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Cobblestone presents:
Hollywood Renegades
• About the Book
• Table of Contents
• Sample Chapters
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Meet SIMPP
• What is SIMPP? (Frequently Asked Questions)
• News & Reviews
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Click here for the SIMPP Research Database to learn more about the Society of Independent Motion Picture Producers.
• Biographies of the independent producers
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Cobblestone Entertainment.
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SIMPP FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

What Is SIMPP?

SIMPP stands for the Society of Independent Motion Picture Producers — an organization that was formed by Charlie Chaplin, Walt Disney, Samuel Goldwyn, Alexander Korda, Mary Pickford, David O. Selznick, Walter Wanger, and Orson Welles. The group evolved into one of the most important trade organizations in classic Hollywood, with members that included many high-profile independent filmmakers and industry talent.

When was SIMPP formed?

The Society was formed in 1941, but the producers kept the organization a secret until 1942.

Why was SIMPP formed?

SIMPP was formed by filmmakers who opposed movie monopolization. They wanted to curtail the growing power of the major Hollywood movie studios (Paramount, MGM, Warner Bros., Twentieth Century-Fox, and RKO), which not only owned the largest film factories in the world, but also controlled the largest theater chains in all parts of the United States. SIMPP assisted the government in its antitrust case against the major studios until it became illegal for the film studios to own movie theater chains.

Did SIMPP include producers only?

No. Members included not only producers, but also producer-directors, and even actors who achieved a degree of autonomy from the studio system. SIMPP admitted individuals or companies that operated independent or semi-independent from the majors.

Who were some of the other prominent members of SIMPP?

Howard Hughes, Preston Sturges, James Cagney, Bing Crosby, Constance Bennett, John Huston, San Spiegel, Stanley Kramer, Hunt Stromberg, Sol Lesser, and Hal Roach.

If SIMPP's members were some of the biggest names in Hollywood, what made them "independent"?

These producers considered themselves independent because they made their own movies (i.e., financed their films, selected story material, hired talent) outside of the studio system. They were not on the studio payroll; they made their films without studio interference; then they would use the major studios as a distributor for their pictures. Early on in SIMPP, an independent producer was defined as someone who produced movies, but did not distribute them. Later the distinction became ambiguous as many of the prominent indies like Walt Disney and David O. Selznick moved into distribution. 

Of course, I have heard of the individual members of the Society—but I have never heard of SIMPP before. Was SIMPP an obscure organization?

No. Based on the trade listings of the time, SIMPP became one of the largest and most influential groups in Hollywood. During the 1940s, SIMPP was the only significant trade organization to challenge the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the trade organization of the major studios. SIMPP had a voice in the most important industry matters from the antitrust case, to censorship, to the blacklist. SIMPP commanded headlines and made national news on a regular basis.

How come I have never heard of SIMPP?

The Society was divided by disagreements among its members in the late 1950s. Lacking unity and direction after the successful antitrust case, SIMPP disbanded in the early 1960s when it was taken over by the Disney Studio. Why the Society has been overlooked by film historians, is one of the mysteries that is answered by the book Hollywood Renegades: The Society of Independent Motion Picture Producers.

What is Hollywood Renegades?

Hollywood Renegades is the title of the first full-length account of the Society of Independent Motion Picture Producers. Film historian J. A. Aberdeen chronicles the history of SIMPP, and uses never-before-published records to reveal new facts regarding the SIMPP members such as Walt Disney, Samuel Goldwyn, and Orson Welles.