What is indie cinema? Surely, you’ve asked yourself more than once. Keep reading and you will learn some things that you certainly did not know about indie movies. Some are odd facts, others are cinephile history.
The Origins of Indie Cinema
Responding to the concurrent question of whether indie cinema is independent cinema, let’s say yes. In its origin it was. Although little by little the first begins to differentiate itself from the second and acquires its own personality. Forging unique and unmistakable characteristics.
The origins of indie cinema have to be traced back to the year 1981 with the birth of the Sundance Institute, founded by Robert Redford, and in 1984, with the birth of the famous Sundance Festival.
The Institute first served as a film school, offering seminars and meetings, and trying to support young independent filmmakers, while the overtime the project becomes a film festival aimed at allowing those same independent filmmakers to show their films.
However, the festival was evolving to what we now know as Sundance. As this process developed, another thing happened: the birth of indie cinema. The films that were projected on this event stopped being just independent cinema and happened to be something more specific.
The Characteristics of Indie Cinema
Indie cinema has a series of characteristics that make it unmistakable with another type of cinema, it’s very identifiable. It stands out for the careful aesthetics it presents -in terms of the treatment of photography, lighting, color, scenery, costumes, and images- and the narrative innovation -or, at least, the freedom of not having to stick to any canon, structure or conventionalism.
Another point to highlight is the themes of indie movies. Here reality predominates. Real characters, real stories, and real lives. Protagonists with the same problems as you and me. With the same fears, failures, aspirations, and disappointments.
Every Day on Indie Cinema
Everydayness, because the protagonists of indie movies live in the same world, the same everyday things that the viewer lives. Is curious how both, the ones who make indie films and those who watch it, are people who present a similar profile.
People reaching their 30s, who once arrived at that adulthood, one morning just wake up and see themselves living a life that wasn’t going as they expected. Many of them haven’t fulfilled most of their aspirations; they’re bitter about their jobs or relationships, have some financial struggle, a complicated relationship with their families, disastrous love life and, of course, no expectation of improving their situation.
Is Indie Cinema, Author’s Cinema?
Yes, independent cinema and auteur films are related, but they don’t always have to go hand by hand. The author’s cinema is strongly linked to the figure of its director, which in this case assumes the role of total author of the work and not only that of the director.
In author’s cinema, the director assumes the creative control over the film. In this way it is easy to find that the director also writes the script, produces, assembles it, assumes artistic functions in many other areas -photography, lighting, costumes, makeup, choreography-, and can even come to compose the music or play a part in the movie.
So, author’s cinema strongly reflects the personality of its creator. A personality that is reflected in factors such as the narrative and the aesthetics of the film and make it different from other more conventional ones. That is why it is common for many independent films to be at the same time author’s cinema.