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Among the many action movies, cookie cutter romantic comedies and questionable horror flicks one name is capable of giving hope even to the most discouraged moviegoers – A24.
Founded only in 2012 by David Fenkel, John Hodges and Daniel Katz, A24 is responsible for delivering one critically acclaimed hit after another, of which 24 were academy award nominees. Vibrant and stirring Florida Project, immersive, endlessly shocking Hereditary and wonderfully ridiculous Swiss Army Man, A24 is behind all of these releases. Despite its undeniably enviable resume of various first-class productions, A24 has started as and still remains a distributor for indie films. ‘Indie’ – short for ‘independent cinema’ refers to a production not affiliated with major film studios. Indie films were born from restriction and necessity to work with limited resources in a post WWII era. The destruction of studio space and lack of funding, has resulted in new, raw and realistic kind of film. Although the independent cinema has experienced many metamorphoses since then, the reason why many people are still coming back to indie movies has stayed the same. The authenticity, something that many Hollywood productions lack, is what draws the audience to the genre. Now more than ever people are willing to discuss themes that major film studios are just not comfortable to explore. Young people, in particular, have been turning to indie films more and more often. Youth is the age when expression of one’s individuality, need to rebel and to belong reign supreme over everything else. The problem is, mainstream media seldom manages to paint a relatable picture of that. Hollywood portrayal of youth often gives off the same feel one might get reading a second-rate teen magazine. Saccharine sweet love stories, high schools populated by walking stereotypes and petty drama, none of what any of us experience in our teenagehood. Youth is a world of messy rooms, messy hair and messy relationships: things that just have no place in major studio productions. Rarely deviating from the fail proof movie formulas, Hollywood executives fail to recognize one simple truth, unrestrained artistic vision is what creates true masterpieces.
A24’s Lady Bird, the studio’s biggest success so far, is a testament to this. A teenage comedy at its core, it accomplishes what mainstream coming of age films have not been able to do for a long time, a genuine, unmasked portrayal of teenage life. A character full of contradictions, Lady Bird, resonates with many of us. Her need to both conform and assert her own individuality, love and frustration with her hometown, this confusing world of polar opposites is what teenagehood is. Indie movies speak to and engage with young audiences, these films are getting more recognition now than ever before. Indie productions have cemented their place as a commercially successful genre and it doesn’t seem like the fascination with independent cinema is going to die down any time soon. Alternative filmmaking is on the rise with A24’s tastefully weird and cool creations at the very heart of this exciting cultural phenomenon.
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