Independent cinemas are also called indie cinemas. They are movie theatres that stay off from the blockbusters and popular films and instead focus on non-mainstream films. They showcase individually produced movies, foreign shows, and art-house movies.
Characteristics of Independent Cinemas
- Showcase low budget films.
- Smaller audiences, sometimes even focusing on minorities.
- Strong ties with the local community.
- Many are found in nontraditional venues, mostly with a historical background.
- Surprise element for their audiences since they never go for the much-publicised films/movies.
During the silent cinema era (from the 1910s) most cinemas that showcased movies/films were independent. The use of technology in the 1930s changed things because the independent films could no longer compete with the big giants that produced chain movies. In 1948, in the USA, the supreme court stopped movie studios like Paramount Pictures Inc from owning cinemas. This led to the re-emergence of independent cinemas, especially in the 50s. A decision to loosen the rules in the 1980s led to another decline of independent cinemas. The 21st century led to bigger decline with the popularity of streaming sites like Netflix and Hulu.
Independent Cinema in Modern Day
Most producers and directors say independent cinemas have in recent times been used as a means to advocate for change in the community. It has also been the tool that minority people, including gays, black people, youth have used to share about the challenges they are facing in today’s world. Independent cinemas are also widely explored by filmmakers who want to have the freedom to express themselves freely without someone breathing on their necks and dictating for them what they should do. It is also the place where people who have a low budget but want to pursue film-making to go to sharpen their skills. Many of the filmmakers also say that independent cinemas provide them with a platform to get mentorship from filmmakers and to find inspiration to come up with their own movies/films.