Hawaii Film Blog

Monday, September 26, 2005

The Meaning of "Independent"

"Independent" has gotten lost in translation. Here are the new faces of "indie" film.

To the ire of many truly independent filmmakers (read: ones not backed by "Indiewood" distributors), this year's Independent Spirit Awards (housed at the new Film Independent organization, formerly IFP/LA) is allowing films made for under $20 million to qualify for nomination. This announcement has prompted NYC film blogger The Reeler to launch into full acrimonious snark mode:

Variety reports today that the budget ceiling for this fall's Independent Spirit Awards nominees has been locked in at $20 million. But not a penny more, OK?

That is not a misprint: If you cannot make your indie film for twenty f**king million dollars, then you are just going to have to settle for an Oscar or a Golden Globe or some other quotidian hardware that will defy and forever sully your carefully cultivated indie cred.

[I]ndeed we have long been deprived of awareness for films budgeted below $20 million—the "economy of means" that so hamstrung the likes of
Sideways and that tiny DreamWorks pic House of Sand and Fog at the Spirit Awards a few years back. While we are at it, why don't we up the limit on budgets eligible for the John Cassavetes Award from $500,000 to $5 million? After all, Cassavetes did star in Rosemary's Baby, and that one was glued together with bubble gum at $3 million. Just an idea.

Well said. So kids, if your film cost less than $20 million to make, is over 70 minutes long, and was shown for at least one week in a commercial theater in 2005, or was shown at the L.A. Film Festival, New Directors/New Films, New York, Sundance, Telluride, or Toronto in 2005, you can submit it for consideration for the Independent Spirit Awards by Sept. 23 (early postmark deadline) or Oct 14 (final postmark deadline). Nominees will be announced on Nov. 29.

>> Film Independent Spirit Awards 2006
>> Independent Spirit Awards: Past Nominees & Winners [.pdf]
>> Film Independent Announces Call for Submissions for Independent Spirit Awards [Press Release, 9/22/05]
Independent Spirit Awards: All this Can Be Yours for the Low, Low Price of $20 Million [The Reeler, 9/23/05]

>> Indies in Hollywood's Wake
>> IFP Hawaii?
>> Filmmaker Magazine: "25 New Faces of Indie Film"

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