Independent movies are those that can’t get financial backing from major studios, which leads them to seek other means of support from several smaller studios or maybe even a Kickstarter or other crowdfunding pages to fund for their project. With that said, this list is about the top independent films of last 25 years.
10. Fruitvale Station (2013) – $900,000
Fruitvale Station is based on the powerful story about the death of Oscar Grant an unharmed young man who was brutally killed in 2009 by a police officer known as Johannes Miserly at the Fruitvale District Station in Oakland. The film explores themes of discrimination aimed towards African Americans. Painting the audience a disturbing image of how the law enforcements work against members of other races. Michael B Jordan was noticed for his powerful acting leading his rise in fame and eventually becoming the main actor for films like Creed.
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9. Donnie Darko (2001) – $3.8 million
This film is a cult classic and a landmark in 21st century independent cinema written and directed by Richard Kelly. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as a high school student known as Donnie Darko who’s intelligent and charming individual who’s brought into a world of intimidating characters and intriguing subjects. Even though it is dense with its ideas, in one viewing it is merely impossible to get a full understanding of the film. Even after 16 years of its release we are still talking about its mindboggling plot, which makes it a worthy advocate of independent cinema.
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8. Short Term 12 (2013) – $1 million
Short Term Twelve is a stunningly beautiful feature film filled with raw human emotion which is shown throughout the help of Brie Larson who stars as a Carer at a mental health institute for teenagers. The film is gritty, awkward but its real. The use of handheld camera movement throughout the film helps make it become more personal and with help from each character having an emotionally torn background. Short Term 12 is filled with hidden messages showing the reasons on why some people react to situations differently to others, and is a little gem in its own way.
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7. Moonlight (2016) – $1 million
Coming of age films don’t come in better form or shape than ‘Moonlight’. Strikingly shot and superbly acted, every moment of the film is crafted with nurture and care. While at its center lies the story of a gay black man, it is the supporting characters that make the film a cathartic experience. ‘Moonlight’ not only looks and feels fresh, but its story-telling is also completely original.
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6. Requiem for a Dream (2000) – $4.5 million
‘Requiem for A Dream’ is a film directed by Darren Aronofsky, and film not for the faint hearted the film has some of the most disturbing and depressing shots in cinema history, but this gives it a bigger impact on the story and how the character’s self-destruct in there each unique way. The Director shows off his originality and tense style of creating tension, complimented by the strange editing and use of two different angles for the same shot in the same frame to capture the emotion and suspenseful imagery. The film has great examples of cinematography complimenting the compelling effects of the film shown by the sonar cam, showing his point of view. Not to mention the most unforgettable performance by Ellen Burstyn which helps make this uneasy film an unforgettable one.
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5. Whiplash (2014) – $3.3 million
Damien Chazelle’s 2015 film about an aspiring Musician with a driven personality who is an underdog faced with an uphill task on becoming the next great jazz drummer. Whiplash is an upbeat adrenalin induced film filled with raw emotion and passion for music. JK Simmons who is known for his stupendous acting fits the supporting role of a foul mouthed abusive tutor perfectly putting on a performance which was worthy of an Oscar. Terrific use of dialogue and cinematography makes this one of the best films of 2014.
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4. Pulp Fiction (1994) – $8.5 million
Pulp Fiction is one of the most beloved films of all time. It is Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece, which cemented him as the one of the most recognised Directors in Hollywood History. A movie that is known for its irony and references to pop culture. It requires more than one viewing just to grasp the concept of the film. The plotline revolves around hitmen and a struggling boxer as both their stories intertwine by their boss Wallace. The film is rich with vibrant cinematography and strong references to other movies used throughout the history of cinema.
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3. Trainspotting (1996) – £1.5 million
Trainspotting is the cult phenomenon for music. Danny Boyle made a cult hit which had the strongest influence of drug abuse in film history. The story is about four friends and their fight to stop their drug addiction. The film is bizarre and outrageous in the most desirable way. The fast pace action sequences reflect on the effects of taking drugs, constant movement throughout whilst having one of the most memorable monologues in cinema history “Choose Life”.
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2. Shame (2011) – $6.5 million
Steve McQueen’s Shame takes on a man coming to terms with his addictions is one of the most surreal experiences I have ever witnessed. As it shows a man coming to terms with his inner demons. It’s colour grading is blue to give reference to the depressing atmosphere and the overall tone of the film. Michael Fassbender will be remembered for his remarkable performance in this film showing his suffering of self-loathing only to repeat the same cycle over and over only getting a form of relief and satisfactory. One of the most realistic films of the 21st century, no film has shown human behaviour like this in such brutal and disturbing detail. Steve Mcqueen is an Oscar winner but by creating one of the best films of the 21st century really shows off the fact he is one of the best working filmmakers today.
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1. Primer (2004) – $7000
‘Primer’ is not just a film; it is an elaborate science puzzle. To fully understand each and every aspect of ‘Primer’ requires multiple viewings — those who claim that they “got” the film in first viewing itself are either lying or are just being a smart-ass. When you finally “get” the film, don’t be surprised if you feel ecstatic and victorious, not very different from how you feel when you are able to solve a difficult puzzle. ‘Primer’, today, has a strong cult-following. And it may have its extremely complex plot to thank for it. In my all movie-viewing experience, I am yet to see a film that required so many viewings to understand it.
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