Film Industry’s Gems — Indie Films
Indie films (independent films) have certainly taken over the film world outside of Hollywood. Well, some have even taken huge clunks out of the Movie Capital of America. And that raises the obvious questions: Why and how? Well, let’s grab our clapperboards and set the scene.
They Are Written by Good Writers
When it comes to film, the story is everything. And that is why indie films are good films. You see, indie films do not have any studios behind them except maybe their own. And even this is more for the opening credits than anything else.
Independent films are made on a tight budget that is usually from the producer’s, director’s, or writer’s personal pocket. And these three people are usually one person. . .
Therefore, they have to rely on stories to get their message across. Scriptwriting is all they have, so they have to make it count. Luckily many well-known indie writers have achieved that.
Such writers are (but not limited to, and the list is forever growing):
- Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig — “Frances Ha” (2012)
- Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sánchez, Heather Donahue — “The Blair Witch Project” (1999)
- Sean Baker and Chris Bergoch — “Tangerine” (2015)
- Barry Jenkins — “Moonlight” (2016)
- Jordan Peele — “Get Out” (2017)
- Robert Eggers — “The Witch” (2016) and “The Lighthouse” (2019) with Max Eggers
And, these are only a few. They have landed on the mainstream due to their ideas and storytelling, which raises emotions not quite felt in mainstream cinema a lot of the time.
Furthermore, we should mention that if there is no studio you answer to, it also means that there are no creative restrictions you should worry about. Writers can explore what they want to say and say it in a way that is outside of the standard Hollywood model.
Plus, there is no deadline, except for self-imposed ones. Therefore, writers also have more time to really craft their story in the best way they can. Just look at “Boyhood” (2014), a story about a boy growing up in (cut up) real-time.
They Are Made by Excellent Directors Too
Of course, a good story can only come to life if everything is in sync. Getting all the gears spinning at the right time falls onto the director. They are the leader of the whole deal. Producers and writers can have a say in it, but remember, a lot of the time, they are all the same person.
Furthermore, a lot of the time, the director also writes the script. This means that they have a clear vision in their heads of how they want a scene to work, look, and feel. While they are writing, they are also indirectly directing how the characters move, speak, act, etc. They started the directing process before the script even got greenlit.
They Contain Satirical References
Indie films are known for being raw and honest. They explore the world as it is and often shine a camera on what is not seen, like “Moonlight” did. Or they give a new twist creating something unexpected, like “The Witch.”
Furthermore, many indie films have satirical references since they portray life as it is. There is an old saying, “write what you know,” and that is what indie films are — and more. They can be more metaphorical with the emotions leading the way. They can be experimental, political, batshit insane! We love it all!
They Have a Cathartic Element
As we have hinted at, independent films are about emotions. Many people that have seen indie films remember the feelings they evoked in them. It could have been pure disgust while watching “Happiness” (1998) or that warm feeling we all notice when enjoying the “Before” trilogy (1995, 2004, 2013).
Either way, strong emotions can come forth from indie films — if they are done right. Plus, a lot of emotions are usually brought out from the twist, such as with “Get Out,” or a dark take on heavy emotions, such as with “The Lighthouse.”
As we have stated, indie films have the creative liberty to go that far and that deep. This is how so much emotion comes to the audience since the films are exploring those topics, often in a different or more direct light.
They Provide Significant Lessons
Because indie films are not as limited when it comes to stories, they can cover a range of them. Some often have significant lessons that people carry home with them after the film is finished.
As we have mentioned, indie films usually have only their stories and creativity to rely on. And many great indie films know how to tell their stories well with a limited budget. For example, “Brick” (2005) often leaves the audience with a sense of loss and sadness., and “Mysterious Skin” (2004) starts off as two stories about people thinking they were abducted by aliens but goes down a much darker, heavier, and more serious path.
While the above films show what not to do, it is still an important lesson to remember. And, people do know what is wrong and right. However, the message behind the film is the journey the characters take and how an event changed them internally. These are the significant lessons that indie films often bring to the surface without being too much in the audience’s faces.
They Are More in Touch Towards People’s Experiences
Some of the best indie films are the ones that show people’s experiences and how they deal with their surroundings. We can recommend “Kids” (1995), which just follows a day in the life of a group of teens living in New York. But what they get up to and what happens to them is what the audience remembers and reacts to.
Hollywood’s gems are more in touch with people’s experiences and show a side of life that is often not seen. This is down to the story since the writers have more time to explore, think, rewrite, rethink, etc., to make it come to life as well as they can. The freedom in creativity is due to the lack of studio interference and schedule. The main downside is, of course, the lack of funds.
The Third Act
Indie films offer a lot to cinephiles. From their limited aesthetic to their human yet out-there stories, there is something to be gained from experiencing an indie. Not only as a casual audience member but as a filmmaker too. So, go out and watch new indies and catch some old ones. You will cherish the emotions they evoke for a long time to come.