Indie Cinema: Shaping Forces

Individual heroes–directors, producers, agents–continue to feed the media frenzy. But the new independent cinema doesn't exist in a social or economic void. As a social institution, it has benefitted from the operation of artistic, economic, technological, organizational, and demographic forces. Various conditions have facilitated the emergence of the new American independent cinema as an alternative system to Hollywood:

1. The need for self-expression.

2. Hollywood's move away from serious, middle-range films.

3. Increased opportunities and capital in financing indies.

4. Greater demand for visual media, driven by an increase in the number of theaters and the adoption of home-video as a dominant form of entertainment in the U.S.

5. Supportive audiences: The maturation of the Baby-Boom generation.

6. The decline of foreign-language films in the American market.

7. The proliferation of film schools across the country.

8. The Sundance Film Festival's emergence as the primary showcase for indies.

9. The development of new organizational networks

10. Commercial success–there's money to be made in indies.

If you want to know more about this issue, please read my book, Cinema of Outsiders: The Rise of American Independent Film (NYU Press, paperback 2001).