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Open Questions: Are Indie Movies Dead? Does It Matter?

Cut! Studios such as Paramount and Warner Brothers are slashing funds for "independent" films. iStockphoto.com hide caption

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The pre-Oscar countdown has officially begun, with the Venice Film Festival just concluded and the Toronto festival in full swing. It turns out we're still arguing over whether indie film is dead. In The New York Times, critic A.O. Scott raises the question and concludes that...well, it's not clear what exactly he concludes. That there were too many good movies last year, so it was hard for them to make money, so it's not necessarily bad that there are fewer this year? He also seems to conflate the question of the future of independent film with a growing feeling that 2008 is a ho-hum year for quality movies.

Somewhat baffled by Scott's approach and conclusions, I throw the following three questions to you:

1. What do you consider an independent film for the purposes of a discussion of whether they're dead?

2. Given your own definition, are independent movies superior to mainstream releases?

3. What films remain on this year's calendar, either independent or not, that you're most excited to see this year?

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