Some of my favorite accounts to keep up with on X, formerly known as Twitter, center on posting updates and news regarding film and entertainment. Among the numerous replies under every new blockbuster announced, I have noticed an increasing amount of disdain about the current variety of films being made. With that in mind, I would like to invite everyone to take a look beyond the major studio films to independent films.
“I hate remakes and reboots” and “There are too many superhero/action films being made” are common sentiments I have noticed as of late. Everyone seems to dislike Hollywood’s current approach to big-budget filmmaking, and I repeatedly see at least one viral tweet a month expressing hatred.
Even though “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” presented one of the best summer theater experiences of all time, there are more films out there than just those presented by Disney, Warner Bros. and Paramount Studios.
Independent cinema provides an entire world of film separate from the many high-budget films that are heavily publicized. They offer fresh perspectives and storylines.
At its most basic definition, an independent film is a movie that is made outside of the major studio system. This major system often includes members of the “Big Five” studios: Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, Walt Disney Studios, Warner Bros. Studios and Universal Pictures. Instead, these films are often made on considerably lower budgets — often under a budget of $2 million — and distributed by independent studios.
Independent studios like A24 and Blumhouse Productions have garnered mainstream success in recent years. A24’s “Everything Everywhere All At Once” (2022) became a “sleeper hit” according to The Guardian. Other A24 projects like “Pear” (2022), “Moonlight” (2016) and “Hereditary” (2018), have gained equal acclaim.
Blumhouse, on the other hand, has seemingly mastered the art of producing horror films. The company is notable for its productions of Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” in 2017, “Paranormal Activity” in 2007 and the newly released “Five Nights at Freddy’s” film adaptation.
All of these are some of the most unique films released in recent years. Each one offers a necessary break from the onslaught of superhero action movies, film remakes and franchise reboots currently shown in movie theaters. Every new independent movie also incorporates a lack of major studio interference, allowing more unique stories to be created.
A common trend I have seen whenever any uniquely premised film is released is the struggle it took to make it. A prominent example is Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman,” which had its eventual release on Netflix in 2019. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Scorsese commented on how no one would provide the money to finance the film. Even though the non-independent film’s budget was well over the $2 million of independent films, it became a struggle for even a prolific director like Scorsese to get an original, high-budget film made.
Despite the hurdles of getting an independent film financed, independent films are steadily being made through many production companies. Focus Features, Annapurna Pictures and Utopia are some of the many distributors and studios that specialize in independent filmmaking. Streaming services like Mubi, Kanopy and Shudder are some of the sites that provide a hefty catalog of independent films.
Kanopy, which is offered through Ohio University’s library system, includes underrated movies. However, my personal favorite of the sites is Shudder, which is a dream for a horror fanatic like me.
Independent films offer a fresh outlook on film that invites viewers to turn away from the major studios that are hoarding many of the movie theater screens. Although it may be hard to view one of these films on the big screen, the proper services and knowledge can help one expand their catalog of films outside of major blockbusters. So, the next time you watch a film, make it an independent one.
Trey Barrett is a graduate student studying film at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk more about it? Let Trey know by emailing him at email@example.com.