How Far is “Indie” Actually from Hollywood?

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. 

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2 thoughts on “How Far is “Indie” Actually from Hollywood?

  1. I agree with your point about the selection process mirrors Hollywood, but I don’t believe that their process by mirroring Hollywood is becoming more Hollywood. The movies themselves are different from the Hollywood standard and the festivals also have a different reputation. A film need only be selected to be shown at the festival for it to gain some of the festivals reputation. Also a lot of the films get nominated for what I thought to be strictly Hollywood awards like the Oscars or Golden Globes. I would say that indie movies in a way are taking control of Hollywood rather than becoming the same as Hollywood. I do agree that only having a small group of people select which indie film can join the festival seems a bit extreme. It makes me feel as if the ideas of what we perceive indie to be are all coming from this small group of people. I can’t be sure.

  2. I can see where your coming from in your blog post about the selection process of what indie films are chosen for film festivals. However, I’m going to have to agree on Madeleine that they are not necessarily becoming more Hollywood. I think there is only so many ways you can have a selection process for choosing films to appear at a film festival and this can be mirroring Hollywood. But I do think the uniqueness of indie films is what makes them different from Hollywood films and what draws viewers in. I actually think having a small group of people select which indie films will be shown is a good thing. If you get too many people on the committee to select which films should be shown then you start to run into problems such as having a more difficult time choosing the films because sometimes people don’t necessarily agree with each other when there are too many people. I think a smaller committee is more able to focus on what they think “indie” is considered as at the time and are able to focus on what they think the audience will appreciate.

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