American independent cinema is distinguished by its production and distribution strategies as much as by films that offer original content, style and vision. In recent years, a rapidly transforming film and televsion industry and independent sector have pushed innovative marketing to the fore and prompted ambitious, often disruptive distribution deals with cinema chains, independent cinemas and streaming platforms. At the same time, advances in digital production and distribution technologies, and changes in the viewing habits of audiences (not least because of the pandemic), have prompted new models of financing and release patterns in partnership with niche websites and streaming platforms such as MUBI as well as giants like Netflix and HBO. In the post-Miramax era, alongside 'indie' studios owned and run by Hollywood corporations such as 20th Century's Searchlight Pictures and Universal's Focus Features, multi-media enterprises such as Annapurna and the many one-and-done companies that exist to enable a single film, the A24 logo has become a familiar precursor to many of the most exciting, challenging, stylish, small, strange, innovative and affecting films in American independent cinema. Founded in 2012, its rapid US growth was built on the releases of Spring Breakers, Ex Machina, Room and the international breakthrough of The Witch. Subsequently, A24 has consistently fostered films that offer distinctive, alternative perspectives and is responsible for, amongst others, Moonlight, Lady Bird, Midsommar, The Bling Ring, The Lobster, Everything Everywhere All At Once, Eighth Grade, Hereditary, Uncut Gems, The Florida Project, American Honey, The Green Knight, X and Marcel the Shell with Shoes On. Since 2015, moreover, A24 has also contributed to the development of television pilots and series including Irma Vep and Euphoria. To the extent that its increasingly dynamic roster of films has dominated and largely defined American independent cinema for contemporary audiences, this academic conference is dedicated to analysis and understanding of the whole of American independent cinema with special interest in the films and series associated with A24.
This anthology aims to explore, examine, compare and critique the companies, strategies, films and filmmakers that have rejuvenated American independent filmmaking and made it newly relevant again. Combining contextual examination of the contemporary American film industry and the dynamics of World Cinema with analyses of production and distribution strategies and the particular innovations and uniqueness of the form, content and aesthetics of key films and series, A24 and American Independent Cinema will be co-edited by Maria Flood and Rob Stone.
Proposals for chapters on the history, context and praxis of American independent cinema and the content and forms of representation of key films and series are thus invited. Please e-mail your proposals with provisional titles and brief bios to Dr Maria Flood: email@example.com and Professor Rob Stone firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Maria Flood is Senior Lecturer in World Cinema at the University of Liverpool and the author of Moonlight: Screening Black Queer Youth (Routledge 2021).
Professor Rob Stone is Professor of Film Studies at the University of Birmingham and the author of Lady Bird: Self-Determination for a New Century (Routledge 2022)