You might think that I have a preference: the independent or studio produced film. I don’t, not really. I think we have all seen good movies that were produced by a major studio and on an indie budget. We’ve also seen bad films, and they are bad regardless of who paid to make them or how they were distributed to us. They were bad for other reasons.
Independent films are often made because of a passion – a topic or a character that a filmmaker or writer feels is worthy and they want others to know. Studio films are generally made due to their appeal: a studio makes something they think people will want to see in order to make a profit. Sure, sometimes independent films won’t get funding from studios because the idea isn’t good or original enough, and some studio films can be made as a sort of promise to a powerful person in order to get them to do something else (in other words, get a director to agree to do the latest action movie if he or she can also move forward with the drama about their favorite book they’ve been shopping around for awhile) or because they can take the loss – a major studio can’t make only blockbusters, but they can use blockbuster money to pay for something smaller and well-crafted even if it doesn’t see the same kind of ticket sales.
It’s something to think about.
Seeing a major studio film is relatively easy. They are shown in theaters everywhere, then they move to television and digital and disc sales. They are promoted with trailers, posters, and commercials. Some films are so well marketed that they are hard to miss! You may go to see it just to find out what all the fuss is about.
Independent films do not always have that same marketing push. As a result, maybe you feel like you haven’t seen enough independent films. Unless they are distributed by a major studio or have some serious funding, you might not. So what are some easy ways to see them?
Film festivals and the internet are your two biggest options. For festivals, you have your pick. You really need to look around and see what is out there near you. To give you an idea: there is the yearly International Film Festival of India, the Delhi International Film Festival, Jaipur International Film Festival, Banjaara Film Festival, and the Gujarat International Film Festival, to name a few. There’s also a festival in Mumbai.
Streaming services like Netflix are often adding independent films, and you can even look by category. Some filmmakers even put their own movies up on websites or through sites like youtube.
You might even live near an “avant-garde” theater that will show mostly independent films or have rentals available. There are also trade magazines that will give you information on what is being made.
Really you might have to look a little harder or do some additional work to see an independent film, but they are often worth the trouble!