Masterpieces of independant film

Discussion in 'Archive: The Amphitheatre' started by ParanoidAni-droid, Jul 22, 2002.

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  1. ParanoidAni-droid Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 27, 2001
    star 4

    Here a few great indie films that I've discovered over the years:

    Buffalo '66

    Strangers in Paradise

    Waking Life


    There's plenty more but these few are sufficent, I believe, for discussion. That latter film can be a bit tedious, IMO, with a lot of pseudo-intellectual psycho-babble, but it's interesting, none the less.

    Please keep the suggestions coming.

    ~PAd

  2. Gandalf the Grey Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 14, 2000
    star 6
    I don't want to see a simple list-thread. If this thread is to stay open, its got to have discussion.
  3. ParanoidAni-droid Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 27, 2001
    star 4

    If all goes as planned this thread will be no diffrent than the Tavern.

    ~PAd

  4. jango-joe1 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2001
    star 4
    Clerks and Slacker were the ones that really reached out to me. Personally to my trips to Austin (Slacker) and working at the video store (Clerks)
  5. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    Clerks and Slacker were the ones that really reached out to me

    Can you explain why in some detail?
  6. yodafett999 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 24, 2000
    star 4
    I'd have to second Clerks.

    Slacker I found to be boring. I do enjoy the other Linklater films and consider Before Sunrise to be an unappreciated gem of a film.

    Clerks was the first movie that really showed me that I could make films. Around the time in 1994 that it came out I was drifting kind of aimlessly and just formulating ideas in my head for movies I would like to see. Once I saw Clerks I knew that I could make them myself. It had a dry, sarcastic wit that spoke to me as a person and as an audience member. It was the first one I could really relate to on a personal level because I really was like those characters.

    The movie that actually sparked my first writing session was Jim Jarmusch's "Mystery Train". A quirky little film (heh, yeah, like he's not known for that) that had a common thread tying the vignettes together.

    "Living in Oblivion" is the best independent film about independent film I've ever seen and, though scary at times, it really made me want to continue on in the pursuit. I consider it the filmmaking litmus test. If you can sit through "Living in Oblivion" and still want to make films then you've passed and your heart is pure :)

    As an addition to that litmus test I had to add the recent documentary, "American Movie", because it really does show you how hard it can be just to make a film in your own backyard. If half of the filmmakers I met had one third of the heart and passion displayed in that film......it would be a whole new ballgame.

    All too often lately I've been seeing many, many people getting into filmmaking because they want to make money, money, and more money. It's quite saddening.

    Cassavetes is an interesting specimen in the evolution of independent film and I suggest that everyone find a few of his films. Chaotic camerawork, unscripted dialogue, low key and natural lighting indoors and out.......one of the true originals and taboo breakers.

    One of my favorite mock documentaries is "Fear of a Black Hat", another excellent indie.

    "Bottle Rocket" by Wes Anderson is another great little underappreciated film.

    Very early Coen brothers films are also independents that offered you something beyond the usual scope of the studio system.

    Then there are tons and tons of international independent films.

    I could go on and on and on.





  7. Bresson Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2002
    star 3
    There has to be a clear definition of what constitutes an 'independent film'. All too often, we have 'indie film' slapped onto anything that plays at Sundance, even if it has half a dozen Hollywood stars, is made by an established director, and received all its financing from a major studio ('Enigma' comes to mind). 'Bottle Rocket' was not an indie film. It was produced by James L. Brooks under his umbrella deal with Sony Studios. 'Blair Witch' is a true indie film since it was paid by an individual, or individuals, with their savings and credits cards, before being hijacked by the studios. That last element is a crucial part of indie filmmaking.
  8. yodafett999 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 24, 2000
    star 4
    By that criteria there aren't very many indepenent films that anyone has really seen.

    I agree that there are limitations but the line of demarkation is not quite so clear cut.

    How would you work a film that was 75% completed with the funds of the filmmakers themselves but they went overbudget and had to seek outside finances. Said finances could come from studios themselves. The Independent Feature Film Market in New York every year is a huge place that you will find this. Many, many films looking for completion money will attend and show what they have to interested parties and, often times, those interested parties are producers that have deals with studios. It's a muddy area when it comes to independent film.

    Some people consider "Halloween" the most successful independent film of all time but others would not.

    Some people would say that independent film is anything not having to do with the studio system or studio money directly but does not include the smaller production houses (i.e. Miramax before being acquired by Disney or Lion's Gate) in this statement.

    The definition is tough to nail down because no one can agree on a good one.

    Independent filmmaking, like punk rock, is a feeling to me more than an actual style of filmmaking. It is doing it yourself but recognizing that you might need a little help here and there and having the foresight to grab it when it comes along.

    I'm well aware of the "Bottle Rocket" pedigree and my inclusion of it was to see how each person defined "independent film". I'm shameless, I know :p

    Many independent films, whether right or wrong, have some studio backing behind it in some way. Very few that we see are completely financed by the filmmakers themselves. There are tons of films each year that get produced independently but many of them will never be seen so, for this argument, might as well not exist. We'll just have to stick with the films that are paid for independently and then bought by the studios or a distribution company.

    It's fairly easy to see which ones are major studio films and which ones are not but when do you draw the line? Do you draw it at production houses? Do you draw it at distribution deals only.......with no funds for filming? Even if it's from a lesser known production house?

    If you want to carry it to extremes......the only truly "independent" films are the ones in which the filmmaker sinks their own money, and only their money, into a project. No borrowing from friends or family. No hitting up doctors and lawyers for investments against points off the gross.

    That severely hampers the possibilities of the industry.

    I'll stick with anything not made completely in the studio system is an independent film. Since, after all, independent was meant to mean "independent of the studios".
  9. Bresson Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2002
    star 3
    A perfect example would be 'Desperado', the original version. R. Rodriguez financed the first $7,000 to get it into the can, then Miramax picked up the other hundred or so thousand to finish it and get the final product. Or Gary Winick's 'Tadpole', which was shot and financed by the director, then picked up and finished with studio money.

    I have no problem with that kind of movie being called independent. My issue--and it's more with film festivals like Sundance than with the filmmakers themselves--who purport to uphold the torch of independent visions, yet the movies themselves are really just low budget studio movies. I mean, can yo honestly say 'One Hour Photo' is an indie film? It's financed by Fox Searchlight with a $10 mil budget and starring Robin Williams. I think the term 'indie' should mean more than just 'being outside the independent of studios' as there are so many studios now, big and small. Anything from Lion's Gate is considered an indie film, yet they're working with Hayden Christansen. Fine Line was the "indie" wing of New Line, but they worked with the likes of David Cronenberg and Atom Egoyan. "Indie" has been appropriated by studios as a trademark to denote "class project", which is fine, but it's not true to the purist form of independent filmmaking.

    Also, Sundance has become the whore of the film festival market, falling from the ranks of showing independent visions to just being a glorified ShoWest. I have no problem with ShoWest, but I have a problem with Sundance betraying its original vision and getting into bed with Hollywood players.
  10. ST-TPM-ASF-TNE Moderator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 27, 2001
    star 6
    Memento

    Brilliant film.

    ST
  11. ParanoidAni-droid Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 27, 2001
    star 4

    The film Bresson refers to is "El Mariachi." I hear that the film's director scrounged up those $7000 to fund the film by serving as a lab rat in some scientific experiments. [face_shocked]

    ~PAd

  12. yodafett999 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 24, 2000
    star 4
    I definitely agree with you concerning Sundance. That is the reason that alternative festivals like Slamdance, Slumdance, and Nodance came into being.
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