The intriguing audience demographics of indie films


Rebellious. Anti-authoritarian. Pretentious. These are all preconceived notions about what indie films are like, and there is an amount of truth to it. Some indie films do try to be too artsy for their own good and come off as these notions.

With these stigmas, it’s easy to imagine that a younger audience would be more accepting of indie films. They’re into that sort of thing: rebellion, being hip and rising up against “the man.”

But a post by Ted Hope on Truly Free Film puts doubt into this belief of indie films attracting the youth:

What is it that new audiences want? What must the indie community do to engage them?

It is really surprising how few true indie films speak to a youth audience… Are we incapable of making the spirited yet formal work that defines a lot of alternative rock and roll?

You’d think with truly free film’s anti-corporate underpinnings that those who seek out authenticity would respond…

This is something I’ve noticed myself. At The Palm, I rarely see young viewers, and the majority of audiences going to see a movie there look like they have great-grandkids.

David Llamas, a ticket taker and a concessions worker at The Palm, confirmed this. “Some nights, I don’t even know if anyone under 40 or so comes in,” he said. “The majority of people who come in are definitely older.”

Now, this is all anecdotal and seems like it could very well be the result of the fact that there are just a lot of old people that live in San Luis Obispo.

Even so, this trend hasn’t been noticed only by Hope and Llamas. Nigel M. Smith wrote an article for The Guardian noting that, as a whole, older audiences are being, as the headline says, “ignored by youth-obsessed Hollywood”:

This phenomenon is not new: older audiences, starved for Hollywood content that speaks to them, have been making the arthouse their entertainment go-to destination for years.

Wait, this has been going on for years? I guess I haven’t been paying attention then.



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