New adventures of independent film in CR VIWritten by Andreas Kreuzer
The history of independent film in the USA started after the 1908 with the creation of the Motion Picture Patents Company which held the necessary technological patents needed to create the cinematography products and was a monopoly led by the patents holder, Thomas Alva Edison. Thanks to the strict restrictions it didn't take long for a great number of film makers to relocate to Hollywood, California, and start working with their own made cameras. They set themselves free from the patents and circumvented the established regulation which created an explosion of the free film production in the USA.
History of independent film in the USA
Over the time a new studio system developed on the soil of Hollywood. Thanks to the great profits the film production started to resemble a factory production and so the situation reverted to the times of the so-called indie film makers. They unfortunately didn't become a part of this film making machinery and desired their own portion of audience. The main initiator of this production model was a company called United Artists founded by Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Charles Chaplin and David Mark Griffith. The result of a long time effort was the founding of SIMPP (Society of Independent Motion Picture Producers) in 1941 by some of the people from United Artists and which were joined by some big names like Walt Disney, Orson Wells or Samuel Goldwyn. That meant the end of the golden studio system in Hollywood in 1948. Thanks to the successful efforts of SIMPP and technological advance in camera tech it happened that after the second world war anyone in the USA interested in film could write and shoot their own film.
The indie film started to be profiled as a low-budget, it often sought out new ways of film making. That also applied to the inexperienced creators which began experimenting with the medium. Suddenly the films could be created which were completely independent from the conventional systems, enabling them to risk and explore new possibilities. In the state of New York, which became a center of independent film, the artists started to conglomerate who preferred a personal author input into the film over the idea of entertainment and profit and criticized the commercial film for its stereotypes, selling out, cheapness and moral bankruptcy. A non-profit organization called The Film-Maker's Cooperative was created in the 60's which focused on its own kind of distribution and worked with several producers to bring out many shining personalities of the world cinematography such as Andy Warhol.
The invention and spread of television in the 60's caused a outpour of audience from the cinemas. To help them find the way back, many indie film makers started to engage in a project of B-movies. The film companies then offered two films for the price of one and celebrated an increase in audience. Thanks to the topics which the big studios couldn't offer because of various moral codexes many new genres came to be which characterized the low budget films, like the horror films of George A. Romero. They were screened in old one-room, mostly abandoned, cheap cinemas (grindhouses). It is well known that they have influenced the later stars of indie film such as Quentin Tarantino.
Soon came a new wave of Hollywood and the success of indie films which suddenly dictated new models of profit, spawning personalities such as Dennis Hopper, George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola or the authors outside Hollywood like David Lynch and Milos Forman. Following the wave of art films of Ingmar Bergman through the movement "Cinema Transgression" which experimented with 8mm film and video art, new efforts led to the founding of Sundance Institute in the University of Utah aiming to popularize and show off the potential of indie low budget films. Many stars came through it such as Quentin Tarantino, Paul Thomas Anderson, Steven Sodebergh and defined the new ideas of cinematography. Thanks to the indie movement the studios understood the ideas of this production and started creating the helping studios to support creating of such films such as Sony Pictures Classics or Fox Searchlight Pictures.
Thanks to today's increase in affordability of film equipment, which used to unthinkable for the 35mm film, thanks to the availability of digital cameras which record video in cinematic format, exist thousands of small indie productions that don't need the huge productions and studios. All this culminates in the increase in the popularity and freedom of the film production. Across the ocean and beyond there are many creators who have their daily jobs and offer their scripts to the studios and dream of receiving a huge sum of money to make their indie movies. This effort also leads to the popularity of short film and short film festivals. And because of the new form of digital distribution opens new possibilities, this trend will surely go strong and bring yet again a significant change of ways, as it had happened in the history of independent film in the past. Even Francis Ford Coppola said that today the time has come when nobody needs to go to the producers and beg for money for their film. Truly anyone can make an independent film now.