Its lavish concentration on its business marketing efforts has escalated the concern of film critics and artists that Hollywood films portray an identity very different from the Americans. This "identity loss" has been addressed only during the 1980's and early 1990's by the "independent directors" who revive American identity in US independent film industry.
Wikipedia defines an independent movie as a 'film initially produced without financing or distribution from a major movie studio.' In the popular sense, any film that receives less than 50% of budgeting from major studios is already considered "independent." Its creative approach in movie production enabled them to garner as much as 15% of US domestic box office revenue within the period of January to March 2005.
In order to further discuss the current status of American Independent Cinema, there should be a distinction between a "national" cinema and the mainstream Hollywood. There are four defining approaches where one can distinguish "national" cinema as presented by various studies on the subject (Shaw 2002). First of the approaches is the cinema's economic aspect, how the cinema producers provide financing. The movie's subject and style constitute the second approach. While the third and fourth pertains to the appeal of the movies to the public in terms of its popular and critical acceptance.
It is the shift from the studio system of shooting movies in the 1950's to 1960's that paved the way for the birth of what we know today as modern American independent cinema. The consistent production of movies that are modestly sized in budget and features was preferred instead of larger yet fewer films.
In the previous decades, 1930's to 1940's, cinema performers were tied with their contracts in a major Hollywood studio that they were employed in. Both the directors and actors had a long-term contract with 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Columbia Pictures, and Warner Brothers, the major Hollywood studios in those days. Just to be temporarily employed, 'one studio will be "loaned" by one studio to another for a particular project with the expectation that such offers would be reimbursed in kind. (Yahnke n.d.)' This monopolistic approach in American cinema industry was only ended when television was introduced in 1950's, together with the improved capacity of directors to decide over their creations and the actors' capacity to become "free agents" ushered the death of studio system. (Chapter 2: Classic Films n.d.).