chapter
4 Pages

Introduction

ByYannis Tzioumakis

Arguably the most controversial characteristic of American independent cinema is that it has been practised both away from the influence (financial, aesthetic, ideological) of the Hollywood majors and under their aegis, often under their direct supervision and with their full support. This characteristic has caused fierce debate among scholars and provided a platform for distinct ‘strands’ of academic work on the subject, driven by different agendas and often with no points of contact among them. For instance, in 1986, both the Velvet Light Trap and the Journal of Film and Video carried special issues on the subject of independent filmmaking, with the former focusing on the existence of a symbiotic relationship between Hollywood cinema and independent film production throughout the history of American cinema, and the latter conceiving of independent filmmaking as existing completely outside the major film studios and concentrating on the ways it could be protected from the dangers of co-optation.1