Not Hollywood (2013) focuses upon the production of value in independent filmmaking

As I have noted in a previous blog post, Chapter 5 of Not Hollywood (2013) is concerned with the production of value in independent filmmaking.

Among the films Ortner discusses is Charles Ferguson’s No End in Sight (2007), which is rated 8.3 at IMDb.

Review of Not Hollywood (2013)

Many online reviews of the book are available. A review by Martin Fradley at of Not Hollywood (2013) is of particular interest. The book and the review together make for a valuable package.

The review questions Ortner’s reliance on the belief that “the pessimism and ironic distance of many indie films is symptomatic of a GenX sensibility.”

The review asserts, as well, that in her discussion of films that “engage with the realities of life at the lower end of the socio-economic spectrum,” Ortner avoids discussion of particular “celebrated figures … whose work is characterized by casual affluence and … elitist solipsism.”


A definition of solipsism refers to: “1. Philosophy. the theory that only the self exists, or can be proved to exist. 2. extreme preoccupation with and indulgence of one’s feelings, desires, etc.; egoistic self-absorption.”

The review concludes that Ortner’s book offers a “detailed, often insightful and clearly-written overview” of the characteristics of American independent filmmaking.

The production of value

In the introduction to Chapter 5, Ortner notes (p. 147) that “it is the job of the independent producer to find the most interesting and creative filmmakers, with the most interesting stories to tell, and help them make the best film they can.”

The producer, she adds (p. 148), enables filmmakers to “facilitate their vision.” In this regard, she discusses how independent producers create the value that is a defining characteristic of successful films.

She notes that the young independent producers who emerged in the 1980s and 1990s “display a distinctive sociological profile,” which she links to specified social and economic conditions that prevailed during those decades.

As the chapter proceeds, Ortner focuses upon “the production of value in both the Bourdieusian sense – let us call it ‘symbolic value’ – and in a more substantive sense” (p. 149).

Life at the lower end of the socio-economic spectrum

Excellent, evidence-based resources concerning poverty include:

On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City (2014)

Race, Class, and the Postindustrial City: William Julius Wilson and the Promise of Sociology (2004)

Doing the Best I Can: Fatherhood in the Inner City (2013)

An April 22, 2015 ThinkProgress article is entitled: “This Is What Poverty In Jamestown, Tennessee Looks Like.”

A June 18, 2016 Globe and Mail article is entitled: “Who needs the truth in this post-factual world?’

An Aug. 24, 2016 Poynter article is entitled: “The more partisan your online media diet, the less likely you are to believe fact-checkers.”


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