An independent film is a film written and produced without the major studio’s influence or help, that is it. A distribution of a film is the last step in the process of making a film. The story goes through development in the first phase, and organization in the pre-production of the story in the second phase. Thirdly, the story turns into a film in the third phase and the film is edited in the fourth phase and set up for exhibition to the public in the last and fifth phase.
What exactly is Independent Film and Independent Distribution and how is it different from Hollywood? The answer changes with time. Carl Laemmle, the founder of Independent film in 1909 founded it to break free of Edison’s stronghold over the industry. Edison continuously tried to patent the process of distribution with film and every process surrounding it. Laemmle did not want to conform to Edison’s standards. David Selznick in the 1930’s did it to break free of Hollywood at the time too, because still Hollywood had a monopoly over the talent and distribution methods. Even still, after the divestiture/split of the theatres from the studios, the 1960’s saw John Cassavettes not wanting to be influenced by Hollywood methods and only be influenced by himself. The list goes on and on till today. All Major studios have done it too with their little boutique “Independent” divisions to muscle out what they call the so called “Independents”. This is when the definition changes with time.
The practice has changed considerably, from producers having one “patented” outlet to sell the film from the 1900’s to 1930’s, then filmmakers had a film festival to showcase and sell their work to internationally in Venice in 1932. Then more film festivals sprung up, i.e. Cannes, Moscow Film festival and suddenly filmmakers had more and more outlets, especially selling to TV in the 1950’s. Filmmaking became more and more democratized up until 1990’s – present day, where independent filmmaking is at its peaks with a huge number of choices to choose from and get their movie distributed. Viewing habits have changed too which make it harder to get your movie seen, too many movies to see and not enough distributor reps to see them. This paper will document the history of Independent film; discover ways to learn from history while examining how to get your film sold today.