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Volume 10, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 1740-8296
  • E-ISSN: 2040-0918



The article will argue that American independent cinema became increasingly polarized in the first decade of the twenty-first century. On the one hand, ‘indiewood’, a very particular iteration of independent film-making that, for some critics, comprises ‘features associated with dominant, mainstream conventions and markers of “distinction” designed to appeal to more particular niche-audience constituencies’, continued to be the most commercially successful and visible expression of American independent cinema. On the other hand, however, a low-key, low-budget cinema practised primarily through the means of digital technology and exhibited mainly away from the theatres in various online and other digital platforms, became also a representative of American independent cinema, despite its relative absence from the Academy Awards and other platforms that provide recognition. Both these expressions of independent film-making in the United States have engaged with a variety of issues and subjects, though the wealth of resources at the film-makers’ disposal in the first case and the relative absence of financial and other support in the second means that each type of independent film-making has engaged with its subject matter in distinct ways. In this respect, the article will also provide examples through which indiewood and more clearly independent films have approached their topics, paying particular attention to openly political issues – in this case, the impact of the global financial crisis and the ways in which it has been handled by the films.


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