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Indie writer/directors. The funny thing about this quaint little phrase is that basically anyone can say this about themselves if they don't have studio funding. I mean… I'm an indie writer/director for crying out loud. It's like my unemployed friend who sits on his butt all day, then goes out to bars and tells gullible bimbos that he's an "independent film producer."
In so many words, "indie" can mean a lot of things, namely that you don't actually do anything - it can be a total copout. But for some filmmakers in this world, there's actually clout behind the phrase - it's an adjective that dictates style, story, and market more than anything.
This list is dedicated to the top 10 indie writer/directors. Note that the people on this list aren't necessarily making true indie films anymore. These are the writer/directors that blew up on the indie scene, turned something cheap, and at least borderline experimental, into something huge. So yes, a lot of these people are making bigger studio films now, but their roots are in the independent spirit.