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+Indie+ films getting more respect from moviegoers, the Academy

March 25, 1997

'Indie' films getting more respect from moviegoers, the Academy

The issue:

Independent films

Her view:

Independent films are finally getting the recognition they deserve from the

public and the Academy.

Lindsay Reinhold

Lariat news editor

Currently and historically, Hollywood's concern has been producing blockbuster movies and big stars. The two combined lead to Hollywood's ultimate motive, which is to make huge amounts of money.

A lesser concern of the major studios' seems to be producing top quality movies with impressive cinematography and talented lesser-known actors. The major studios spend a lot of money on making second-rate films that are usually big money-makers. If the major studios don't feel they can effectively market a movie to the public, they throw it out the window.

This is where independent filmmakers come in. The 'indies,' as they are affectionately known, have rejuvenated the film industry by producing movies that the major studios wouldn't touch. After years of being classified as artsy movies, the independent film has finally taken its deserved position in the Hollywood spotlight.

By stressing quality cinematography and acting over the big budget blockbuster, they have created many wonderful films.

Independent filmmakers often spend years raising money to produce projects. Because of this, the people involved with the production of independent films tend to take the production of the project more personally. This personal involvement is often the driving force behind many successful independent films.

The moviegoers, along with the Academy, are taking notice of the independent film movement. The Academy announced that four out of the five nominees for Best Picture this year for the 69th presentation of the Academy Awards were independent films. Peter Travers, movie critic for Rolling Stone, called the nominations of so many independent films 'a revolution.'

The English Patient, Fargo, Secrets and Lies and Shine, all independent films, captured Oscar nominations for Best Picture. The English Patient dominated the nominations earning 12 Oscar nods, the highest of any film. The independent filmmakers earned 19 nominations in the top five categories (Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director and Best Screenplay) to the major studio's six, a statement that Hollywood is noticing the independent effort.

The bottom line is that the major studios are less concerned with winning awards than with making money. Unfortunately, the projects they produce are starting to reflect this blatant greed. The independents have realized this and have taken advantage of it by producing high quality, low budget films which are delighting audiences.

The Academy's nominations should be an indication to movie viewers that the independent film industry produces many great movies. It should also be an indication to the major studios that they need to improve the quality of their movies if they want to shine on Oscar night.

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