Indiewood (also known as "speciality", "alternative", "indie" or "quality") films are those made outside of the Hollywood studio system or traditional arthouse/ independent filmmaking yet managing to be produced, financed and distributed by the two with varying degrees of success and/or failure.
Throughout the middle of the 1990s the word 'Indiewood' ("indie boom" or "indie film movement") was invented to describe a component of the spectrum of American films in which distinctions exist, it seemed as if Hollywood and the independent sector had become blurred. The American independent film, prior to the 1980s, was previously associated with b movies and realist dramas.
Indiewood divisions gain from expert experience of the niche industry by hiring leading independent personalities such as Harvey Weinstein from the Disney fold after the exit of the Weinsteins, and James Schamus, former joint head of Good Machine, at Focus Features.
Other "mini-major" subdivisions included Searchlight Pictures, Fine Line Features, Lionsgate, NEON, A24, Paramount Vantage, Summit Entertainment, Orion Pictures, Samuel Goldwyn Company, Warner Independent and Sony Pictures Classics.
The films are often made for far less money than Hollywood films, and each aspect of the filmmaking process has to undergo less scrutiny by committees. Additionally, within the Indiewood approach the filmmaker can take as long as they need in the post-production phase of their film - whereas in Hollywood they are contracted to finish the film in a specific period of time (usually 10 weeks). In Hollywood, the film then goes on to show in focus group screenings on the studio lot. In Indiewood, the filmmakers can determine the next steps of the film. They also bear striking similarities to as well as were influenced by the "proto-indies" of the 1960s such as Robert Downey Sr's Chafed Elbows (1966), John Cassavetes's Academy Award-nominated Faces and Brian de Palma's Greetings (each from 1968) which in turn were influenced by the culture of The Beat Generation, the polar opposite to the conformist, gray-flannel conformity of 1950s America.
Most Indiewood films are first shown at film festivals with the hopes of further distribution by being picked up (or purchased) by a larger film company or distributor alongside awards consideration (e.g. 2009's A Single Man).
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