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Indie Reframed

Women’s Filmmaking and Contemporary American Independent Cinema

Edited by Linda Badley, Claire Perkins, Michele Schreiber

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Explores the films, practitioners, production and distribution contexts that currently represent American women’s independent cinema

With the consolidation of ‘indie’ culture in the 21st century, female filmmakers face an increasingly indifferent climate. Within this sector, women work across all aspects of writing, direction, production, editing and design, yet the dominant narrative continues to construe ‘maverick’ white male auteurs such as Quentin Tarantino or Wes Anderson as the face of indie discourse. Defying the formulaic myths of the mainstream ‘chick flick’ and the ideological and experimental radicalism of feminist counter-cinema alike, women’s indie filmmaking is neither ironic, popular nor political enough to be readily absorbed into pre-existing categories. This ground-breaking collection, the first sustained examination of the work of female practitioners within American independent cinema, reclaims the ‘difference’ of female indie filmmaking. Through a variety of case studies of directors, writers and producers such as Ava DuVernay, Lena Dunham and Christine Vachon, contributors explore the innovation of a range of female practitioners by attending to the sensibilities, ideologies and industrial practices that distinguish their work – while embracing the ‘in-between’ space in which the narratives they represent and embody can be revealed.

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Notes on Contributors
Introduction, Linda Badley, Claire Perkins and Michele Schreiber

Part 1: Production and Distribution Contexts
1: Women Make Movies: Gamechanger Films, Chicken and Egg Pictures and the Future of Female Independent Filmmaking, Sarah Sinwell
2: Killer Feminism, Patricia White
3: ‘A Woman with an Endgame’: Megan Ellison, Annapurna Pictures, and American Independent Film Production, James Lyons
4: That's My Story and I'm Sticking to It: Pioneering Practices in the Frontier of Micro-budget Filmmaking, Christina Lane
5: ‘I’m Absolutely the Right Person for this Job’: Allison Anders and Mary Harron on Lifetime Television, Michele Schreiber

Part II: Genres and Modalities
1: Gender, Genre and More General Indie Dimensions in Megan Griffiths’ The Off Hours and Eden, Geoff King
2: Down to the Bone: Neo-neorealism and Genre in Contemporary Women’s Indies, Linda Badley
3: My Effortless Brilliance: Women’s Mumblecore, Claire Perkins
4: Black Women, Romance, and the Indiewood Rom Coms of Saana Hamri, Shelley Cobb

Part III: Identities
1: From Documentary to Fictional Realism: Mira Nair's Documentary Roots, Fictional Home, and Production Politics, Sarah Projansky and Kent Ono
2: Having Its Cake and Eating It Too: Contemporary American ‘Indie’ cinema and My Big Fat Greek Wedding Reframed, Yannis Tzioumakis and Lydia Papadimitriou
3: Not Just Indie: A Look at Films by Dee Rees, Ava DuVernay and Kasi Lemmons, Cynthia Baron
4: Sexual In-betweener/Industry In-betweener: The Career and Films of Lisa Cholodenko, Maria San Filippo
5: Miranda July and the New 21st Century Indie, Kathleen McHugh

Part IV: Collaborations
1: Mutual Muses in American Independent Film: Nicole Holofcener and Catherine Keener, Kelly Reichardt and Michelle Williams, Chris Holmlund
2: The Feminist Politics of Collaboration in Lena Dunham’s Tiny Furniture, Corinn Columpar
3: The Director as Facilitator: Collaboration, Cooperation, and the Gender Politics of the Set, John Alberti
4: Beyond the Screen: On Contemporary Feminist Media Re-Articulations, Claudia Costa Pederson and Patricia R. Zimmermann

About the Author

Linda Badley is Professor of English and Film Studies at Middle Tennessee State University. She is the author of Film, Horror, and the Body Fantastic (1995), Writing Horror and the Body (1996), and Lars von Trier (2010), and the co-editor of Traditions in World Cinema (2006). With R. Barton Palmer, she co-edits Traditions in World Cinema and Traditions in American Cinema, companion series at Edinburgh University Press.

Claire Perkins is Senior Lecturer in Film and Screen Studies at Monash University, Melbourne. She is the author of American Smart Cinema (Edinburgh University Press, 2012) and co-editor of U.S Independent Film After 1989: Possible Films (Edinburgh University Press, 2015), B Is for Bad Cinema: Aesthetics, Politics and Cultural Value (2014) and Film Trilogies: New Critical Approaches (2012).

Michele Schreiber is Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies at Emory University. She is the author of American Postfeminist Cinema: Women, Romance and Contemporary Culture (Edinburgh University Press, 2014) and articles on postfeminist media and contemporary independent and Hollywood filmmakers. Her work has appeared in Journal of Film and Video and anthologies including American Independent Cinema: Indie, Indiewood and Beyond, Feminism at the Movies and Reclaiming the Archive: Feminism and Film History.


'A groundbreaking collection, with an all-star feminist cast of editors and contributors, Indie Reframed taps the many benefits of examining women’s agency in the production and distribution practices of independent cinema. Theoretically savvy and up-to-date, the volume satisfyingly redresses the gender imbalance of earlier indie film scholarship.'

- Dr Catherine Grant, University of Sussex

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