In the previous article, Indie Filmmaking, we shared our thoughts on how Indie films are considered cheapo films where in reality they are a part of fine arts. Here are few Indie films, we suggest budding filmmakers to watch and learn. Except for the Mean Streets (1973), all the other films mentioned here in the list are from mid 90’s to early 2000’s, it was an era of independent films. Many masters we look up at, like Christopher Nolan and Quentin Tarantino were young aspirants filled with hopes and dreams in a full indie-mode back then.

  1. Mean Streets (1973) : This Scorsese film, takes you into the roots of New York and makes you experience the Italian mobs and crimes of that period.
  2. Reservoir Dogs (1992) : Quentin Tarantino’s use of dialogue to build tension was something very new then. It was a period when dialogues didn’t play much role in films other than enhancing the character. But this flick was a tight kick in the gut of the mainstream cinema.
  3. Pi (1998) : Even Darren Aronofsky’s debut ‘Pi’ was as good as his latest piece, Mother! (2017). His style of editing makes this film outstanding and original. Similar to his other work, this film concentrates on the psyche of the lead role. Pace of the film shifts with changes in the character’s sanity.
  4. Donnie Darko (2001) : One can never forget this disturbing and bone-chilling psychological thriller by Richard Kelly. This film haunts the viewer forever and the credit goes to Jake Gyllenhaal, whose performance creeps you for hours after you’ve finished watching it. This film challenges your mental abilities, teases your brain and makes you look like a fool!
  5. Pulp Fiction (1994) : Any list made on indie films, is incomplete without Pulp Fiction! This Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece is a tight slap to all the screenplay formats and norms which were present at that period. Pulp Fiction makes the viewer feel like they’re reading a book as it has different chapters and it’s up to the viewer to link all the non-linear stories they’ve been viewing.
  6.  Run Lola Run (1998) : Don’t really know if Nazi German experimentations ever worked, but this Gemran experiment was something no one imagined or made till then. Tom Tyker shows different possibilities of a single situation. The film uses lots of methods to have a stylized visual narrative. It uses animation, weird camera angles and movements to convey the story which was unthinkable then.
  7. Memento (2000) : Christopher Nolan, the name is enough to make film enthusiasts run to the cinemas. But back then, he was an indie filmmaker who made this masterpiece with minimal budget. Screenplay of Memento can be considered as a textbook for screenwriting aspirants. This film set a new heights of having non-linear screenplay. This film runs reverse in time, it begins from the climax and ends in the beginning.
  8. The Usual Suspects (1995) : This flick by Bryan Singer is considered as one of the biggest plot twists ever in the history of world cinema! This feels  like a normal crime drama which unveils the plot by each step but at the end it makes the viewer put up a facepalm and feel like an idiot for the maker has made him one.
  9. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (2004) : This is where Charlie Kaufman began his surreal explorations and it’s his finest movie of all. This indie film is a psychological and philosophical experience which leaves the viewer in awe.
  10.  Requiem For A Dream (2000) : Darren Aronofsky again! This particular film is undoubtedly his finest. Because he manoeuvres the film’s pace slow to fast and fast to slow suiting the story and characters. It starts as a slow paced drama film and by the end it’s a fast paced thriller which has already made your jaws drop, shoulders shrug and head cringe. This thought provoking film haunts the viewer for days, makes them think and love it even more.

All these great films prove that you don’t really need a studio backing you up, or millions of dollars to make a piece of art! All you need is the right vision and a proper plan to raise funds and narrate your stories visually. We might have missed many great movies which deserved a mention, we’d love it if you decided to drop few great flicks in the comment section or discuss them with us in the mail.


Whenever the term ‘indie’ is heard, the brain subconsciously shouts out “Cheapo!”. Indeed, the expenses included in making an indie film might appear as an ant in front of the mammoth sized expenses bore in mainstream films, but that doesn’t mean they’re inexpensive. Studios are involved in making a mainstream film and with ‘great studios come great investments’. The investments involved in an Indie film usually come from families, friends and other close associates of the filmmaker and sometimes, loan sharks! So, if juxtaposed, Indie films might sound cost-effective and few even dare to call them “Minimal Budget” films. But, in reality, these are just few norms which are nothing but misconceptions. Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez made himself a lab rat and volunteered for a medical experimentation to raise fund for his debut film ‘El Mariachi’. The capital involved in making an Indie film has always been less in figure; but it’s the things that indie filmmakers do to raise that ‘cheap’ fund which is beyond our imagination, purely out-of-box!

An Indie filmmaker has to know about all the other crafts involved in making a film. Because, the crew involved in the project are usually amateurs with little or no experience at all. Nobody in the crew is stuck to do a specific job in an indie film, everyone does everything! In rare cases, the actors assist in directing or vice versa. An indie filmmaker’s hardest task is to figure out a way to shoot the shot they visualized. Sometimes, all the equipment they carry is just ‘a camera and a tripod’. They have to devise a trick or many to make the shot look professional. Many filmmakers use rolling chairs to shoot tracking shots indoor and vehicles are used outdoors and tapes are used to rack-focus.

Initially, working in an Indie film coaches you better than any studio film. Working with a studio is like cooking a fine meal but all the ingredients and even the recipe are already present right in front of you, someone already prepared everything and all you need to do is cook! Whereas in independent productions, you need to figure out the recipe first, then you need to figure out the ingredients! everything’s on you; you’re on your own; you’re the risk bearer!

If you look back in time, all the masters and their masters of filmmaking were indie when they began! They didn’t need to convince or appease a studio to produce their opus. They gathered the funds themselves, few asked, few were gifted and few went beyond all hurdles, put their lives on the line just to make a film! Just to narrate stories visually!

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