Independent Film

"Independence" is in many ways the Holy Grail in the film business—something most everyone who makes movies strives for but can never quite attain. To be independent in the film business denotes a freedom from something, whether the vicissitudes of the commercial market or the matrix of companies that dominate the production and distribution of motion pictures in America.


The fact that India annually produces more films than any other nation is frequently acknowledged but easily misunderstood. "Indian cinema" identifies a diverse range of popular and art cinemas regularly produced in at least half a dozen languages for large but distinct audiences within and outside India.


Although the origins of the Internet can be traced to the 1960s with the founding of the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) by the US Department of Defense, the medium's significance for the film industry began with the proliferation of the World Wide Web in the mid-1990s. Before the development of the Web, Internet use was limited to text-based communication by a relatively small number of people over slow modem connections.


Most of the directors and films from Iran that are familiar in the West come from postrevolutionary Iran; little is known about the cinema of Iran before the revolution. Yet Iranian cinema is in fact prolific and accomplished.


The indigenous film industry in Ireland tentatively emerged in the 1970s, but it was not consolidated until two decades later, when government funding arrangements were implemented to support production on a long-term basis. Irish filmmakers produce up to ten feature films per year, as well as dozens of shorts.


Filmmaking in Israel can be traced to the early twentieth century with the documentation of the land by solitary pioneers, such as Murray Rosenberg's The First Film of Palestine (1911) and Ya'acov Ben-Dov's The Awakening Land of Israel (1923). Commissioned by Zionist organizations, these films were screened in front of Jewish communities worldwide.


Given Italy's unparalleled contributions to the visual arts from the twelfth century to the present, it would have been unusual, indeed, if its culture had not made fundamental contributions to the development of film art from the silent era to the present. After being identified with the historical epic in the silent cinema, Italy's film culture was virtually ignored during the fascist period, but the advent of postwar Italian neorealism after 1945 threw Italy into the forefront of modern European filmmaking.


The Japanese cinema was the first of the great East Asian cinemas to make its way out of the local and into the global. As early as the 1930s one finds Japanese co-productions with Germany, such as Atarashiki tsuchi (The New Earth, 1937), while Japanese films were winning awards at the Venice International Film Festival in that same decade.

Journals and Magazines

Film journals and magazines are central to cinema culture and film consumption. Such publications contain information on developments within the industry, movies in production, and the technical processes behind the creation of a particular look or effect.


The South Korean film industry—producing anywhere between fifty and two hundred feature-length films annually—has been historically one of the world's most active national cinemas. The annual ticket sales figure in 2002 was $105 million (US), $50 million of which were for admissions to domestic Korean films.

Latinos and Cinema

Latinos/Hispanics are people with ancestry in Latin-American countries or the US Southwest, which was part of Mexico prior to 1848. The term "Hispanic," which has been used by the US government since the 1970s, includes people whose ancestry can be traced back to Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries; it tends to emphasize European ancestry.


To begin to appreciate the ways in which lighting can shape the ways we respond to a film, consider the scene in Alfred Hitchcock's Suspicion (1941) where a young wife (Joan Fontaine) lies ailing in her bed while her mysterious newlywed husband (Cary Grant) slowly ascends the stairs to her room, advancing through a spiderweb of foreboding shadows. On a small tray he carries a glass of milk that glows with an eerie luminosity.

Mainland Southeast Asia

While the film industries of the countries of mainland Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam) are all distinct, their films and histories do have numerous points of contact, and can be partly understood in regional terms. For example, the films share reference to a common and often tumultuous regional history and a common terrain, and many of them possess themes that bespeak the regional sway of Theravada Buddhism, as well as the former influence of Western colonizers and/or allies.


There are three kinds of makeup artists: straight makeup, sometimes called "street," which enhances an actor's features using cosmetics and corrective makeup; character makeup, which transforms an actor through facial prosthesis and other devices; and special effects (FX) makeup, employing mechanical devices such as robotic inserts. All three work closely with the director, cinematographer, and costume designer.

Martial Arts Films

In common parlance, "martial arts" refers to Asian martial arts—judo, karate, kung fu, tae kwan do. Though the Occident may boast of fighting techniques, both armed and unarmed—boxing, fencing, archery—the term "martial arts" retains its association with Asia.


Karl Marx's three-volume study Das Kapital (1867, 1885, 1894), along with the earlier Manifest der kommunistichen Partei (The Communist Manifesto, 1848), which he co-wrote with Friedrich Engels (1820–1895), and other works, were important to the nineteenth and twentieth century's numerous class struggles and wars of national liberation. Marx (1818–1883) argued that capitalism, although responsible for technological development and some social achievements, was fundamentally defective in that it was based on profit and human exploitation.


Few artistic movements have provoked such strong emotions as has melodrama over the years. From sneers of derision to tears of empathy, melodrama has the peculiar facility to divide and polarize popular and critical opinion.


While there has been merchandise associated with Hollywood films since at least the 1930s, the deliberate production of additional commodities associated with motion pictures has become more common since the 1970s, and accelerated tremendously during the last few decades of the twentieth century. For some films, merchandise provides a lucrative source of additional profits for film companies, sometimes even contributing production funds.


The history of Mexican cinema parallels and is inexorably connected to the social and political history of twentieth-century Mexico. Emerging during the modernization project of President Porfirio Díaz (1898–1910), Mexican cinema documented the pomp and circumstance of that dictatorship.

MGM (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)

Created via merger in 1924, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) was in many ways the consummate studio during Hollywood's classical era. With superb resources, top filmmaking talent, and "all the stars in the heavens," MGM factory-produced quality films on a scale unmatched in the industry.


Mise-en-scène is what we see in a film; editing is what we do not. These are simplified definitions, but they emphasize two essential things: the basic building blocks of a film—the shot and the cut—and the complexities of each that allow a film to achieve its texture and resonance.


"Film music" as a term has come to refer to music composed or expressly chosen to accompany motion pictures. The practice of pairing music and image is as old as cinema itself.


As a distinct genre, the film musical refers to movies that include singing and/or dancing as an important element and also involves the performance of song and/or dance by the main characters. Movies that include an occasional musical interlude, such as Dooley Wilson's famous rendition of "As Time Goes By" in Casablanca (1942), generally are not considered film musicals.


Perhaps no term is more central to film history, criticism, and theory than "narrative." Yet narrative is hardly specific to the cinema. Storytelling is a defining trait of human experience and communication.

National Cinema

Before investigating the constituent elements of "national cinema," the concept of the nation must first be broached. Contrary to its attendant mythology, the nation is not an organic, homogeneous, unitary entity.

Native Americans and Cinema

The representation of Native Americans in mainstream films throughout movie history corroborates the story of colonization of indigenous peoples and their homelands beginning in the sixteenth century, with Spain, France, England, and Portugal claiming ownership of "America" and the "New World." There are more films than books written about Native Americans, whose designated film role became known as the "Indian." The "Indian" in movie portrayals established a film stereotype that continues to serve the marketing interests of the highest-grossing entertainment industry today.

Nature Films

Nature filmmaking has a long and mobile history, from its pre-cinematic roots in nineteenth-century photographic traditions to its current status as a genre found most commonly on television, and perhaps most spectacularly in large-format IMAX cinema. Now only rarely seen in conventional theatrical release, nature films have alternatively enjoyed significant popular presence and languished in obscurity.


The period between 1943 and 1945 in the history of Italian cinema is dominated by the impact of neorealism, which is properly defined as a moment or a trend in Italian film, rather than an actual school or group of theoretically motivated and like-minded directors and scriptwriters. Its impact nevertheless has been enormous, not only on Italian film but also on French New Wave cinema and on movies in diverse parts of the world.


About one thousand feature-length fiction films and some hundreds of long documentaries have been made in the Netherlands, with heydays for the fiction film in the teens, 1930s, 1970s, and 1990s. In spite of this rather modest production, Dutch cinema may boast of several international achievements: such directors as Joris Ivens (1898–1989) and Paul Verhoeven (b.

New Wave

The period from the mid-1950s to the late 1960s was a turbulent one in many parts of the world. While African and Asian countries struggled for and gained independence from colonial powers, the United States expanded its own "imperial" interests in Southeast Asia and Latin America, with important effects on the colonial powers themselves.

New Zealand

New Zealand's filmmaking industry has been marked by defined periods of activity and inactivity, local expression and international exposure. This can be observed to varying degrees in most non-Hollywood cinemas and developing film industries, though it has become particularly noticeable for New Zealand, which has made around 220 feature films, approximately 90 percent of these since only 1978.


Paramount Pictures stands as the consummate Hollywood studio, a veritable paradigm for the industry at each stage of its development, from its founding in the early twentieth century as an integrated production-distribution company to its twenty-first century status as a key subdivision within Viacom's vast global media empire. During the classical Hollywood era, Paramount built the world's largest theater chain to become the dominant vertically integrated studio, while cultivating stables of contract talent and an amalgam of trademark star-genre formulas rivaled only by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM).


Parody is a comic technique that imitates a previous text for the purposes of ridicule. For instance, in the film The Great Escape (1963) the character played by Steve McQueen is repeatedly thrown into solitary confinement ("the cooler") where he bounces a baseball against the wall to pass the time until his release.


Philippine cinema generally has not taken center stage outside the region, which is a curious phenomenon since the Philippines has had a film tradition longer than most countries, has been one of the world's top ten movie producers for years, and has battled with governmental and other entities over issues common to the industry globally.


As a result of successive partitions of the country by Russia, Austria, and Prussia, Poland had not been as an independent entity for well over one hundred years until 1919, shortly after World War I. The foreign domination of a fiercely nationalistic people—essentially renewed with the German occupation of 1939–1945 and continued by Soviet control of 1945–1989—has strongly influenced the country's cinema even up to the present day and has led to a filmic production heavily dependent on political and historical themes.


In the context of film studies, discussions of Populism tend to downplay the history of the People's Party of the United States, whose organizers themselves helped coin the adjective "Populist" from the Latin populus in seeking a less unwieldy journalistic handle. Rather, film critics emphasize a more generally majoritarian sensibility ("The Folklore of Populism," "The Fantasy of Goodwill") typically associated with the New Deal-era films of Frank Capra (1897–1991), especially the "Populist Trilogy" of Mr.


Pornography is a genre that involves the representation of sexually explicit scenarios and is created for the purpose of bodily arousal. The genre employs a particular set of conventions to distinguish "soft-core" from "hard-core" porn.


It is now a truism to say that the term postmodernism has been stretched to the breaking point. Defining postmodernism has often proved a messy task because of the sundry ways in which the term has been used in application to an astounding diversity of sociocultural phenomena.


The cinema's prehistory is frequently narrated though the enumeration of various technologies whose invention slowly but surely led to moving pictures. Indeed, the capacity to produce and project moving pictures did depend on notable inventions such as photography, flexible roll film, intermittent mechanisms for projectors, and forms of artificial illumination such as lime-light and electric light.

Prizes and Awards

A vast number of prizes and awards are given by a wide array of sources for different kinds of films. While the artistic and creative merit of these various awards varies enormously, some provide potential promotional and financial benefits.


In the most general terms, a film producer is responsible for the entire production of a film from its inception through its completion. The producer supervises all phases of production (development, pre-production, principal photography, post-production) and oversees or actively participates in a film's conceptualization, financing, budget controls, casting, and director and crew selection.

Production Design

Production design is the creation and organization of the physical world surrounding a film story. The term was coined by producer David O.

Production Process

Film production involves a complex set of processes that balance aesthetic, financial, and organizational needs. These processes have changed over time: some changes have arisen in response to the different kinds of film that have dominated various industrial eras; some have arisen from the changing shape of industrial organization; and others are a function of the ways in which technology has evolved.


The word "propaganda" derives from the Congratio de Propaganda Fide (Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith), an organization established by Pope Gregory XV in 1622. Its original missionary denotation has been incorporated into modern dictionaries, where it is defined as the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person.


It is not accidental that psychoanalysis and the cinema were born in the same year. In 1895, Auguste (1862–1954) and Louis Lumière (1864–1948) conducted the first public film screening in the basement of the Grand Café in Paris; the same year also witnessed the publication of Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) and Josef Breuer's Studies on Hysteria, the founding text of psychoanalysis.

Publicity and Promotion

Hollywood creates its illusions through both its films and its publicity, mythologizing in its idealistic images of films and their stars. While sometimes the industry flaunts its promotional muscle, its publicity departments have generally operated in a more self-effacing manner, presenting the glamour of movies and their stars as natural, not created and hyped.

Queer Theory

Originating in the early 1990s, queer theory comprises a diverse body of intellectual inquiry. It takes as its premise the notion that specific psychological, political, and cultural codes have elevated heterosexuality to the status of a sexual "given." By revealing these codes and exposing their limitations, along with the unstable foundations upon which they operate and sustain their power, queer theory aims to "undo" the heterosexual norm, and to extend the power of cultural presence and voice to sexually marginalized groups who do not adhere to the workings of heteronormativity.

Race and Ethnicity

Race and ethnicity are social constructions—"scripts" for human actions and experiences—that have serious consequences. Though there is no scientific basis for racial distinctions, the discredited idea of "biological determinism," or a hierarchical taxonomy based on physical differentiation continues to influence discourses about human classification and racial characteristics.


Hollywood's involvement with radio predates the movies' ability to talk. From the earliest years of broadcasting, farsighted film producers and studio heads saw in radio a promotional medium made to order for enhancing the popular reach and appeal of their valuable entertainment empires.


Realism has become one of the most contested terms in the history of cinema. Cinematic realism is neither a genre nor a movement, and it has neither rigid formal criteria nor specific subject matter.

Reception Theory

Reception theory provides a means of understanding media texts by understanding how these texts are read by audiences. Theorists who analyze media through reception studies are concerned with the experience of cinema and television viewing for spectators, and how meaning is created through that experience.


Traditionally, "religion" has been synonymous with "spirituality." The increasing divergence between the two terms, however—particularly within highly secularized Western cultures, where the former indicates denominational affiliation, the latter an often unchurched seeking—raises the question whether there is now a contrast between religious films and ones of spirituality. If the religious film usually promotes adherence to a single institutionalized faith, the film of spirituality may well tap various—sometimes incompatible—belief systems, respecting all but refusing to grant primacy to any one.

RKO Radio Pictures

The history of RKO (aka Radio-Keith-Orpheum, aka RKO Radio Pictures) is utterly unique among the Hollywood studios, particularly the Big Five integrated majors. It was the last of the major studios to be created and the first (and only) studio to expire, with its corporate lifespan bracketed and defined by two epochal events, the coming of sound and the coming of television—events that circumscribed not only RKO's history but classical Hollywood's as well.

Road Movies

The term "road movie" is a loose one because almost any film, narrative or otherwise, can be interpreted as a journey. Likewise, many narrative films follow characters from place to place.