Festivals not only select and exhibit films, they also call in audiences and shape the conditions in which these audiences engage with cinema. Drawing from the author's changing personal relationship to cinema culture, and engaging with eleven films that premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, this article gestures to a waxing movement of independent filmmaking that is steadily eroding the hegemony of mainstream film culture. Films discussed include Ava DuVernay's Middle of Nowhere and Nadine Labaki's Where Do We Go Now? Significant shifts in the field of independent film are happening on two interconnected fronts. Directors otherwise marginalized within the larger film industry are refiguring narrative conventions by not only allowing for a multiplicity of experiences and perspectives among characters and story lines, but also mobilizing their storytelling structure to be shaped by this very difference. Further, through initiatives like the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement, networks of filmmakers and film enthusiasts from communities historically mis- or underrepresented in film are beginning to shift the constitution of festival audiences and thereby create different contexts for relating to film as audiences, critics, and film industry professionals.

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.