3 Independent Film

Independent Cinema or ‘indie’ film generally refers to films produced outside of the studio system. Although the term is currently associated with new, young and idealistic filmmakers working with small budgets, it has existed since the early days of Hollywood as a reference to the lower budget picture produced by smaller studios or ad hoc companies. This research project will study changes in independent production over time, considering the economic, aesthetic and cultural differences or relationships between independent and studio production.  Film Examples: ShadowsClerks.


  • John Berra Declarations of Independence: American Cinema and the Partialities of Independent Production, Bristol: Intellect Ltd., 2008.
  • David Denby, “Has Hollywood Murdered the Movies? New Republic. 10/4/2012, Vol. 243 Issue 15
  • Emanuel Levy, “The New American Independent Film,” Cinema of Outsiders: The Rise of American Independent Film, New York: New York University Press, 1999
  • Round Table: Independence in the Cinema. By: Klawans, Stuart, Michelson, Annette, Pena, Richard, Schamus, James, Turvey, Malcolm, October, Winter2000, Issue 91

On-line Materials + PDFs

Independent Film Wiki

Denby_Has Hollywood Murdered the Movies?

E. Levy_The New American Independent Cinema

Round Table- Independence in the Cinema

Discussion Prompts:

  • Though the term “independent film” refers to films produced outside of the ‘studio system’, it has become commonplace for contemporary ‘indie’ films to be developed and/or distributed with the support of the ‘indie’ arms of mainstream production studios–20th Century Fox has Foxlight, Paramount has Paramount Vantage, Universal has Focus Films, etc..  As such, one wonders about the relevance of the ‘independent’ designation.  Is the term ‘independent film’ meaningful now?   Are  ‘indie’ films different?  If so, how so?  If not, why not?
  •  If ‘indie’ film is a recognizable type  or genre of film, what are its characteristic features and narrative interests?