40 Exquisite Independent Film Posters

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An independent film, traditionally speaking, is generally referred to as a movie created entirely outside the traditional Hollywood system. It is usually the kind of production where the actors double up as camera men, friends and family provide the bankroll and the director’s mom is in charge of craft services.

Over the last few years, however, the “indie” film has taken on a whole new face. Large productions houses have formed specialty divisions that focus exclusively on “limited run” titles. These are movies that may not have the broad appeal of a summer blockbuster, but still enough demand worth releasing in a limited capacity – often to critical acclaim.

Of course with a limited run comes a limited budget. Luxuries such as wide-spread marketing campaigns are slim-to-none for the indie gem. It is for this reason that poster art plays an particularly significant role in an independent film’s marketing strategy.

Like the movies themselves, poster art for independent films can be especially beautiful and most certainly stand out from the crowd. These posters are imaginative and thoughtful while not forgetting the fundamentals such as color and typography. The result is more often than not an eye catching work of art that sparks your interest and curiosity – which is exactly what it’s supposed to do.

It is in tribute these wonderful works of art that Smashing Magazine has collected 40 Exquisite Independent Film Posters for your enjoyment. We hope they are as inspiring to you as they are to us.

40 Exquisite Independent Film Posters

Zoo (2007)1

Screenshot2

Paris, Je T’aime (2006)3

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Primer (2004)5

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Taxi to the Dark Side (2007)7

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Machinist (2004)9

Screenshot10

Funny Games (2007)11

Screenshot12

Brick (2005)13

Screenshot14

Birds Of America (2008)15

Screenshot16

Paranoid Park (2007)17

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The Descent (2005)19

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Son of Rambow (2007)21

Screenshot22

Bug (2006)23

Screenshot24

Half Nelson (2006)25

Screenshot26

The Proposition (2005)27

Screenshot28

Eagle vs Shark (2007)29

Screenshot30

The Science of Sleep (2006)31

Screenshot32

Lost in Translation (2003)33

Screenshot34

The Cooler (2003)35

Screenshot36

Red Road (2006)37

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Dancer In The Dark (2000)39

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Whale Rider (2002)41

Screenshot42

The Savages (2007)43

Screenshot44

The Walker (2007)45

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Broken Flowers (2005)47

Screenshot48

Being John Malkovich (1999)49

Screenshot50

Transamerica (2005)51

Screenshot52

Junebug (2005)53

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Akeelah and the Bee (2006)55

Screenshot56

Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (2007)57

Screenshot58

Grizzly Man (2005)59

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My Blueberry Nights (2007)61

Screenshot62

Tideland (2005)63

Screenshot64

Sideways (2004)65

Screenshot66

Requiem For a Dream (2000)67

Screenshot68

The Squid and the Whale (2005)69

Screenshot70

The Motel (2005)71

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The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou (2004)73

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Lars and the Real Girl (2007)75

Screenshot76

Hard Candy (2005)77

Screenshot78

References

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Footnotes

  1. 1 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0874423/
  2. 2 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0874423/
  3. 3 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0401711/
  4. 4 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0401711/
  5. 5 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0390384/
  6. 6 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0390384/
  7. 7 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0854678/
  8. 8 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0854678/
  9. 9 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0361862/
  10. 10 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0361862/
  11. 11 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0808279/
  12. 12 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0808279/
  13. 13 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0393109/
  14. 14 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0393109/
  15. 15 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1029134/
  16. 16 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1029134/
  17. 17 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0842929/
  18. 18 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0842929/
  19. 19 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0435625/
  20. 20 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0435625/
  21. 21 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0845046/
  22. 22 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0845046/
  23. 23 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0470705/
  24. 24 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0470705/
  25. 25 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0468489/
  26. 26 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0468489/
  27. 27 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0421238/
  28. 28 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0421238/
  29. 29 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0494222/
  30. 30 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0494222/
  31. 31 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0354899/
  32. 32 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0354899/
  33. 33 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0335266/
  34. 34 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0335266/
  35. 35 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0318374/
  36. 36 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0318374/
  37. 37 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0471030/
  38. 38 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0471030/
  39. 39 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0168629/
  40. 40 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0168629/
  41. 41 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0298228/
  42. 42 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0298228/
  43. 43 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0775529/
  44. 44 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0775529/
  45. 45 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0783608/
  46. 46 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0783608/
  47. 47 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0412019/
  48. 48 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0412019/
  49. 49 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120601/
  50. 50 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120601/
  51. 51 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0407265/
  52. 52 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0407265/
  53. 53 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0418773/
  54. 54 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0418773/
  55. 55 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0437800/
  56. 56 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0437800/
  57. 57 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0292963/
  58. 58 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0292963/
  59. 59 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0427312/
  60. 60 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0427312/
  61. 61 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0765120/
  62. 62 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0765120/
  63. 63 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0410764/
  64. 64 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0410764/
  65. 65 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0375063/
  66. 66 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0375063/
  67. 67 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0180093/
  68. 68 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0180093/
  69. 69 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0367089/
  70. 70 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0367089/
  71. 71 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0436607/
  72. 72 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0436607/
  73. 73 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0362270/
  74. 74 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0362270/
  75. 75 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0805564/
  76. 76 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0805564/
  77. 77 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0424136/
  78. 78 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0424136/
  79. 79 http://www.impawards.com/
  80. 80 http://www.imdb.com/
  81. 81 http://www.filmjunk.com/2008/01/03/trend-watch-hand-drawn-movie-posters-for-quirky-indie-comedies/
  82. 82 http://www.tccandler.com/columns/100_greatest_movie_posters.htm
  83. 83 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independent_film
  84. 84 http://coffeeandcelluloid.com/2008/10/26/20-amazing-movie-posters/

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Andrew Lindstrom is a freelance web designer, blogger and inspiration junkie. Say hi to him on Twitter or read his ramblings on his design inspiration blog at WellMedicated.com.

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  1. 1

    Nice. Love it! Since I am newly introduced to the design world this site has been a breath of fresh air in helping me not be so overwhelmed….Thanks!

    0
  2. 2

    The Motel poster is nice. Never thought something like that would look good for a poster. Great compilation btw

    0
  3. 3

    More lovely inspiration! These are my favorite posts from you guys.

    0
  4. 4

    Love it! Love ‘em all. Great collection of posters and creativity.

    0
  5. 5

    Great stuff. Not really webdesign related, but always nice to get some extra inspiration!

    0
  6. 6

    Love them all. The Motel and Broken Flowers are favourite, Broken Flowers especially since it doesn’t look like a traditional movie poster. But why did you use that version of the Being John Malkovich poster? The mask one is much better.

    0
  7. 7

    Nice collection but it seemed more devoted to well known independent films (with a slight Bill Murray fetish) rather than well designed posters.

    0
  8. 8

    I really don’t see the exquisite in most of these posters.

    Come on Smashing Magazine, Once you get a decent fanbase of strong rss readers doesn’t mean you can get lazy and make articles like this. I would of preferred 30 or even 15 well researched and exquisite posters rather then 40 which seem random with no thought into what makes them exquisite.

    -2
  9. 9

    Define “independent film”because “Son of Rambow” is produced by a huge media company. Nice posters though.

    0
    • 10

      truly! most of these films have big-name actors and huge budgets. i don’t believe this qualifies as “indie.”

      0
  10. 11

    Glad and really surprised to “Taxi to the Dark Side (2007)” given its due recognition it deserves. Well done smashing Magazine! Hopefully the publisher will get their acts together and so finally we can see it in our local high street soon.

    0
  11. 12

    To much bloat! Some of these are average at best.

    0
  12. 13

    Exquisite, beautiful, excellent, you guys love your thesaurus.

    0
  13. 14

    Stunning article!

    0
  14. 15

    Exquisite …? Not really …. Only few are impressive.

    -1
  15. 16

    My favorite is the poster for The Proposition. The most disturbing is the poster for The Zoo. And the poster for Sideways is gorgeous. Hmmm, they’re all great. Thanks.

    0
  16. 17

    I like most of the posters which are shown here, e.g. Paris je t’ aime, Bug, The Machinist, Broken Flowers, … where can one buy them? Would be nice to have the one in my flat.

    0
  17. 18

    I love independent movies, but most of the posters are poor copies. E.g. The Descent is a copy of the Philippe Halsman and Salvador Dalí Project called The Skull.

    Hm, maybe i sould write an article about that…

    0
  18. 19

    Honestly these are a very poor and undistinguished selection of posters (with the exception of ‘Birds of America’ and a couple of others). Maybe you can point us to what you thought was special about each of them?

    -1
  19. 20

    Ahhh, some of these are really “exquisite” but some are not. That is the beauty of opinion and of course, the subjectivity of art in and of itself.

    Smashing Magazine is a great resource and has some wonderful collections of stuff, images, ideas and what-not. I don’t like them all. Entitled as we all are to our opinions about whether this is a good article or not it seems a little churlish to make a point of criticising the editors of this blog for doing something “you” don’t like or think worthy of your time.

    Some articles I like, some I don’t but why bad-mouth an article like this – why not move and leave it alone?

    Meh – there is a delicious irony in my comments I think…moving on….

    @15 (Claire) I find myself in agreement with your choices :)

    0
  20. 21

    This kind of post seems to split opinion every time you publish one. I originally subscribed to Smashing Mag because it was a great resource for web developers, with thoroughly researched and well written technical or design related posts, and I must say I think that you still do that very well.

    But now it seems like these posts are becoming overshadowed by the 50 most stunning/beautiful/inspiring/… photos/posters/album covers/cereal boxes… posts. Personally, I’m very interested in photography, but I think there are other blogs out there which do this kind of thing better. But I appreciate that a lot of your readers love this kind of thing…

    Have you considered publishing two or more feeds to keep these things separate. That way your readers could choose to subscribe to the one that most interested them, or to several posts if their interests spanned more than one subject area.

    That way you might avoid all the negative posts that dominate the comments after every article.

    0
  21. 22

    Very good :)

    0
  22. 23

    Bill Murray gets around a bit eh?!

    0
  23. 24

    Some great posters (and films) here. I especially like the poster for Birds of America, reminds me of the classic old Penguin book covers.

    0
  24. 25

    Nice posters and good films, as well.

    0
  25. 26

    nice collection

    0
  26. 27

    Double A for Smashing!
    They’re great movies, someones very confuse and bizarre. It could be interesting inform who create them.

    0
  27. 28

    There has come winter :(
    It became cold and cloudy!
    Mood very bad :(
    Depression Begins

    0
  28. 29

    Nice.

    Does anyone know the font for the title on The Savages?

    Thanks!

    0
  29. 30

    Very nice Film Posters

    devSoft.Mobi

    0
  30. 31

    Great set of posters. Never seen many of these movies but the posters look awesome.

    0
  31. 32

    Filthy Richmond

    0
  32. 33

    I myself am a fan of “independent” films, especially those featuring indie greats Matthew Perry, Lauren Bacall, Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson.

    0
  33. 34

    great list.love it!

    0
  34. 35

    Great collection!

    Lars and the Real Girl is a hilarious movie. I highly recommend it.

    0
  35. 36

    Love this post. Great indie posters deserve credit.

    0
  36. 37

    My Blueberry Nights was one of the worst movies I’ve seen in a long, long time. I didn’t even get all the way through it. Yuck.
    The second and third posters on this list are awesome.

    0
  37. 38

    The Descent is a rip off of an old Salvador Dali work: http://www.planetperplex.com/en/item89

    0
  38. 39

    I’m not quite sure how the “Akeelah and the Bee” (worst title for a movie ever) poster makes this list. Can someone please explain?

    0
  39. 40
  40. 41

    What have happended to the Font of the month?

    0
  41. 42

    Awesome poster design!!

    0
  42. 43

    What about Big Fish?
    http://www.impawards.com/2003/big_fish.html
    Amazing poster & a movie.

    0
  43. 44

    heather van de mark

    November 21, 2008 7:25 am

    Definitely seems like SM started strong and the got weaker. I know nothing about The Machinist but that poster alone makes me want to watch so I can fill in the blanks. The flag as the shadow of Taxi to the Dark Side is brilliant.

    0
  44. 45

    helpful as always! I just worked on a movie poster for an independent film for a friend and I always find great inspiration here. There is something about the independent films that I love. The style, writing and everything down to their creative posters. Me gusta! :)

    0
  45. 46

    that transamerica poster is quite possibly the worst photoshop job ive ever seen. that woman is completely out of proportion – how does that make for an exquisite poster?

    0
  46. 47

    It’s too bad you didn’t include the names of the designers who created these posters – but I suppose that would have required some extra sleuthing.

    0
  47. 48

    i haven’t seen a lot of these.. which is good b/c my netflix queue is getting low.

    0
  48. 49

    That is a really interesting collection. Honestly I did not know all these films yet, but will try to do so the soonest. Was also interesting to see the posters for such films also I knew, as I did not really remember the belonging poster picture. Anyway, great idea, congratulations!
    Ann

    0
  49. 50

    I’ve watched all those films. :<

    0
  50. 51

    Why are these great? Cause I’m not all that impressed with most of them. How about some explanation please? Seems like all they did was a Google search for “indie film posters”, and put the first 40 results up here.

    0
  51. 52

    I’m so happy to see Hard Candy up there… that’s one awesome poster with one awesome actress on it! (Ellen Page). Love the posters. They’re so inspiring for all different kinds of artists. Thanks!

    0
  52. 53

    My favs from the list:

    Birds of America
    Whale Rider
    Before the devil knows you’re dead
    Sideways (also the cover of the book = great)
    Requiem for a dream (GREAT movie)
    Hard Candy = bad-ass

    I’m not really impressed with the Brick poster, but I’ll check the movie just because the poster is hand made (or so it seems!)

    I like much better the other posters of Eagle vs shark, this one is a bit more out of the box, but not as attractive i think.

    That’s it, longer comment than usual.. :)

    0
  53. 54

    Very nice powerful posters design.
    Thank you.

    0
  54. 55
  55. 56

    For “Funny Games”, I would have expected the 1970′s throwback poster with Naomi Watts instead.

    http://www.impawards.com/2008/posters/funny_games.jpg

    0
  56. 57

    hey, the descent poster looks alike silence of the lamb unreleased poster.

    0
  57. 58

    The Funny Games poster featured is rubbish. The one with just Naomi Watts’s face is much better and possibly best poster of last year!
    Is the Savages one illustrated by Chris Ware?
    P.S. Would love to see the designers names for each poster.

    0
  58. 59

    Nice Post ! www

    0
  59. 60

    Anyone got an idea where I could get the Funny Games Poster? Searched so many postershops, but couldn’t find one selling it.

    0
  60. 61

    I loved that poster for ‘Zoo’ from the first time I saw it. Awesome artwork, and so very evocative.

    0
  61. 62

    Wish you had listed who made each poster.

    0

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