The Beginnings of Independent Movies

Independent movies are starting to become more noticeable globally. With many film fests like the German Berlinale, Cannes Film Festival and the Kara Film Festival, giving more recognition to top independent movies, many A-list actors have turned indie.

But one might wonder how this indie film craze started about. It seems as though it was just a few years passed since the best independent movies started to appear in the entertainment world.

Actually, the indie movie scene started way back in the 1900s. A group of filmmakers were resisting the control of the Edison Trust, who had patents to the raw film that they use in their movies. This trust is officially known as the Motion Picture Patents Company, a collaboration of several film companies such as Edison, Vitagraph and Biograph.

The filmmakers were constantly sued due to having many motion-picture related patents belonging to the Edison Trust. Frustrated, they built they own cameras and moved to Hollywood, California. There, they established the framework of the modern Tinseltown we’re so familiar with today. The patents were soon cancelled by the courts on two occasions, one in 1912 and another in 1915.

Several leading figures were also involved in making top independent movies. Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, D.W Griffith and Mary Pickford formed an independent movie studio called United Artists. This was a move to loosen the hold major film studios have on their stars.

During the World War II era, another group of independent filmmakers, most from United Artists formed the Society of Independent Motion Picture Producers. Some of its members are Orson Welles and Samuel Goldwyn. The reason for its conception was the same as before; to end the monopoly major film studios are having on the movies.

Independent movies were always associated with low budgets and they always will be. The best independent movies always cost less than a box-office hit. For example, in 1968, the Night of the Living Dead by George Romero was a cult hit with its gory violence. The budget was so low that the actors playing zombies had to literally eat raw pig livers during a scene.

These B-movies or exploitation movies were a boom in the 1960s and 70s, mostly for the fact that there are wanton violence, sex and nudity in these movies than others. These independent movies often have these elements to distract viewers from the weak storyline and fanciful situations.

Nowadays, independent movies often refer to the films made outside of Hollywood. It has become easier to make films due to the easily obtained tools. The new technology has also helped fledgling directors edit movies without the help of a studio. With the support of the movie industry like the Sundance Institute in Utah, the potential of top independent movies can shine through the mainstream audience.

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