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Hollywood's Indies

Classics Divisions, Specialty Labels and American Independent Cinema

Yannis Tzioumakis

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For almost three decades the big Hollywood studios have operated classics divisions or specialty labels, subsidiaries that originally focused on the foreign art house film market, while more recently (and controversially) moving on to the American 'indie' film market. This is the first book to offer an in depth examination of the phenomenon of the classics divisions by tracing its history since the establishment the first specialty label in 1980, United Artists Classics, to more contemporary outfits like Focus Features, Warner Independent and Picturehouse.

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1. United Artists Classics (1980-1986)
2. Triumph Films, Universal Classics and Twentieth Century Fox International Classics
3. Orion Classics (1983-1997)
4. Fine Line Features (1990-2005)
5. Sony Pictures Classics (1992 - )
6. Fox Searchlight (1994 - )
7. Paramount Classics/Paramount Vantage (1997-2008)
8. Focus Features (2002 - )
9. Warner Independent Pictures (2003-2008) and Picturehouse (2005-8)

About the Author

Yannis Tzioumakis is Reader in Film and Media Industries at the University of Liverpool. His research specialises in American independent cinema and the business of media entertainment. His books include American Independent Cinema: An Introduction (EUP, 2006), The Spanish Prisoner (EUP, 2009), and Greek Cinema: Texts, Histories Identities (Intellect, 2011). He is also the co-editor of "American Indies" (EUP), a 6-volume book series that examines key titles from the contemporary US independent film scene.


Hollywood’s Indies is a major advance in our understanding of the art, commerce and industry of American independent cinema.  From his ground-breaking survey of the studios’ "classics" divisions of the 1980s, to his in-depth analysis of Sony Classics, Fox Searchlight, and the other indie divisions in the 1990s and 2000s, Tzioumakis provides an invaluable, endlessly insightful history of independent film in the age of Conglomerate Hollywood.  Moving deftly from the big picture to the tight, carefully composed close-up, Hollywood Indies examines the industry at large and also the inner workings of the companies – and the films –  that defined the American indie film movement.

 Thomas Schatz Professor, University of Texas



Yannis Tzioumakis is a key scholar in charting the historical development of independent American cinema. His meticulous historical research and attention to detail makes this book an authoritative account of Hollywood’s takeover of independent filmmaking via its specialty divisions.



Warren Buckland, Reader in Film Studies, Oxford Brookes University