What do The Black Swan, Terminator and Reservoir dogs all have in common?
(Hint: Reservoir dogs should give this away fairly easily).
If you’re still stuck… they are all independent movies. But despite their huge success, the film industry is largely dominated by movies made by larger studio production companies, such as Lionsgate and 20th Century Fox. In the UK independent films made up just 6% of the 2013 box office total, the majority of which was earned by the Academy Award nominated Philomena, and Rush, each of which grossed over £10 million.
But this is beginning to change, due to a growing interest in films that don’t just woo their audiences with digital effects that are made possible by enormous budgets. The attraction to independent films and cinema has been fuelled by the advent of several film festivals that run throughout the year, giving filmmakers a chance to showcase their work. The first festival began in 2006 and has expanded vastly, now including the British Horror and British Independent Film Festival, each attracting a celebrity following.
Independent film however, isn’t just about glamourous film festivals, and you by no means have to attend one of these events, to enjoy the productions. A few weeks ago I was invited along to a small cinema within the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), to watch Soy Cuba a Soviet-Cuban propaganda film made in the 1960’s. Not being much of an independent cinema enthusiast – the last movie I watched was X-Men Days of Future Past at Odeon, I had no idea what to expect.
For me Soy Cuba definitely fulfilled its reputation as being one of the most iconic films of world cinema. The use of experimental ‘emotional camera’ shots gives the audience a macabre insight into the atmosphere of Cuba during and before the revolution. Sadly if it wasn’t for this independent cinema I would never have seen this film at all, which is all the more reason I’ll make an effort to visit these cinemas more often, as well as watching the latest releases. To some cinema as they knew it is dead, but independent theatres keep classic films alive and kicking.