Chapter

Introduction: Problems of Definition and the Discourse of American Independent Cinema

Yannis Tzioumakis

in American Independent Cinema

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2006 | ISBN: 9780748618668
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748670802 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748618668.003.0001
Introduction: Problems of Definition and the Discourse of American Independent Cinema

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This introductory chapter discusses the problems involved in defining the term ‘independent filmmaking.’ By citing several examples of 'unlikely' independent films (such as Star Wars: Episode 1 The Phantom Menace) alongside more likely label carriers (such as Memento and Palindromes) the chapter introduces the various problems associated with attempts towards defining the term (independent of what?) and raises the question of why study American independent cinema in its own right, that is, separately from Hollywood cinema, especially as key companies like Disney started as independent producers only to become later vertically integrated studios and more recently global entertainment conglomerates. Finally the chapter approaches American independent cinema as a discourse that expands and contracts when authorised institutions contribute to its definition at different historical junctures and offers brief examples of how the discourse has changed since the early 20th Century

Keywords: Discourse; Independent film; Independent producers; Mainstream Hollywood; Disney

Chapter.  5645 words. 

Subjects: Film

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