Hollywood has always operated on the principle that more is more: each time the most expensive film ever made arrives in cinemas, budgetary extravagance becomes a major selling point. But 20 years ago, the US independent sector stumbled upon its own marketing equivalent: the microbudget. Suddenly it became apparent that a film's financial shortcomings could be exploited to its advantage.
In 1991, two films changed the landscape of indie cinema and the way in which it was sold. Richard Linklater's Slacker, which drops in on around 100 misfits and eccentrics during 24 hours in Austin, Texas, and Matty Rich's Straight Out of Brooklyn, a tale of young no-hopers in New York's housing projects, marked the start of a phenomenon – frugality as a marketing hook.
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