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American Independent CinemaAn Introduction$
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Yannis Tzioumakis

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780748618668

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748618668.001.0001

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The Institutionalisation of American Independent Cinema

The Institutionalisation of American Independent Cinema

(p.246) 8 The Institutionalisation of American Independent Cinema
American Independent Cinema

Yannis Tzioumakis

Edinburgh University Press

The bankruptcy of Orion Pictures and of a number of smaller independent companies in the late 1980s demonstrated to other players that economic survival depended on their symbiotic relationship with the established majors. This relationship has primarily taken the form of corporate contracts (by which independent companies were bought out by the majors but left to operate as relatively autonomous or were provided finance to develop and produce films for the majors). Additionally, since the 1990s, the majors have also created their own brands of independent films through semi-autonomous units (Paramount Classics, Sony Pictures Classics, Fox Searchlight, etc), which are known as classics or specialty divisions. As a consequence, American independent cinema has been increasingly controlled by the majors to the extent that it has now become an industrial category, another marketing strategy for product differentiation. The chapter offers an overview of the above developments in the commercial independent cinema sector and discusses the consequences of such an institutionalisation. Case studies: sex, lies and videotape (Soderbergh, 1989), Clerks (Smith, 1994)

Keywords:   Institutionalisation, Classics divisions, Specialty divisions, Product differentiation, Corporate contract, Major studios

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