Everyone loves a good movie. The joyous feeling of just relaxing with a bucket of popcorn and being swept into a different world for a little while.
As you know, some of the best films ever made are indies, films traditionally made on typically bare-bones budgets outside of mainstream film studios. Often, these productions address a vast array of themes, like same-sex relationships, cultural issues, family trauma, teen angst, or good ol’ existential crises.
Indie films typically take you on a journey of the subversive, gritty, alternative versions of reality through the eyes of characters you think you know, but often get represented in fresh ways. Just think about the work of impressive indie Directors like David Lynch, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Stanley Kubrick, and Luc Besson.
To celebrate the colourful world of independent films, here are some fascinating facts about some of the best-known (or lesser-known) indies that will blow your mind.
Birdman was made to seem like one continuous take
Alejandro González Iñárritu’s 2014 winner for Best Picture is an original story about a jaded American actor who is tormented by the character of “Birdman,” a superhero he once played in a film trilogy decades before.
From its inception, Alejandro saw the film as one continuous take, like a play, but with the camera movements and face of an indie film. The filmmaker overcame the obvious technical issues that come with shooting an entire movie in a single take by carefully choreographing key scenes of seven to ten minutes each. By some magic, he seamlessly stitched the clips together to make them appear singular.
Not every indie filmmaker started out in their respective fields
One of the most successful directors in the world NEVER studied filmmaking! In fact, he was an English Literature student at UCL, making his first feature film “Following” on a budget of only £3000. The film was such a success during its festival period, and in a matter of two years, was remade into the iconic film “Memento,” which signaled the start of Nolan’s rapidly developing career. Both of said films premiered at the Raindance Film Festival.
A lesser-known indie filmmaker just entering the industry at the height of the pandemic, Bardya Ziaian has worked in the fintech industry for more than a decade. Despite this, he moved onto the indie scene during the pandemic, when he worked to produce his first feature film, a cultural comedy called “Super Dicks.” This film provided much-needed jobs for performers and members of the industry alike. Today, he’s currently working on his second comedic film, “Golden Boy,” along with veteran director Damian Lee, who is perhaps best known for his work on “Fighting Man” and “Ice Girls.”
The editor of “The Usual Suspects” is also the film’s composer
We know him as the director behind some of the most successful X-Men movies ever, but before Bryan Singer started making superhero films, he was renowned for making gritty indie dramas. Released in 1995, “The Usual Suspects,” was one of them. The famously twisted and original tale of a small-time con man quickly garnered a cult following. Something somewhat unusual about “The Usual Suspects” is that the film’s editor and composer were the same person. Now, writer/director combos are actually quite common. Who is it you may ask? Well, it’s none other than John Ottman.