full name / name of organization: 
Claire Perkins and Constantine Verevis (Monash University, Melbourne)
contact email: 

In recent years the notion of American "commercial-independent" cinema has become a catchall category for just about every example of US filmmaking that is perceived to be distinct from mainstream Hollywood production. Where the related term "Indiewood" initially sought to describe specific textual, industrial and reception practices, its widespread circulation has led to an amorphous category whose meanings are destabilised by the often reactive collapse of "commercial" and "independent" logic. This process is especially evident in work that attends to the industrial connotations of the term, and cultivates ("maverick") star auteurs in highly visible threshold figures such as Paul Thomas Anderson, Wes Anderson, Sofia Coppola, Spike Jonze, Alexander Payne, and David O. Russell. The question of exactly how "independent" this US commercial-independent cinema is in the 1990s and beyond remains an unresolved area of investigation for commerce and criticism alike.

In the spirit of intervening in this ubiquitous but increasingly vague field, this edited collection seeks to attend to a group of under-evaluated, post-1989 (that is, post-Miramax) American films that have been marginalised in and through the discourse and visibility of commercial-independent cinema. The works for consideration are films that (sometimes) showcase recognisable ("maverick") filmmakers and players, and participate in "indie" institutions such as the Sundance Film Festival and the Independent Spirit Awards, but films of this group have seldom been absorbed by Indiewood's promotional rhetoric. With particular representation from female directors—who are for the most part excluded from the commercial-independent sector—these films exist at the more "independent" end of the commercial-independent spectrum in terms of their production, reception, and sensibility. These idiosyncratic works marking out a distinct stylistic, political and (often) regional space that does not easily conform to the more "generic" offbeat quality favoured by Indiewood, In this way, an examination of these features can interrogate the classifying process that excludes them, and open up the term "independent" to a larger and more representative sample of work.

The book will be edited by Claire Perkins and Constantine Verevis (both of Monash University, Melbourne) and extends specifically upon the work done by Perkins in AMERICAN SMART CINEMA (Edinburgh UP, 2012), as well as other key work in the field by figures including Geoff King, Yannis Tzioumakis, Jeffrey Sconce, R. Barton Palmer, Michael Newman and John Berra.

The editors seek expressions of interest for 24 short essays of 3000–4000 words on any of the films listed below (and are also open to other suggestions).

The deadline for submissions -- title, 250-word abstract and 100-word bio -- is February 29, 2012.

General enquires and proposals are welcomed by the editors at:


A preliminary list of films for consideration includes, but is not necessarily limited to:

All the Real Girls (David Gordon Green, 2003)
Bubble (Steven Soderbergh, 2005)
Gas, Food, Lodging (Allison Anders, 1992)
High Art (Lisa Cholodenko, 1998)
Living in Oblivion (Tom DiCillo, 1995)
Old Joy (Kelly Reichardt, 2006)
Jesus' Son (Alison Maclean, 1999)
Keane (Lodge Kerrigan, 2004)
Kicking and Screaming (Noah Baumbach, 2005)
Lovely and Amazing (Nicole Holofcener, 2001)
Love Liza (Todd Louiso, 2002)
Me and You and Everyone we Know (Miranda July, 2005)
Nadja (Michael Almereyda, 1994)
Primer (Shane Carruth, 2004)
P.S. (Dylan Kidd, 2004)
Raising Victor Vargas (Peter Sollett, 2002)
Secretary (Steven Shainberg, 2002)
Tape (Richard Linklater, 2000)
The Tao of Steve (Jenniphr Goodman, 2000)
Trees Lounge (Steve Buscemi, 1996)
(What Happened to) Tully (Hilary Birmingham, 2000)
Waitress (Adrienne Shelley, 2007)
The Weight of Water (Kathryn Bigelow, 2000)
You Can Count on Me (Kenneth Lonergan, 2000)