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Volume 5, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1759-7137
  • E-ISSN: 1759-7145



Large-budget Hollywood studio productions generally prefer a high level of fabrication in creating a film’s setting, either through the building of sets or through special effects, because it gives the production team greater control. Yet that’s often been less true of indie films historically. For a variety of reasons, the setting or location of independent films often becomes a central part of the scripting of a film. It is obviously cheaper to use what already exists in reality rather than to attempt to create a location through set design or art direction. Beyond issues of budget, however, my interest here is in exploring how ‘place’ can actually function as a key element in the scripting process, especially one that is rooted in visual storytelling, by taking into account the myriad ways that a film’s setting can contribute to and enhance the narrative beyond the use of generic, decorative or touristic locations. Using examples drawn from independent cinema, the article argues that place can have an intrinsic, integrative, stylistic, structural, conceptual and thematic function.


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