrew Scheinman, Glenn Padnick and Alan Horn. It is a subsidiary of Warner Bros...

 in 1994. The acquisitions proved to be a good move for Turner Broadcasting as New Line released The Mask
The Mask (film)
The Mask is a 1994 American superhero comedy film based on a series of comic books published by Dark Horse Comics. This film was directed by Chuck Russell, and produced by Dark Horse Entertainment and New Line Cinema, and originally released to movie theatres on July 29, 1994 through New Line...

and Dumb & Dumber and Castle Rock releasing The Shawshank Redemption
The Shawshank Redemption
The Shawshank Redemption is a 1994 American drama film written and directed by Frank Darabont and starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman....

and the release of Pulp Fiction
Pulp fiction
Pulp fiction may refer to:* pulp magazines, short stories presented in a magazine format, printed on cheaply made wood-pulp paper* Pulp Fiction, a 1994 film directed by Quentin Tarantino...

by Miramax, all in 1994.

The acquisitions of the smaller studios by conglomerate Hollywood was a plan in part to take over the independent film industry and at the same time start independent studios of their own. The following are all indie studios owned by conglomerate Hollywood:
  • Sony Pictures Classics
    Sony Pictures Classics
    Sony Pictures Classics is an art-house film division of Sony Pictures Entertainment founded in December 1991 that distributes, produces and acquires specialty films from the United States and around the world. Its co-presidents are Michael Barker and Tom Bernard...

     1992
  • Fox Searchlight Pictures
    Fox Searchlight Pictures
    Fox Searchlight Pictures, established in 1998, is a film division of Fox Filmed Entertainment alongside the larger Fox studio 20th Century Fox...

     1995
  • Paramount Vantage
    Paramount Vantage
    Paramount Vantage is the specialty film division of Paramount Pictures , charged with producing, purchasing, distributing and marketing films, generally those with a more "art house" feel than films made and distributed by its parent company.Paramount Classics was launched in 1998 and...

     1998
  • Focus Features
    Focus Features
    Focus Features is the art house films division of NBC Universal's Universal Pictures, and acts as both a producer and distributor for its own films and a distributor for foreign films....

     2002
  • Warner Independent Pictures
    Warner Independent Pictures
    Warner Independent Pictures was the specialty division of film studio Warner Bros. Entertainment. Established in August 2003, its first release was 2004's Before Sunset...

     2003


By the early 2000s, Hollywood was producing three different classes of films: 1) Big Budget Blockbusters 2) Art films, specialty films and niche-market films produced by the conglomerate-owned indies and 3) Genre and specialty films coming from true indie studios and producers. The third category comprised over half the features released in the United States and usually cost between $5 and $10 million to produce.

Present day and digital filmmaking

Today, due to the large volume of inexpensive, high end digital film equipment available at the consumer level, independent filmmakers are no longer dependent on major studios to provide them with the tools they need to produce a film. Thanks to the falling cost of technology, thousands of small production companies can obtain the resources they need to produce entertaining films at a fraction of the cost of the big Hollywood studios. Post production has also been simplified by non-linear editing software available for home computers.

Presently, five of the Golden Age Majors continue to exist as important Hollywood studio entities through 2009. Their output is still marked by familiar stories and conservative choices in cast and crew. Companies such as Lucasfilm
Lucasfilm
Lucasfilm Limited is an American film production company founded by George Lucas in 1971, based in San Francisco, California. Lucas is the company's current chairman and CEO, and Micheline Chau is the president and COO....

 continue to exist, co-financing their productions and partnering with Big Six studios for distribution. In fact, co-financing has become a growing trend in modern day Hollywood, with over two-thirds of the films put out by Warner Bros. in 2000 being funded as joint ventures, up from 10% in 1987.

In an effort to cash in on the present day boom in independent film, today's Big Six major studios have created a number of independent-flavored subsidiaries, designed to develop less commercial, more character driven films which appeal to the growing art house market. These include MGM, UA (under MGM), New Line Cinema, HBO Films
HBO Films
HBO Films is a division of the cable television network HBO that produces feature films and miniseries. While much of HBO Films' output is created directly for the television market, such as the film Witness Protection and the mini-series Band of Brothers, Pacific, Generation Kill and Angels in...

, Castle Rock Entertainment
Castle Rock Entertainment
Castle Rock Entertainment is a film and television production company founded in 1987 by Martin Shafer, director Rob Reiner, Andrew Scheinman, Glenn Padnick and Alan Horn. It is a subsidiary of Warner Bros...

, Disneynature
Disneynature
Disneynature is an independent film label of The Walt Disney Company, founded on April 21, 2008 as a division of the Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group...

, DreamWorks
DreamWorks
DreamWorks Pictures, also known as DreamWorks, LLC, DreamWorks SKG, DreamWorks II Distribution Co., LLC, DreamWorks Studios or DW Studios, LLC, is an American film studio which develops, produces, and distributes films, video games and television programming...

, Sony Pictures Classics
Sony Pictures Classics
Sony Pictures Classics is an art-house film division of Sony Pictures Entertainment founded in December 1991 that distributes, produces and acquires specialty films from the United States and around the world. Its co-presidents are Michael Barker and Tom Bernard...

, Fox Searchlight Pictures
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Fox Searchlight Pictures, established in 1998, is a film division of Fox Filmed Entertainment alongside the larger Fox studio 20th Century Fox...

, Miramax Films
Miramax Films
Miramax Films is an American entertainment company known for distributing independent and foreign films. For its first 14 years the company was privately owned by its founders, Bob and Harvey Weinstein...

, Warner Independent Pictures
Warner Independent Pictures
Warner Independent Pictures was the specialty division of film studio Warner Bros. Entertainment. Established in August 2003, its first release was 2004's Before Sunset...

, Picturehouse, Paramount Classics/Paramount Vantage
Paramount Vantage
Paramount Vantage is the specialty film division of Paramount Pictures , charged with producing, purchasing, distributing and marketing films, generally those with a more "art house" feel than films made and distributed by its parent company.Paramount Classics was launched in 1998 and...

, Go Fish Pictures
Go Fish Pictures
Go Fish Pictures was the specialty film division of the DreamWorks SKG film studio.It distributed movies such as:...

 (under DreamWorks), Focus Features
Focus Features
Focus Features is the art house films division of NBC Universal's Universal Pictures, and acts as both a producer and distributor for its own films and a distributor for foreign films....

, Screen Gems
Screen Gems
Screen Gems is an American movie production company and subsidiary company of Sony Pictures Entertainment's Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group that has served several different purposes for its parent companies over the decades since its incorporation....

, TriStar Pictures
TriStar Pictures
TriStar Pictures, Inc. is an American film production/distribution studio and subsidiary of Columbia Pictures, itself a subdivision of the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, which is owned by Sony Pictures...

, Destination Films
Destination Films
Destination Films is Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions' independent film division. The company was originally founded and established by Brent Baum and Steve Stabler in 1999. The logo is two halves of a ring formed at the top and the bottom with a line with a crescent on one end and a star on...

, Fox Faith
Fox Faith
Fox Faith is a brand of film studio Twentieth Century Fox targeting evangelical Christians. Established under Fox's video division, Fox Faith acquires independent Christian-themed films for theatrical and video release...

, Fox Atomic
Fox Atomic
Fox Atomic was a production label of film studio 20th Century Fox created in 2006 to generate comedy and genre films.In 2008, Fox Atomic scaled back its production operations and shut down all marketing divisions...

, Gener8Xion Entertainment, Hollywood Pictures
Hollywood Pictures
Hollywood Pictures is one of The Walt Disney Company's several alternate movie divisions. Like Disney's Touchstone Pictures brand, it produces films for a more mature adult audience than Walt Disney Pictures.-History:...

, Rogue Pictures
Rogue Pictures
Rogue is a subsidiary of Relativity Media. The company has about 25 titles in its library.- Background :In 1997, Rogue Pictures was formed as a division of PolyGram Pictures but the name was dropped in 2000 after Universal Pictures bought PolyGram...

 and Sherwood Pictures
Sherwood Pictures
Sherwood Pictures is an American Christian film production company in Albany, Georgia, United States. It is unusual among production companies in that it is a ministry of a local church, Sherwood Baptist Church. The company uses mostly volunteers in their productions...

.

The increasing popularity and feasibility of low-budget films over the last 15 years has led to a vast increase in the number of aspiring filmmakers — people who have written spec script
Spec script
A spec script, also known as a speculative screenplay, is a non-commissioned unsolicited screenplay. It is usually written by a screenwriter who hopes to have the script optioned and eventually purchased by a producer, production company, or studio....

s and who hope to find several million dollars to turn that script into a successful independent film like Reservoir Dogs
Reservoir Dogs
Reservoir Dogs is an American crime film marking debut of director and writer Quentin Tarantino. It depicts the events before and after a botched diamond heist, but not the heist itself. Reservoir Dogs stars an ensemble cast: Harvey Keitel, Steve Buscemi, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Chris Penn, and...

,
Little Miss Sunshine
Little Miss Sunshine
Little Miss Sunshine is a 2006 American comedy-drama film. The road movie's plot follows a family's trip to a children's beauty pageant.Little Miss Sunshine was the directorial film debut of the husband-wife team of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. The screenplay was written by first-time writer...

,
or Juno
Juno (film)
Juno is a 2007 comedy-drama film directed by Jason Reitman and written by Diablo Cody. Ellen Page stars as the title character, an independent-minded teenager confronting an unplanned pregnancy and the subsequent events that put pressures of adult life onto her. Michael Cera, Olivia Thirlby, J. K....

. Aspiring filmmakers often work day-jobs while they pitch their scripts to independent film production companies, talent agents, and wealthy investors. Their dreams are much more attainable than they were before the independent film revolution because gaining the backing of a major studio is no longer needed in order for aspiring filmmakers to potentially access millions of dollars to make their film.

Independent movie-making has also resulted in the proliferation and repopularization of short films
Short subject
A short film is any film not long enough to be considered a feature film. No consensus exists as to where that boundary is drawn: the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences defines a short film as "an original motion picture that has a running time of 40 minutes or less, including all...

 and short film festivals. Full-length films are often showcased at film festival
Film festival
A film festival is an organised, extended presentation of films in one or more movie theaters or screening venues, usually in a single locality. More and more often film festivals show part of their films to the public by adding outdoor movie screenings...

s such as the Sundance Film Festival
Sundance Film Festival
The Sundance Film Festival is a film festival that takes place annually in Utah, in the United States. It is the largest independent cinema festival in the United States. Held in January in Park City, Salt Lake City, and Ogden, as well as at the Sundance Resort, the festival is a showcase for new...

, the Slamdance Film Festival
Slamdance Film Festival
As a year-round organization, Slamdance serves as a showcase for the discovery of new and emerging talent in the film industry; it is also the only major film festival fully programmed by filmmakers. Slamdance counts among its alumni many notable writers and directors who first gained notice at the...

, the South By Southwest
South by Southwest
South by Southwest is an Austin, Texas based company dedicated to planning conferences, trade shows, festivals and other events. Their current roster of annual events include: SXSW Music, SXSW Film, SXSW Interactive, SXSWedu, and SXSWeco and take place every spring in Austin, Texas, United States...

 film festival, the Raindance Film Festival
Raindance Film Festival
Raindance is an independent film festival and film school that operates from various cities including: London, New York, Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Budapest, Berlin and Brussels...

, ACE Film Festival, or the Cannes Film Festival
Cannes Film Festival
The Cannes International Film Festival , is an annual film festival held in Cannes, France, which previews new films of all genres including documentaries from around the world. Founded in 1946, it is among the world's most prestigious and publicized film festivals...

. Award winners from these exhibitions are more likely to get picked up for distribution by major film studios.

The following studios are considered to be the most prevalent of the modern independent studios (they are used to produce/release independent films and foreign-language films in America):
  • Film4 Productions
    Film4 Productions
    Film4 Productions is a British film production company owned by Channel 4. The company has been responsible for backing a large number of films made in the United Kingdom. The company's first production was Walter, directed by Stephen Frears, which was released in 1982.- History :Before 1998, the...

  • Lions Gate Films
    Lions Gate Entertainment
    Lions Gate Entertainment Corporation is a North American entertainment company. The company was formed in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1997, and is headquartered in Santa Monica, California...

  • Summit Entertainment
    Summit Entertainment
    Summit Entertainment LLC is an independent film studio headquartered in Santa Monica, California with international offices in London.-History:...

  • Overture Films
    Overture Films
    Overture Films, LLC is an American film production and distribution company. It is a subsidiary of Liberty Media ....

  • IFC Films
    IFC Films
    IFC Films is an American film distribution company based in New York, owned by AMC Networks. It distributes independent films and documentaries under the IFC Films, Sundance Selects and IFC Midnight. It operates the IFC Center....

  • Samuel Goldwyn Films
    Samuel Goldwyn Films
    Samuel Goldwyn Films is an independent film company founded by Samuel Goldwyn, Jr., the son of the Hollywood business magnate/mogul, Samuel Goldwyn...

  • The Weinstein Company
    The Weinstein Company
    The Weinstein Company is an American film studio founded by Bob and Harvey Weinstein in 2005 after the brothers left the then-Disney-owned Miramax Films, which they had co-founded in 1979...

    /Dimension Films
    Dimension Films
    Dimension Films is a motion picture unit currently a part of The Weinstein Company. It was formerly used as Bob Weinstein's label within Miramax Films, to produce and release genre films...

  • Magnolia Pictures
    Magnolia Pictures
    Magnolia Pictures is an American film distributor, and is a holding of 2929 Entertainment, owned by Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban. Magnolia was formed in 2001 by Bill Banowsky and Eamonn Bowles, and specializes in both foreign and independent films....

  • Palm Pictures
    Palm Pictures
    Palm Pictures is a US-based entertainment company owned and run by Chris Blackwell. Palm Pictures produces, acquires and distributes innovative music and film projects with a particular focus on the DVD format...

  • Tartan Films
    Tartan Films
    Palisades Tartan is a US and UK film distribution company, founded by US-based Palisades Media Group to take over the film library of Tartan Films after it folded in Summer 2008.-History:...

  • Newmarket Films
    Newmarket Films
    Newmarket Films is an American film production and distribution company which is a subsidiary of Newmarket Capital Group. It was founded in 1994.-Brief summary:...

  • ThinkFilm
    THINKFilm
    THINKFilm is a privately held production and distribution company founded in September 2001. It has been a division of David Bergstein’s Capitol Films since 2006. Bergstein also serves as the company’s chairman...

  • Troma Entertainment
    Troma Entertainment
    Troma Entertainment is an American independent film production and distribution company founded by Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz in 1974.The company produces low-budget independent movies that play on 1950s horror with elements of farce...

  • Maverick Entertainment Group
    Maverick Entertainment Group
    Maverick Entertainment Group is an American independent motion picture and DVD distribution company founded by Doug Schwab and based in South Florida.-Film :* Ex$pendable * Spike * Director...

  • First Look Studios
    First Look Studios
    First Look Studios was an independent American film studio that specialized in home video releases of films and TV series. It purchased the Blockbuster subsidiary, DEJ Productions, in 2005...

  • Image Entertainment
    Image Entertainment
    Image Entertainment, Inc. is an independent licensee, producer and distributor of home entertainment programming and film & television productions in North America, with approximately 3,000 exclusive DVD titles and approximately 250 exclusive CD titles in domestic release, and approximately 450...

  • Maya Entertainment
    Maya Entertainment
    Maya Entertainment Group, Inc. is an independent multi-platform video distribution company. Moctesuma Esparza and Jeff Valdez founded the company in Los Angeles, California in 2007.Maya Entertainment procures and produces content that appeals to the new diverse American Latino and multi cultural...

  • Entertainment One
    Entertainment One
    Entertainment One Ltd is a leading international entertainment business operating in the United States, Canada, the UK, Ireland, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia and New Zealand...

  • Phase 4 Films
    Phase 4 Films
    Phase 4 Films is a Canadian film distribution company.Founded in 1996 as Telegenic Entertainment, the Company was then renamed KaBOOM! Entertainment in 2000. In 2006 kaBOOM! Entertainment Inc. was sold to Peace Arch Entertainment Group and was subsequently renamed Peace Arch Home Entertainment,...

  • Yari Film Group
    Yari Film Group
    The Yari Film Group is an independent film company founded in 2002, and headed by producer Bob Yari, which deals in financing, production, acquisition, sales and distribution of theatrical feature films....

  • Screen Media Films
    Screen Media Films
    -Selected Films:*Noel *Intimate Affaires * *The City of Your Final Destination...



In addition to these higher profile "independent" studios there are thousands of smaller production companies that produce authentic independent films every year. These smaller companies look to regionally release their films theatrically or for additional financing and resources to distribute, advertise and exhibit their project on a national scale. The direct-to-video
Direct-to-video
Direct-to-video is a term used to describe a film that has been released to the public on home video formats without being released in film theaters or broadcast on television...

 market is not often noted as artistically fertile ground but among its many entries are ambitious independent films that either failed to achieve theatrical distribution or did not seek it. Moving forward, particularly as theatrical filming goes digital and distribution eventually follows, the line between "film," direct-to-disc productions, and feature-length videos whose main distribution channel is wholly electronic, should continue to blur.

Technology and independent films today

The independent film scene's development in the 1990s and 2000s has been stimulated by a range of factors, including the development of affordable digital cinematography cameras
Digital cinematography cameras
Digital movie cameras for digital cinematography are typically purpose-designed professional video cameras designed for the capture of high optical resolution, high dynamic range imagery. Different digital movie cameras output a variety of different acquisition formats...

 that can rival 35 mm film
35 mm film
35 mm film is the film gauge most commonly used for chemical still photography and motion pictures. The name of the gauge refers to the width of the photographic film, which consists of strips 35 millimeters in width...

 quality and easy-to-use computer editing software. Until digital alternatives became available, the cost of professional film equipment and stock was a major obstacle to independent filmmakers who wanted to make their own films. In 2002, the cost of 35 mm
35 mm film
35 mm film is the film gauge most commonly used for chemical still photography and motion pictures. The name of the gauge refers to the width of the photographic film, which consists of strips 35 millimeters in width...

 film stock
Negative (photography)
In photography, a negative may refer to three different things, although they are all related.-A negative:Film for 35 mm cameras comes in long narrow strips of chemical-coated plastic or cellulose acetate. As each image is captured by the camera onto the film strip, the film strip advances so that...

 went up 23%, according to Variety
Variety (magazine)
Variety is an American weekly entertainment-trade magazine founded in New York City, New York, in 1905 by Sime Silverman. With the rise of the importance of the motion-picture industry, Daily Variety, a daily edition based in Los Angeles, California, was founded by Silverman in 1933. In 1998, the...

.

With the advent of consumer camcorder
Camcorder
A camcorder is an electronic device that combines a video camera and a video recorder into one unit. Equipment manufacturers do not seem to have strict guidelines for the term usage...

s in 1985, and more importantly, the arrival of digital video
Digital video
Digital video is a type of digital recording system that works by using a digital rather than an analog video signal.The terms camera, video camera, and camcorder are used interchangeably in this article.- History :...

 in the early 1990s lowered the technology barrier to movie production. The personal computer
Personal computer
A personal computer is any general-purpose computer whose size, capabilities, and original sales price make it useful for individuals, and which is intended to be operated directly by an end-user with no intervening computer operator...

 and non-linear editing system
Non-linear editing system
In video, a non-linear editing system is a video editing or audio editing digital audio workstation system which can perform random access non-destructive editing on the source material...

 have dramatically reduced costs of post-production, while technologies such as DVD
DVD
A DVD is an optical disc storage media format, invented and developed by Philips, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic in 1995. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than Compact Discs while having the same dimensions....

, Blu-ray Disc
Blu-ray Disc
Blu-ray Disc is an optical disc storage medium designed to supersede the DVD format. The plastic disc is 120 mm in diameter and 1.2 mm thick, the same size as DVDs and CDs. Blu-ray Discs contain 25 GB per layer, with dual layer discs being the norm for feature-length video discs...

 and online video services have simplified distribution. Even 3-D
3-D film
A 3-D film or S3D film is a motion picture that enhances the illusion of depth perception...

 technology is available to low-budget, independent filmmakers now.

With new technology, such as the Arri Alexa
Arriflex Alexa
The Arri Alexa is a film-style digital motion picture camera made by Arri first introduced in April 2010. The camera marks Arri's first major transition into digital cinematography after smaller previous efforts such as the Arriflex D-20 and D-21...

, RED Epic, and the many new DSLRs
Digital single-lens reflex camera
Most digital single-lens reflex cameras are digital cameras that use a mechanical mirror system and pentaprism to direct light from the lens to an optical viewfinder on the back of the camera....

, independent films can create footage that looks like 35mm film without the same high cost. These cameras also perform well in low light situations. In 2008 Canon released the first DSLR camera that could shoot full HD video, the Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Canon EOS 5D Mark II
The Canon EOS 5D Mark II is a 21.1-megapixel full-frame CMOS digital single-lens reflex camera made by Canon. It succeeds the EOS 5D and was announced on September 17, 2008.-Improvements compared to original EOS 5D:...

. With the creation of the 5D Mark II, and subsequent DSLRs capable of video, independent filmmakers have the ability to shoot 1080p video at 24fps, which is considered the standard for 'film'. Also these DSLRs allow for a greater control over depth of field, great low light capabilities, and a large variety of exchangeable lenses — things which independent filmmakers have been longing years.

In addition to new digital cameras, independent film makers are benefitting from the new editing software. Instead of needing a post-house to do the editing, independent film makers can now use a personal computer and cheap editing software to edit their films. Editing software available include Avid Media Composer, Adobe Premiere Pro
Adobe Premiere Pro
Adobe Premiere Pro is a timeline-based video editing software application. It is part of the Adobe Creative Suite, a suite of graphic design, video editing, and web development applications developed by Adobe Systems, though it can also be purchased separately. When purchased separately, it comes...

, Final Cut Pro
Final Cut Pro
Final Cut Pro is a non-linear video editing software developed by Macromedia Inc. and then Apple Inc. The most recent version, Final Cut Pro X, runs on Mac personal computers powered by Mac OS X version 10.6.7 or later and using Intel processors...

, (Color Grading Software) DaVinci Resolve, and many more. These new technologies allow independent film makers to create films that are comparable to high-budget films.

Director
Film director
A film director is a person who directs the actors and film crew in filmmaking. They control a film's artistic and dramatic nathan roach, while guiding the technical crew and actors.-Responsibilities:...

 Francis Ford Coppola
Francis Ford Coppola
Francis Ford Coppola is an American film director, producer and screenwriter. He is widely acclaimed as one of Hollywood's most innovative and influential film directors...

, long an advocate of new technologies like non-linear editing
Non-linear editing system
In video, a non-linear editing system is a video editing or audio editing digital audio workstation system which can perform random access non-destructive editing on the source material...

 and digital cameras, said in 2007 that "cinema is escaping being controlled by the financier, and that's a wonderful thing. You don't have to go hat-in-hand to some film distributor and say, 'Please will you let me make a movie?'"

See also

  • Low budget film
    Low budget film
    A low-budget film is a motion picture shot with little or no funding from a major film studio or private investor. Many Independent films are made on low budgets but films made on the mainstream circuit with unexperienced or unknown filmmakers can also have low budgets. Many young or first time...

  • No budget film
    No budget film
    A no budget film is a produced film made with very little, or no money.Young directors starting out in filmmaking commonly use this method because there are few other options available to them at that point. All the actors and technicians are employed without remuneration, and the films are largely...

  • underground film
    Underground film
    An underground film is a film that is out of the mainstream either in its style, genre, or financing.-Definition and history:The first use of the term "underground film" occurs in a 1957 essay by American film critic Manny Farber, "Underground Films." Farber uses it to refer to the work of...

  • List of film festivals
  • Film Festivals
  • Art film
    Art film
    An art film is the result of filmmaking which is typically a serious, independent film aimed at a niche market rather than a mass market audience...

    , also known as "arthouse films" or "art cinema"
  • Major Movie Studios
  • The Movie Making Manual wikibook
  • list of video topics
  • Video
    Video
    Video is the technology of electronically capturing, recording, processing, storing, transmitting, and reconstructing a sequence of still images representing scenes in motion.- History :...

  • Chroma key
    Chroma key
    Chroma key compositing is a technique for compositing two images together. A color range in the top layer is made transparent, revealing another image behind. The chroma keying technique is commonly used in video production and post-production...

  • History of cinema
  • List of 'years in film'
  • Silent movies
    Silent film
    A silent film is a film with no synchronized recorded sound, especially with no spoken dialogue. In silent films for entertainment the dialogue is transmitted through muted gestures, pantomime and title cards...

  • Talkies
    Sound film
    A sound film is a motion picture with synchronized sound, or sound technologically coupled to image, as opposed to a silent film. The first known public exhibition of projected sound films took place in Paris in 1900, but decades would pass before sound motion pictures were made commercially...

  • Independent Spirit Awards
    Independent Spirit Awards
    The Independent Spirit Awards , founded in 1984, are awards dedicated to independent filmmakers. Winners were typically presented with acrylic glass pyramids containing suspended shoestrings representing the paltry budgets of independent films. In 1986, the event was renamed the Independent Spirit...

  • Dreams on Spec
    Dreams on Spec
    Dreams on Spec is a 2007 American documentary film that profiles the struggles and triumphs of emerging Hollywood screenwriters. It was written and directed by Daniel J...

    , a film-making documentary

External links

  • IFTA - The Independent Film & Television Alliance, an International trade association representing Independent Producers
  • Indie Films at the Internet Movie Database
    Internet Movie Database
    Internet Movie Database is an online database of information related to movies, television shows, actors, production crew personnel, video games and fictional characters featured in visual entertainment media. It is one of the most popular online entertainment destinations, with over 100 million...

  • Independent Feature Project IFP
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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