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USF Characteristics of Independent Film American Movies Essay

USF Characteristics of Independent Film American Movies Essay

Question Description

I’m working on a film writing question and need support to help me understand better.

Examine two of the films listed in this module. One must be a foreign film from the M6 Foreign Films Selections (The King’s Speech (2010), My Left Foot (1989), Roma (2018), Pink (2016), The Farewell (2019), Central Station (Central do Brasil) (1998), City of God (2002), Wadjda (2012), The Seven Samurai (1954), Neerja (2016), The Lobster (Greece) (2015), Ex Machina (UK) (2014), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), Cinema Paradiso (1988), The Forest (2016), The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988), Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001)) and the other an independent film from the M6 New Independent Cinema Selections (This is Spinal Tap (1984), Waiting for Guffman (1996), Reservoir Dogs (1992), Eighth Grade (2018), Trust (1990), Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me (1992), Waitress (2007), Lost in Translation (2003), Sideways (2004), Babel (2006), Bridman (2014), Boyhood (2014), Blue Jasmine (2013), American Hustle (2013), The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), Silver Linings Playbook (2012), The Witch (USA) (2016)). Write a short (1000 words) essay focused on the following question: What are the characteristics of independent film with particular regard to performance beyond the basic definition? In other words, how do your films EXPAND the basic definition? You must do more than merely show how each of your movies meet the basic criteria as an independent film. The movies in this section are easily identified as meeting the basic definition, but you need to go further in your analysis for your essay. Please avoid extensively summarizing the plot at the expense of analyzing the actor’s performance. Please place this information in your header:

Word Count
Independent Film Title (date)
International Film Title (date)

Give your essay a title and center it below the header information.

I’ve received several inquiries from students who are having trouble understanding the prompt. The presentation, videos and readings will help greatly, but if you are still wondering what to do, I’ll try to simplify it for you as much as possible here:

  1. You know the basic definition of an independent film from the presentations, readings and videos.
  2. You know that independent and foreign films both fit the basic definition (e.g., budget, produced outside the big studio, cast, story, etc.).
  3. As you know from watching the presentation in this module, when you watch movies today with strong ensemble casts or art films with international actors made independently outside the dominance of the corporate studios, you are witnessing the effect of foreign films on the Hollywood film industry.
  4. Therefore, do not merely describe how your independent and international films meet the basic definition, but focus on how they expand the definition. Find elements in the films that you recognize as being unique and influential. Consider how your films might affect the way big-budget films are made.
  5. Some examples include camera techniques, storyline, personal issues that concern a director, a role that a celebrity might not usually perform.
  6. This assignment is the culmination of the course, pushing you to think for yourself and try to find elements that distinguish your independent and foreign film from the mainstream. You can’t merely say ”budget under $20M” or “premiered at Sundance” and leave it at that.
  7. As an example, the producers of the big-budget ($110+M) big-studio bomb Ghost in the Shell could have learned a lot from the independent film Ex Machina ($16M). A good essay on Ex Machina would focus on the elements in the film that make it important and meaningful other than its budget and foreign origin (UK). I might also bring in examples from the film Her, which has an independent feel to it (what does that mean?), released by a small U.S. studio and had a relatively low budget.
  8. A simple way to look at this assignment is to ask whether your chosen films could teach Hollywood and the money machine of CGI-driven movies. Many students seem to think this assignment is about identifying why their choice is independent when the basic definition is clear in the presentation and readings. This assignment requires higher levels of critical thinking. The best papers are very specific in saying how these films EXPAND the basic definition. What can Hollywood learn from Indies? Why are independent film festivals like Sundance so important? Why do top actors do indies when they can make more money doing television or a CGI feature? What do your selected films have that could enhance major studio film making?

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