Author Topic: What defines a movie as an "independent" ?  (Read 125 times)

Guzman

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 253
What defines a movie as an "independent" ?
« on: July 15, 2017, 04:13:53 PM »
I have tried looking into this from using google.   Cause i hear the term "independent movie" thrown around quite alot, but never knew what it truly meant, as in what defines a movies as "independent".  I could explain to you what defines a pro wrestling promotion as an "indie", but not a movie.

This is what i (think) have learnt.   First of all how the corporate side of the movie industry is structured.  You have "the big grand daddy" producers.  Any movie that is not an independent has to fall under the banner of one of these big grand daddys.

20th Century Fox
Warner Bros
Universal
Columbia
Disney
MGM
Paramount  (might of missed one or two out)

Then the next tier down, you get companies like these

Dreamworks
Icon
Touchstone
Lakeshore
Momentum
Bad Robot
Lionsgate
Castlerock
New Line Cinema

Now, where does that lead international cinema?, things like British Cinema or Hong Kong Cinema ect ect.  For example Golden Harvest are one of the more renowned movie company's in Hong Kong Cinema.  But you never see anything like Warner Brothers or Universal Pictures ident logo appear before Golden Harvest movies, so does that make them an independent?
« Last Edit: July 15, 2017, 04:15:58 PM by Guzman »

bababarararacucucudadada

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 970
Re: What defines a movie as an "independent" ?
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2017, 05:14:54 PM »
I don't think there any further definition beyond the one you have suggested.

It isn't a black and white situation but it will boil down to how the film is funded no matter where it is made. If Universal/Columbia etc are the ones financing it then it won't qualify as "independent" but after that distribution kicks in too because Warner Bros/Columbia etc can lean on the Cinemas and get them to show films which they have an interest in.

It is rare for an Independent film to hit the muliplexes, for instance, so if you want to see them you have to go to Independent Cinemas, Arts Centres, Film Festivals and so on or seek them out on DVD.

Like I said it isn't black and white though. Last night I watched The Deerhunter which was to all intents and purposes an Independent Film because it was very much Micheal Cimino's baby and at the time he was totally unknown. Cimino roped in de Niro who was mega at the time on the back of Mean Streets, The Godfather and Taxi Driver. De Niro delivered Meryl Streep (also unknown at the time) and a few more well known faces. The project then attracted further (i.e. major studio) backing enabling the Vietnam sequences to be made on location in Thailand but, crucially, Cimino maintained control of the project meaning that the original vision was realised pretty much as he intended it. Everything about The Deerhunter screams "INDEPENDENT FILM!" but was it, really?

Another massive independent film was The Full Monty. That was made with money cobbled together from anywhere they could get it and it was the very epitome of a shoestring budget but it hit a nerve, went global and pocketed mi££ions in profit.

Woody Allen films are independent (the more recent ones, anyway, and possibly all of them) because he makes what he wants when he wants and doesn't give a damn about what the major studios might prefer.

As a rule of thumb if there's exploding helicopters then it is not an independent film.

V8

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 1208
Re: What defines a movie as an "independent" ?
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2017, 11:17:54 AM »
Would the definition not follow the same as it does for independent music, in that the production and distribution are independent of each other, i.e. a production company makes a movie using finance from wherever, and then seeks distribution from a distributor to get it into cinemas, making it an independent movie, whereas one of the big companies listed above will handle production and distribution themselves.

barky

  • Design Consultant
  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 9345
  • Ethnic Nationalism is a Cancer
Re: What defines a movie as an "independent" ?
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2017, 12:59:34 PM »
Would the definition not follow the same as it does for independent music, in that the production and distribution are independent of each other, i.e. a production company makes a movie using finance from wherever, and then seeks distribution from a distributor to get it into cinemas, making it an independent movie, whereas one of the big companies listed above will handle production and distribution themselves.
Yes that's how I understand it ...

V8

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 1208
Re: What defines a movie as an "independent" ?
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2017, 01:51:45 PM »
Yes that's how I understand it ...

Done a bit more research and that is exactly what the independent means apparently. With music though,"independent"  became a selling point, so a lot of majors (those with their own distribution networks) set up "independent" record companies (e.g. Food Records) to cash in and distributed their output themselves, so on paper they were independent releases, but in reality they were nothing of the sort really as those companies were rarely truly independent of their parent companies. I don't know if the same situation exists with movie production companies though.