Top 10 film rebels fighting for independents

Making movies costs lots and lots of money. Dependency is the name of the game in the studio system and the cliché of the executive producer coming to set and scaring everybody straight is surely based on actual events. ‘Indies’ used to be the alternative to that system, but that movement is now so big, such an institution in its own right, that ‘Independent’ may no longer be the most accurate nomenclature. ‘Indie’ is one of the haziest terms in the film industry; in the era of Steven Soderbergh’s watershed indie hit SEX, LIES, AND VIDEOTAPE, things were more cut and dry, you were either in or outside of the studio system.

But fear not, ye indie fans, there are still film rebels fighting for independents! In this era of technological breakthroughs and crowdfunding independent filmmakers have new tools in their toolboxes and new audiences at their fingertips. Check out these heroes who have all proven that it can be done without the backing of a larger studio. Start the revolution!


She’s a hot blond actress AND a brave independent filmmaker. Ever since Sarah Polley’s career-making turns in GO and especially (another indie darling) Atom Egoyan’s THE SWEET HEREAFTER, has been a force to be reckoned with both on the inside of the system as well as on the outside, as a writer, director and activist (in addition to acclaimed actress). Her new feature, TAKE THIS WALTZ, opened last week to critical praise.

Independent Breakthrough: THE SWEET HEREAFTER, Atom Egoyan’s groundbreaking 1997 tragedy, may not be considered classically ‘independent’, but as an entirely Canadian-produced film, this was far outside the realm of southerly Hollywood.

Biggest Success: AWAY FROM HER, Polley’s directorial and feature writing debut, was nominated for two Oscars, for her screenplay and for lead actress Julie Christie, as a woman suffering from Alzheimer’s.

Historical Battle: Polley’s main battle, it would seem, is against Hollywood itself–after charming the Canadian masses on TV in AVONLEA, she left acting altogether to partake in the political struggles of the far left wing in her home country, at one point even losing some teeth in a bloody clash with the police. Although she’s returned to acting and film, she is outspoken about not being seduced by Hollywood and only making films that are ‘socially relevant’ (and in some circles, DAWN OF THE DEAD is considered extremely socially relevant).

Biggest Failure: In her quest for artistic purity and anti-establishment greatness, Polley passed up the role in ALMOST FAMOUS…that went to Kate Hudson.

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