Film Festivals have become the best way for an Indie movie and director to show to the world that it has what it takes. It’s not much a stretch to call these festivals an open market for the film industry, considering this is where a large portion of independent films/directors/actors are picked up by major companies. But how exactly do these particular movies get selected for their shot at being seen by the masses? According to Newman most festivals have moved to a system that has a selection committee in charge of deciding what movies of the year are worthy of honor and merit. To me, this seems rather troubling.
The independent industry seemingly prides itself on being an alternative to the mundane Hollywood structure. Why then does it seem to have modeled it’s film selection process much like Hollywood does? With these committees in charge, the choices for a “good” indie movie are in the hands of a small collection of people who believe they can accurately choose the good from the bad. Who knows maybe they can? I am not at all familiar with each members background and credentials. It just seems shockingly similar for my taste to the Hollywood structure.
In the same light, this structure lends itself to having a few people control what the definition and idea of “indie” is at the time, since theses festivals have grown into international phenomena. It’s plain to see that the international community, as according to theses film festivals, have a general consensus of what actors or directors constitute an indie hit. All it requires is a Google search about past selections of Sundance, Cannes, or Toronto film festival.
So it seems we have a small group of people, at least in this case, who are helping to define the massive culture that is “indie”. While not inherently bad, I do believe that this mirrors Hollywood culture in a way that is shockingly familiar and it makes me begin to wonder just how far apart the “indie” and Hollywood institutions really are. Even though the process of film festivals may be a good way to applaud the efforts of independent films without the approval or constraint of Hollywood, it only seems like a hop, skip, and a jump from those very things.