An independent film, independent movie, indie film, or indie movie is a feature film or short film that is produced outside the major film studio system, in addition to being produced and distributed by independent entertainment companies (or, in some cases, distributed by major companies). Independent films are sometimes distinguishable by their content and style and the way in which the filmmakers' personal artistic vision is realized. Usually, but not always, independent films are made with considerably lower budgets than major studio films.
It is not unusual for well-known actors who are cast in independent features to take substantial pay cuts for a variety of reasons: if they truly believe in the message of the film; they feel indebted to filmmaker for a career break; their career is otherwise stalled or they feel unable to manage a larger commitment to a studio film; the film offers an opportunity to showcase a talent that hasn't gained traction in the studio system; or simply because they want to work with a particular director that they admire. There are many examples of the latter, such as John Travolta and Bruce Willis taking less pay to work with Quentin Tarantino on Pulp Fiction.
Generally, the marketing of independent films is characterized by limited release, often at independent movie theaters, but they can also have major marketing campaigns and a wide release. Independent films are often screened at local, national, or international film festivals before distribution (theatrical or retail release). An independent film production can rival a mainstream film production if it has the necessary funding and distribution.