By Geoff King; Dawson Books
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Additional resources for American independent cinema
Estimates vary, but the production ﬁgure by the end of the 1990s was put in the region of 1,300 to 1,500 features a year, far from all of which would ﬁnd a distributor. ’60 Competition was not just between rival distributors but also internal. Miramax, for example, released the performance-based friendship drama Walking and Talking (1996) within days of two of its biggest ﬁlms of the year, adaptations of Jane Austen’s Emma and Irving Walsh’s Trainspotting. 8 million, sold to Miramax for $10 million and grossing $26 million in the USA.
On the one hand, the independent sector has become bigger and stronger, in its industrial and institutional base. Other developments in the second half of the 1990s included the creation of its own cable television channels: the Independent Film Channel, launched in 1994 (by Rainbow Media Holdings, a subsidiary of Cablevision, a substantial telecommunications and entertainment corporation), which subsequently diversiﬁed into both production (IFC Films) and distribution (IFC Productions); and the Sundance Channel, a joint venture between Robert Redford, Showtime Networks and Universal Studios.
Quantity took over from quality of production, according to Pierson. 30 For Rosen, the development of the independent market also brought with it a change in the character and motivation of those who achieved the ambition. 31 Many independent ﬁlms failed, whether through lack of quality or because too many were being produced, as did a number of the small distribution companies that had come onto the scene earlier in the decade. Some small distributors made the risky but tempting move into the ﬁnancing or production of features, effectively becoming microstudios.
American independent cinema by Geoff King; Dawson Books