Educate Yourself Through Independent Film

We live in the golden age of independent film. That’s not up for debate – it’s simply a fact. More high quality, smaller films and documentaries are released now than ever before. That’s largely thanks to technology improvements, notably digital film cameras and digital editing, which made creating an independent film with a high quality look cost thousands of dollars, instead of millions. It’s also because we live in an era when it’s easier to watch high quality independent films and documentaries than ever. They are a great way to educate yourself, improve your artistic sensibilities, and grow as a person.

So where do you see independent films these days? Even if you live in a big city with a lot of independent cinema, you’re bound to miss some things, and buying a lot of DVDs gets expensive. Thankfully, the advent of streaming online video has made it easy to watch independent film, and some streaming services have particularly dedicated themselves to finding, curating, and showing independent film.

The first of these is, of course, Netflix. Netflix not only has just about every independent film you could imagine available by mail on DVD, it also has a very strong streaming selection of independent movies. Unlike the big studios, independent filmmakers benefit from easy licensing deals for their movies to Netflix, so the independent movie selection is actually even better than Netflix’s selection of newer blockbusters. Netflix has dedicated categories for independent films and documentaries both on the DVD side and the streaming side, so if you’re an independent movie fan, Netflix is a top destination.

DirecTV has also dedicated itself to offering as many high quality independent films and documentaries as possible, more so than the other cable providers. Whether you’re watching on your HDTV, on your computer, or on a tablet or mobile device, DirecTV always has a strong selection viewable on every device. DirecTV particularly excels at newer independent movies – from the last three years, including very recent releases. Signing up for DirecTV is quick and easy, you can save a few dollars using which offers special prices for new subscribers.  This is an area where Netflix can be a bit lacking – it takes a while for movies to come to Netflix, but not DirecTV. So anyone looking to educate themselves through independent films and documentaries would benefit from both.

Some independent movies are really, really independent. They don’t have any kind of distribution deal; they may do a short theatrical run in New York, LA, or even just the filmmaker’s hometown, and never see a DVD release. These are the most obscure parts of the genre, but that says nothing about their quality: many of these give unique perspectives on life or explore areas of the world we would never consider. For movies like this, check out Vimeo, the HD streaming site. It focuses on this kind of smaller, usually pretty artsy movies, and it offers the same high image quality as DirecTV and Netflix.

All the services have one thing in common: they show true respect and admiration for independent films and documentaries. They may be less glamorous than the latest blockbuster megahit, but that’s because they don’t want to be. They’re about new perspectives, and they’re a great way to educate yourself and improve your cultural literacy.




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