While the vibes that indie films give off – pretentious, counter-culture, edgy – may seem like they would attract a younger, rebellious crowd, this is not always the case.
According to an article by Nigel M. Smith in The Guardian, older audiences are attracted to indie films after being “ignored by youth-obsessed Hollywood.”
The fascination that older audiences have with indie films is also apparent at The Palm, San Luis Obispo’s main indie theater. Jim Dee, the owner of The Palm, is very aware of the older demographic that walks through the doors.
As Jim Dee asked, “What happened to the younger audience?” Younger people gave their answers to me:
“It feels like a lot of the time they’re boring [compared to bigger budget movies].” – Sam, 21
“When I go with my friends [to a movie], we normally want to see what’s big.” – Chloe, 20
“A lot of indie movies are a little too weird for me.” – David, 20
“I feel that indies aren’t really for me.” – Emma, 19
From the young people I talked to, there did seem to be a sense of confusion as to what indie films are like and apprehension to deviate from bigger-budget films.
With older people, however, the responses were, to say the least, a bit different:
“I come here [to The Palm] because there are some movies, like ‘Eight Days a Week,’ that reminds me of younger days.” – Carol, 68
“A lot of indie movies I see seem to focus on the lighter side of life than what I see at normal theaters.” – Vince, 62
“Indie movies, to me, are more restrained and easier to get into than heavy-handed movies.” – Stan, 66
The older audience has a different understanding of whether indies are “boring” or not. An older demographic seems to appreciate the fact that while indie films may be slower than big-budget films, they focus on a more introspective side of life that is easily relatable and reminds them of being young again.