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Art House Films: a cult following

Published: Mar 21, 2021

The low budget Art House films are indeed followed by relatively small groups of niche film fans. Our editorials under this section of our website discuss the types of films that makeup Art House film, the production, distribution and marketing of these films, and the movie lovers who follow these films. Per the definition of an editorial, these are just our perspectives. If you have a comment, please let us know, in the comment space below the acritical.  

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“I am on my way with total faith, based on little fact, to create my first masterpiece that will surely win the top awards an critical acclaims on Hollywood critics.”

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Maxx TEE – Content Writer

As a newbie filmmaker in the process of developing my first film, I have chosen to go with a metaphysical theme about the spiritual world.  Yes, my film will be feast or famine as with most art-house movies, especially made by first-timers like myself.  And yes, I have confidence mine will rise above all the rest, as do the other 5000 first time filmmakers attempting to do the same thing. 

My family, who is putting up the money, as well as my “non-art house movie fan” friends who would not get an art-house movie if you gave them the box office receipts of Reservoir Dogs, keep questioning my decision.  But those like Billy LAx who do understand what the rewards of an “Art House” movie that is good, and gets the buzz, keep me on the straight and narrow (no pun intended) with my non-linear decision.  Fortunate for me, being a Junior writer for Espresso Films and a young guy, I have lots of help from lots of people who are great film professionals and with a fake chip on their shoulders, help me with my screenplay and directing ideas and casting.



As I said, the film will not be linear. It goes into the spiritual world of the before and then comes back to the present then goes back to the future.  It expresses the lack of timeline in the spiritual world as is present in our real world. It confuses the star of the movie, leaving him to figure out the true meaning of time, consequences of our worldly behaviour, and how the spiritual world is influenced by the real world. It portrays demons and angels and the deceased intertwining with the living which is the same people and souls.  

It develops hell and Satan without telling the audience that it is hell and Satan, into a very evil place and the true enemy of lost souls, both in the living world and in the hereafter. So, I have terror, I have a non-linear story, I have a metaphysical spiritual theme and I have a deep-thinking screenplay with lots of secondary meanings?  And I have an ending that… okay not going to tell you that.  But no matter what ending I choose; I think I have the makings of what critics would call an “Art House Film.” 


One of the things I look most forward to is the film festivals and film markets and showcasing my movie art in domestic “Art House” theaters.  I really look forward to talking to those movie buffs that enjoy “Art House” movies.  You can keep a watch out for my independent Film by reading Espresso Films posts www.moviesbyespresso.com and joining our movies social networks.

Billy LAx – Chief Editor

Lots of people have definitions of what an” Art House Film” is. Let me explain one, which is mine, of what this type of film is. As compared to the standard movie, an Art House film, both in content and in style, manifests the filmmaker’s artistic vision. First, there is not an exact thing that makes a film ‘artsy.’ In an Art Film, frequently a director is expressing a deep psychological vision. Something very personal to the film artist. He often takes his audience into the metaphysical and supernatural worlds. Art House films are about the psychic. The director and screenwriter do their best to explore fantasies of the dysfunction especially with sexual fantasies, the morbid or holocentric delusions rivalling that of drugs.

Art House Film is often not linear with a clear beginning, middle, and end. It will go into the future and then come back and end whoever knows. Normal rational plots are not normal. The protagonist is often the star and the character you take the most away with. Often, the Art House Film will end badly, leaving the film customer leaving with a sad but satisfying feeling as they leave the theater. The Art House movie is rarely for children.Another key index that the film is an Art Film, is that these types of movies often make a social statement. Many times, they are about race or culture themes. They can be political such as Michael Moore’s recent films. Changing the world is a common motive for the Art House film maker’s endeavor to proceed.
Art House movies are normally low budget and they do not normally bring in much revenue in their exhibitions. The actors are many times first-timers and working for free and the production sets are purchased with favors and credit cards and favors pledging up to the film maker’s firstborn. The Art Film customers are a small, niche group, but they are extremely loyal. And of course, that would make them almost always an Independent Film.

European audiences, especially outside of the UK, gravitate to Art House movies much more readily than American audiences. One big reason for this is that many of the movie audiences do not speak English and most movies available to them, were spoken in English with subtitles. Hence, they are used to movies with subtitles and American audiences are not. Therefore, American audiences will not watch movies with subtitles because of the number of movies in English available to them. The other reason is that movie audience that speaks other than English and can pay handsomely for movies, are of small quantity. Therefore, the movies in other languages tend to be low budget. Action and thriller movies do not compete well at low budgets, however, Art House movies, with their niche film customer, can compete well at low budgets. A low budget is normally the only way a filmmaker will produce an Art House film. Another reason European made Art House Films are made at low cost and in their country’s language, is that the filmmakers are required to travel long distances to the US to promote their films.

Now for some history: The first Art House movie was made in 1911 in Italy. It was probably one of the few big-budget Art House Films ever made. As a fact, it was the largest budget film made up to that time. Movies up to then had been short films but three Italian directors, working conjointly: Francesco Bertolini; Adolfo Padovan; and Giuseppe de Ligurto had other ideas with an hour-long silent film called L’Inferno. The film brought the audience through a series of concentric rings starting with purgatory and leading into the worst pits of hell at the center. Each ring progressing toward the center found torture suited for more evil souls. It was a horrifically violent trip filled with demons and ugly nude people. Audiences around the world valued the film as art and the release of this film began the acknowledgement of film by critiques as the ‘seventh art.

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