Geoff King, Professor of Film Studies, Brunel University London
The aim of this site is to offer a resource for anyone interested in the study of American indie film or related aspects of cinema and film culture. Its main target audience is students and other academics involved in this field. But I hope it will also be of interest to a wider constituency, including members of the indie film community and anyone else interested in this part of the movie landscape.
Material you can find here includes a list of relevant publications, in some cases annotated, and links to some useful resources over on the right-hand side. There are also extracts from my own books on the subject. I’ve also started an Occasional Blog on indie film and related matters; see link above or here.
My most recent book is Positioning Art Cinema: Film and Cultural Value (2019), which includes a chapter on the relationship between art and American indie film. This currently only available in an expensive hardback, but will (eventually!) be out in paperback in January 2022.
Here’s the cover blurb for Positioning Art Cinema:
Art cinema occupies a space in the film landscape that is accorded a particular kind of value. From films that claim the status of harsh realism to others which embody aspects of the tradition of modernism or the poetic, art cinema encompasses a variety of work from across the globe.
But how is art cinema positioned in the film marketplace, or by critics and in academic analysis? Exactly what kinds of cultural value are attributed to films of this type and how can this be explained? This book offers a unique analysis of how such processes work, including the broader cultural basis of the appeal of art cinema to particular audiences.
Geoff King argues that there is no single definition of art cinema, but a number of distinct and recurrent tendencies are identified. At one end of the spectrum are films accorded the most ‘heavyweight’ status, offering the greatest challenges to viewers. Others mix aspects of art cinema with more accessible dimensions such as uses of popular genre frameworks and ‘exploitation’ elements involving explicit sex and violence. Including case studies of key figures such as Michael Haneke, PedroAlmodóvar and Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, this is a crucial contribution to understanding both art cinema itself and the discourses through which its value is established.
A recent collection I’ve edited on indie film is A Companion to American Indie Film in the Wiley Blackwell ‘Companion’ series. A great team of contributors on board for this, which offers a concerted examination of various facets of indie film and the wider culture to which it belongs. An extract including the introduction, contents page and details of contributors is available here.
My most recent previous single-author book is Quality Hollywood: Markers of Distinction in Contemporary Studio Film (2016). Although not focused on the indie sector as such, this book explores a number of dimensions of ‘quality’ as understood in relation to Hollywood that are relevant to the broader spectrum that runs from the indie sector to Indiewood and then to the ‘quality’ end of Hollywood and on to the more conventional ‘mainstream’.
My most recent book focused on indie film specifically is Indie 2.0: Change and Continuity in Contemporary American Indie Film (Amazon.co.uk Amazon.com) An extract, the introduction, is available here.