Determining exactly what defines an independent film nowadays is no simple task. In the past, any movie that was made outside of the conventional Hollywood system was considered independent, though the line between indie and mainstream movies seems to get thinner with every passing year.
Yet, while the distinction between the two has indeed become blurred, real indie films still exist in 2016 - those few that are not only made outside of the studio system, but made to go directly against it.
Hollywood's irritating habit of constantly softening blows and wrapping everything up in a neat little package has crept into indie filmmaking, and movies that adhere to their model while purporting to be indie are often showered with praise - Silver Linings Playbook, for example. In a time when the industry finds itself in the throes of reboot-mania and many continue to question its originality, it is important to remember the value of truly independent films.
Indie filmmakers are not bound by the restraints that come with working on big studio productions, where a clear formula has to be followed and the right number of boxes ticked. Without restrictive guidelines that are ultimately based on maximizing profit and setting up potential sequels, directors are free to be innovative and bring their own undiluted visions to the screen.
The following films have provided us with a much-needed break from Hollywood's inherent predictability this year, proving that indie film is alive, well and ready to offer viewers an alternative to studio-approved storytelling.