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What is an Independent Film?

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When we here this term, we normally think arthouse, film festival, and cheap. This can be true for most independent films, however, not all independent films will share these attributes. To put it simply, an independent film is a film that is financed outside of the traditional studio system. In other words, the money used to finance the film comes from a place/person other than a studio. In most cases, independent filmmakers have to find distributors on their own. This could be a major studio, but often times they’ll have to sell the distribution rights for a specific territory to an independent film distributor. This is usually done through international film markets and festivals. Some well known indie film distributors include, Magnolia Pictures, Film District, The Weinstein Company, Participant Media and Road Side Attractions. Some of the major studios have an “independent division” which is used to finance and distribute more arthouse (or less commercial) films. Universal’s is Focus Features. 20th Century Fox has Fox Searchlight. Sony’s is Sony Pictures Classics. Paramount’s is Paramount Vantage and Warner Bros has Warner Independent. Some of the most successful independent films include:

  • THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST
  • SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE
  • NAPOLEON DYNAMITE
  • CLERKS
  • THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT
  • GOOD WILL HUNTING
  • MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING
  • PULP FICTION
  • JUNO
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