CFP: Independent Film
Golden Ages: Styles and Personalities, Genres and Histories
The 2014 Film & History Conference
Independent films—films produced outside of a nation’s dominant film industry and its modes of production—both resist and rely on the official declaration of consensual cultural significance that a “Golden Age” suggests. Yet, even our understanding of their “independence” is a cultural construct that film critics, historians, and filmmakers use to define the patterns and particularities of their content and form.
How do we then understand the ways in which independent films relate to the many “golden ages” of the mainstream film industry? In what ways do these films simultaneously call into question and reinforce the notion of a “golden age”? How do we define a “golden age” (or “ages”) for these independent films? We invite papers that explore the complex categorical interdependency between independent films and their “golden ages” and/or those of their cinematic adversaries. Topics and fields in this area include but are not limited to:
- The ‘90s “Indie Film” movement and the impact of its filmmakers and film making on the industry.
- The growth and proliferation of film festivals designed to feature independent films and that contributed to their consolidation or appropriation as a “golden age” or movement, e.g., The New York Film Festival, the Sundance Film Festival, Slamdance, etc.
- “New Hollywood” cinema and the complex negotiations between the auteur and the studio system (e.g., Kubrick and Warner Brothers/MGM, Coppola and Paramount Pictures, the bolder endeavors of United Artists)
- The films and impact of independent production companies in the “New Hollywood” era, such as Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider’s BBS Productions and Francis Ford Coppola’s American Zoetrope.
- Significant movements in film history that were conceived as independent from the dominant systems of film production, distribution, and/or style, such as French Poetic Realism, Italian Neo-Realism, the French and German New Waves, Latin America’s Third Cinema, etc.
- Manifestoes and movements conceived as departures or resistances to the economics and ideologies of dominant film making, e.g., Zavattini’s manifesto of Italian Neo-Realism, “Some Ideas on the Cinema,” Germany’s Oberhausen Manifesto, Von Trier and Vinterberg’s “Dogme ’95 Manifesto” and “Vow of Chastity,” Solanas and Getino’s “Towards a Third Cinema,” etc.
- The creative and economic impact and manifestations of the digital revolution in filmmaking (digital cameras, i-devices, and editing software) and distribution (youtube, vimeo) and its relation to the studio system.