From Major to Minor 

Why the best films of 2004 look like indies but aren't.

Page 3 of 3

Alas, Primer hasn't made a fortune, despite being touted by Esquire as the best sci-fi movie since 2001: A Space Odyssey. A major would have buried it long ago: Primer has pocketed a meager $414,000 since its limited release in October. Yet ThinkFilm is still opening it in theaters, and Carruth agreed to share the expense of promoting and distributing his movie. And it doesn't need to make a fortune. After all, it was made for a pittance -- you could make 2,857 Primers for what it costs to make a Warner Independent "independent" -- and, more important, Carruth made the movie he wanted to, for himself if for no one else. That, and nothing else, is the definition of an independent film. "A preponderance of the best films released this year were independents, and that's not speaking for anything I did," Gill says. "It's a panoply of material, as it should be, and the range of diversity is stunning, and it shows no signs of slowing down because the audience wants it and because there are enough companies out there with some economic wherewithal to distribute these movies. It feels to me like it's the beginning of a new golden age of independent film."

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