The Sundance Film Festival is underway in Park City, Utah this week. Most people are chattering about which films will be the most successful, but when anthropologist Sherry Ortner attended the festival a few years ago, she was more interested in the filmmakers themselves. Her new book Not Hollywood: Independent Film at the Twilight of the American Dream is both a study of the lived experience of that scene and a critical examination of America as seen through the lenses of independent filmmakers. Based on interviews with scores of directors and producers, Ortner reveals the culture and practices of indie filmmaking, including the conviction of those involved that their films, unlike Hollywood movies, are "telling the truth" about American life.
Read an excerpt from the book, including an interview with former festival director Geoff Gilmore, on our Tumblr.