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Film and Animation

Battle Royale: Independent vs. Indie Film

Homestar Runner

A cheeky, literal title written in a hand-drawn font, surrounded by shaky animation, and soundtracked by the latest indie band– Must be an independent film, right? Not so fast! In the latest installment of Strong Bad E-mails, The Brothers Chaps identify the differences between modern day independent film and so-called indie movies.

Best known for their internet flash comic series Homestar Runner, the Chapman brothers often incorporate pop culture references into their cartoons. Which leads me to wonder, have indie movies become enough of a trend to warrant their own distinct sub-genre apart from the rest of independent film? Strong Bad seems to think so.

In his analysis, Strong Bad sites three major categories in which there are key disparities: soundtracking, casting, and premiere showings. All of these are for the most part determined by the amount of financial backing a production studio is willing to provide for a given film. The cartoon details a costly formula for creating a seemingly low budget indie film that grosses hundreds of millions at the box office. With the relative commercial success of Juno, a movie that reportedly cost $7.5 million to make and earned over $231 million worldwide, major film studio’s indie and arthouse subsidiaries seem to have jumped on the formula’s proverbial bandwagon.

The question then arises: Are modern indie movies any less genuine than their low budget independent counterparts? For the purpose of this website, I chose to limit my coverage of independent film to both types of movies, but with added discretion given to those released by distant subsidiaries of the Big Six. As a music enthusiastic, it is a personal pet peeve of mine when indie movies appear to revolve around the music they are soundtracked by, rather than focusing in deeper on the film’s plot. If I wanted to hear a bunch of pseudo-hipsters name-drop some obscure band the screenwriter thinks kids in the 18-24 age demographic would like, I’d go to a concert.

Watch The Brothers Chaps’ delightfully snarky review of independent film here, and please reply with your thoughts in the comments section below. Do you think there is a major difference between independent film and so-called indie movies? Are indie movies any less authentic than the independents? Do you think this new trend in film production is a good of bad thing? Keep it clean!


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