Indie films may not get enough credit.

Despite making it to smaller screens, indie films may not make the cut to big screens and miss the Hollywood status mark.

There is not enough support in the independent film business, said Fatimah Jawad, art and art history lecturer.

Reposting films on social media and attending film festivals are some ways to give recognition to independent films, Jawad said.

Hollywood movies often portray minorities in a certain negative light, Jawad said. However, this allows independent filmmakers to show the missing side and gain street credit as producers.

“I think they beautify what really happens, mainly in poverty or in the ghetto areas or even in the Islamic community is more beautified,” Jawad said.

For example, the war movie The Hurt Locker was controversial because it didn’t show the struggles of the Iraqi people who also faced warfare between their own people, Jawad said.

Brandon Rosales, film and video junior, said acknowledging the real world’s unfortunate events through independent movies and using them as a memorial for those affected by tragedies is a preferred production approach. They allow real-life heroes to be created from those standing up in fights like for social justice and gender equality, Rosales said.

Independent cinemas can be more personal to an audience because they work directly with the community in terms of characters and scenes, said Duop Top, film and video junior. However, forming a cast from the community can be challenging, because people are not as reliable when there is little to no pay for independent movies.

“It’s so hard because it’s just like you gambling your whole production on, you know, with other people,” Top said.

The biggest issue in production is creating the content alone, Rosales said. Producing these creative works will always require assistance because it is not a one-man job.

Producing these movies on a low budget encouraged Top to get more creative. With hard work, faith and having good content, the only thing missing from going a step further in the film industry is getting noticed, Top said.

Most film inspirations come from something the producer is passionate about. So, even if it isn’t important to the audience, it is meaningful to the producer, Rosales said.

Many people forget how much passion and work goes into creating movies. So, seeing the rise of independent films gives producers hope and reminds them the art is not dead, Rosales said.

While creating independent films may be worthwhile, it does come with obstacles.

For example, Spike Lee’s struggling production for the movie She’s Gotta Have It became a successful independent film that was funded by a credit card, Jawad said.

“I’ve done so much, I mean, just to try to get a movie done – like, I’ve even paid people,” Top said. “I wasn’t even getting paid.”

Top filmed in places that were prohibited and was kicked out while trying to create the right picture, he said.

“One time, I took everything outside of my apartment and I went and bought all this stuff from Home Depot, and I built the set that I needed,” Top said.

Jawad targeted current film issues, such as modern polygamy in the Islamic community, hoping to fix the problem, she said. However, capturing a sensitive story like this resulted in her, a Shia Muslim, being banned from a mosque.

“It [the film] did solve some broken things that were happening in the community,” Jawad said.

Films should have a point, but occasionally there should also be films that are blatantly ridiculous and over the top, Rosales said.

Hollywood stories have the potential to capture films with a wider perspective, but demand depends on the audience, Rosales said.

It’s the connection to real life that brings people to watch these independent movies, Rosales said.

Despite Hollywood’s tendency to tell stories from one angle, their productions cannot be discredited because they motivate the filmmaking process, Top said.

To tell a touching story through an indie film that reaches the masses like Hollywood movies is a sign of accomplishment, Top said.


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