Why are indie films appealing to older audiences

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.

(Photo Credits: Joel Franusic, youngthousands)

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.



Directing for a first time

It’s well-established that the majority of directors and writers in the film industry are men. In fact, for the 700 top-grossing films in 2014, only 13% of directors were women. 

It then may come as a surprise then that Chloë Sevigny,an actress and former model, is making her directorial debut with the short Kitty a film based on a short story by Paul Bowles.

Speaking to Refinery 29, Sevigny explains why she, at first, wanted to keep from being in the spotlight of directing:

“Of course I was always heard, having been in the public eye. People always want you to say more, but it was almost like I wanted to hide more as a result. People wanted me to speak as a voice of a generation, and I had no interest in doing that. I didn’t want that responsibility.” — Chloë Sevigny

In an interview with Paste Magazine, Sevigny talked about creating another short film, and explained that she has a preferred way for directing a film:

“I just made a second short film in Portland. It was all improvised and loosey-goosey, and I think I prefer the mannerisms of Kitty, having it more plotted out. I feel more comfortable in that space.”

Kitty, a story about a young girl transforming into a cat, released late November.