Declarations of Independence

American Cinema and the Partiality of Independent Production

John Berra

Declarations of Independence
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John Berra

Distributed for Intellect Ltd

224 pages | 26 graphs, charts, and flowcharts | 7 x 9 | © 2008
Paper $35.50 ISBN: 9781841501857 Published March 2008
American independent cinema has gained mainstream popularity in recent years as audiences tire of the bloated, clichéd spectacle of Hollywood films. But how independent are these movies? As John Berra contends in Declarations of Independence, the supposedly alternative film scene employs the same production techniques as its Hollywood counterparts and may find an uncritical audience in fans looking to attach personal sentiments and social reference points to art forms. This provocative volume questions the autonomy of independent film, asking if it is possible for a unique filmic vision to thrive in an industry of mass production.
Transition, Tradition
"A triumph for an informed, independent author unafraid to un-package the trade in cultural construction that simultaneously provides a socio-political reference through which critics and audience can attach certain films to popular movements and ideas." – Daniel Packer, Transition, Tradition
UC Magazine
"[Berra's] conclusion is well made – it's almost impossible for the indie film to establish economic independence from the mainstream, but we can still celebrate the cultural significance of its 'independent spirit'" – Douglas Allen, University of California Magazine
Chapter One
Genesis: Modern American Independent Cinema and its Position within an Industry of Mass Production
Chapter Two
Ancestry of Independence: Easy Rider and the Declaration of a New American Cinema
Chapter Three
The Art of the Possible: Hollywood Feature Film Production since 1970
Chapter Four
Oppositional Fantasies: The Economic Structure of American Independent Cinema and its Essential Lineaments
Chapter Five
Loyalty to the Rhetoric: Four American Film-makers and their Commitment to an Autonomous Mode of Cultural Production
Chapter Six
Graduating Class: American Independent Cinema as Finishing School
Chapter Seven
A Cultural Comparison: British Independent Cinema and its Relation to its American Counterpart
Chapter Eight
Selective Exhibition: The Sundance Film Festival and its Significance to the Independent Sector
Chapter Nine
The Business of Art: Miramax Films and the Cultivation of the Niche Market
Chapter Ten
The Reception of an Alternative Americana: Audiences and American Independent Cinema
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