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Me on Battleship Pretension: a three-hour course on the nineties’ “Indiewood” movement

The latest episode of the film podcast Battleship Pretension [RSS, iTunes] features yours truly on the third mic, discussing the history of the “Indiewood” movement in the United States. If you’ve personally experienced any important chapter in the history of American independent film, you’ve experienced this one: it saw the combined forces of the Sundance Film Festival, Miramax Films, and an energetic pack of young (or young-ish) Gen-X (or Gen-X-ish) filmmakers release a storm of creativity into the mainstream U.S. zeitgeist, the likes of which it hadn’t seen since the “New Hollywood” of the seventies. Quentin Tarantino, Kevin Smith, Robert Rodriguez, Steven Soderbergh, Wes Anderson, Paul Thomas Anderson — like these guys’ work or not, you can’t help but get drawn in by how they made it, how it pulled them into the public consciousness, and how they rode the wave even as it broke.

And if you happened to come of age as a filmmaker or cinephile in the nineties, you couldn’t help but draw inspiration from all these Indiewood directors’ nearly budgetless but always exhilarating first features. After a bit of discussion about, of course, travel in New Zealand, Tyler, David, and I work our way through a history of Indiewood through a selection of these debut films:

Alas, as my research revealed to me, any guide like this is doomed to incompleteness. Where, you might ask, has Tom DiCillo gone? Vincent Gallo? Allison Anders?  Alexandre Rockwell? We do touch on a couple of them, and our discussion does reach a few disputed members of the movement like David Fincher, Sofia Coppola, Michael Moore, and “honorary Americans” Christopher Nolan and Danny Boyle, but yes, the overlooked approach numberlessness.

So I encourage you, dear readers and listeners, to chart your own path through Indiewood. You can get a detailed lay of the land from the following five books, available from retailers and friendly local libraries everywhere:

Y’know, I feel like we might’ve given Hal Hartley the short shrift. I should go back on to talk about Hal Hartley for three more hours.

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