Streaming helps independent filmmakers reach larger audiences


Sumedha Kota

After the rise of COVID-19, when movie theaters and a large part of the commercial movies were shut down, many of the people who were forced to spend more time at home, turned to their television screens. Already popular streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime were used increasingly, and not just for shows, but also for cinema. A large number of those movies released on streaming platforms were directed by independent filmmakers. 

Independent filmmakers who often lack backing from major production houses, have long struggled to produce or even distribute their content and pay back their investors, which means many projects often stay in post-production or never go past the initial script reading. 

Because of those challenges, audiences often do not get to hear fresh, diverse tales from new storytellers.

When independent filmmakers and smaller production houses are not accounted for, a large number of stories which are told by new storytellers, or those that have an eye for the best stories are forgotten. 

However, streaming services, which increased their line-up of independent films, gave these interesting stories a wide viewership. Previously, even the independent filmmakers who were able to produce their movies, found themselves stuck in battles of distribution. With streaming services, the stories of these filmmakers are distributed on a wide platform without the struggles that come with traditional forms of distribution.

The collaboration of independent filmmakers and streaming services is a sort of revival for the genre of art-house films, which are often critically acclaimed, but still stay in their niche and do not reach deserved audiences. Streaming services provide the exact platform these unique stories need for audiences to appreciate them.

Both Netflix and Amazon produced and aired higher numbers of art-house films, and both hosted films that dominated last year’s Sundance film festival.

Now, with the film awards season coming up, streaming services have an opportunity to prove their worth by continuing to distribute tasteful art-house films, the very films which often do so well during awards season.

Overall, streaming services have helped rejuvenate the declining area of art-house films by providing distribution, which is an aspect where these independent films most often struggle. In the future, this could motivate young filmmakers to believe in the success of their films.

Click here to read more of Sumedha’s works.