If you are looking for independent film production companies that can help you with any of your film-related questions, you have come to the right place. In this article, I will explain what independent film is, why you may need independent film companies, and what they do. I will also provide you with a recommended list of independent film production companies that you should check out for your film needs.
What Is Independent Film?
An independent film is a film that is recorded and produced outside of a major production studio. These films are considered independent because a big-time studio did not have any parts in making them. Independent entertainment companies receive the credit for these movies, whether short or long, and they are typically different than what the high-end Hollywood studios prefer. This means that independent production companies can create films that are different, distinguishable, and unembellished.
Instead of being mostly about the audience’s likings, independent films usually reflect the creator’s personal style, preferred content, and unique vision.
When an independent film production company helps you produce an independent film, it is marketed by limited release, campaigns, or even a major release. Typically, you will find that most independent films are released at independent movie theaters, local film festivals, or instantly released for retail purchase. This is usually due to the distribution and funding available, but it does not mean that independent films are less appreciated than major films. In fact, many people prefer independent movies for their realistic and honest portrayal of events.
For more information on independent film, watch CrashCourse’s YouTube video. He gives a quick course on independent cinema and where it originated from.
After watching that, let’s take a deeper look at independent film production companies.
Why Do We Need Independent Film Production Companies and What Do They Do?
Independent filmmakers need to know about independent film production companies because they will become an important part of their career. These are the types of companies that individuals will likely have the chance to work with when starting off or while in the midst of producing a film.
An independent film company is a company that assists independent filmmakers on their journey to produce a film. They are usually not part of any major film studio and tend to work with individuals that have a lower budget, an incredible artistic vision, and an uncompromising narrative. This does not mean that the movie is not as good as a movie that was produced by a large film studio. Instead, it means that the film can tell a wonderful story and attract an audience; it just has a lower budget to work with.
Independent film production companies work together with the director to produce the best movie possible. Compared to a high-end studio production, the director does have more control of what is included and produced in an independent film. While the director is working on the movie details, the independent production company will concentrate on the budget, funding, and distribution aspects of the movie.
Most people who enjoy independent films state that they are different than major studio movies. One of the biggest differences is that there are no stereotypes or requirements to attract audiences, which often is the reason why filmmakers are rejected from big-time movie studios and decide to pursue independent films instead. I would not take this as a sign of failure or that your movie is bad. It just means that your movie did not fit into the Hollywood cliché’s at this specific time.
To find out a few of the best independent films that have been produced to date, take a look at WhatCulture’s YouTube video. The group in this video go over several of the most popular independent films as well as state their favorites.
After you watch the video, let’s look at a few actual independent film production companies that you can check our at your convenience.
Great Independent Film Production Companies
Below, I will provide a short list of independent film production companies along with their descriptions based on their history, qualifications, and produced films.
1. Sony Pictures Classics
Sony Pictures Classics is an independent film production and distribution company that is based in Los Angeles, California. It was formed in 1992 by Tom Bernard, Michael Baker, and Marcie Bloom. A few of its specialties include documentary films, independent films, and art films. This company is open to independent filmmakers in the United States as well as other international countries.
This is one of the greatest independent film production companies because it has a long history of investing in films and ensuring that the films receive a good return. Some of Sony Pictures Classics’ most successful films are Howard’s End, Van Gogh, Indochine, The Story of Qiu Ju, Germinal, Call Me By Your Name, and more.
2. Searchlight Pictures
Searchlight Pictures is an independent film production company that is managed by the Walt Disney Studios. It was founded in 1994 with the main objective to concentrate on producing any type of independent films.
This company is considered to be one of the amazing independent film production companies because it is known for producing and distributing many well-known movies, and some have even won awards and nominations. A few of Searchlight Pictures’ most successful films are Never Let Me Go, Black Swan, The Tree of Life, The Descendants, Shame, 12 Years a Slave, and more.
3. Lionsgate Films
Lionsgate Films originated in Canada in 1962 but now is located in Santa Monica, California. It is an independent film production and distribution company that is part of Lionsgate Entertainment. This studio is one of the most successful independent film production companies in America. Its focus is largely on independent and foreign movies.
Independent filmmakers find this company to be very hardworking and passionate about the film industry, as they have distributed many independent films that earned quite a bit of money. Several of the most successful projects that have been completed by Lionsgate Films are American Psycho, Affliction, Saw, Punisher, The Hunger Games, and more.
4. IFC Films
IFC Films is located in New York City and began working with filmmakers in 1999. It is owned by AMC Networks and typically only produces independent films. A few of its focuses include documentaries, foreign films, and label and genre films.
This is a great company to work with because they offer Video On Demand services through iTunes, pay-per-view, and Paramount Home Media Distribution. IFM has had many successful films which include My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Blue Is the Warmest Colour, Boyhood, and Fahrenheit 9/11.
A24 is a recently developed company. It was founded in 2012 and is located in New York City. This company focuses on independent films and has produced several films in a short period of time.
A24 has won more than two dozen Academy Award nominations, making it one of the top independent film production companies in the United States. A few of the most well-known projects produced by A24 are Playing House, Reggie Watts: Spatial, Jerrod Carmichael, Comrade Detective, and more.
Netflix is most likely the most popular production company on this list. It was created in 1997 and is very successful today. Currently headquartered in California, this company streams various independent films on its streaming service platform.
Netflix is rated as one of the best independent film production companies because of its large subscriber database. It currently has over 200 million subscribers worldwide. Some of the most successful projects released by Netflix are Stranger Things, House of Cards, A Very Murray Christmas, Master of None, Bloodline, and more.
7. Open Road Films
Open Road Films is another independent film production company located in Los Angeles, California. Founded in 2011, it has not been around very long.
It has received six nominations for an Academy Award, an award for Best Picture, and an award for Best Original Screenplay. A few of the most successful projects developed by Open Road Films include Gleason, A Haunted House, Red Dawn, Lockout, Silent House, and more.
8. Annapurna Pictures
Annapurna Pictures is an independent production company based in Los Angeles, California. It was developed in 2011 by Megan Ellison. A few of the specialty films that this company focuses on are live theatre, television, and video game publishing.
Annapurna Pictures is proud to have produced several movies and television series in a short timespan, which is something that independent filmmakers should take into account when deciding on a company to work with. Annapurna Pictures has had several successful releases such as The Master, Zero Dark Thirty, Spring Breakers, and If Beale Street Could Talk.
9. STX Entertainment
STX Entertainment is an independent film production company that spends majority of its time helping directors create, produce, finance, market, distribute, and so much more. It was formed in 2014 and has since been focused on producing television shows, films, live events, and virtual reality series.
This company is located in Burbank, California and has an exceptional value for a independent film company that has not been around very long. Some of STX Entertainment’s most successful projects include State of Affairs, True Life, Alex Strangelove, Work It, and more.
If you are ready to begin shooting a film to be produced by an independent film production company, check out In Depth Cine’s YouTube video. Throughout this video, he will explain how to shoot and record a film at three different budget levels.
Keep in mind what type of budget you have or plan to have while watching the video.
As you can see, there are several companies in the independent film industry that you can consider when producing an independent film or movie. I hope that my list of independent film production companies helps you in finding the perfect one that works for you and your future movie production needs. These companies are just as important as major studio companies because they are affordable, work around the director’s goals, and can help you find the funding and marketing to get your feet off the ground.
They also may be able to give you the experience and recognition that you need to make it in the filming industry if that is something that you wish to do. In fact, a lot of the major studio movies created by well-known directors once worked with independent film production companies before making it big.