What is SIMPP?
The Society of Independent Motion Picture Producers is one of the best kept
secrets of Hollywood.
Commonly known as SIMPP, the Society was formed in 1941 with a mission to
protect the freedom of the independent producer in an industry dominated by
major studios. There were eight founders of SIMPP — the most powerful
independents of the day, and some of the most famous names in film history: Charlie
Chaplin, Walt Disney, Samuel
Goldwyn, Alexander Korda, Mary
Pickford, David O. Selznick, Walter
Wanger, and Orson Welles.
At the time SIMPP was organized, the studio system dominated the American film industry. Films were mass-produced in large film factories and
exhibited in studio-owned theater chains, to audiences whose primary
entertainment was a weekly trip to the movies. In contrast to the major studios,
the independent producers made hand-crafted quality films. Independents
understood that masterpieces were best made by individual artists, not studio
committees. Without the studio restrictions, the independents were free to break
new ground with such films as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Gone
With the Wind, Fantasia, City Lights, and Citizen Kane.
The independent producers believed that in order to protect high-quality
filmmaking, they would need to eliminate the studio system of Hollywood.
The members of SIMPP had diverse talents that included acting, writing, and
directing. They became producers in order to secure their creative and financial
freedom. During the 1940s and 1950s, SIMPP grew from the exodus of contract
talent who left the studio system to turn freelance. SIMPP showed them how to
secure their freedom by forming independent production companies.
At the same time, the Society brought pressure on the U.S. Justice Department
to take the major studios to court. In 1948, the famous Supreme
Court Paramount decision ordered the studios to sell their theater
chains and to eliminate certain anti-competitive practices that effectively
brought an end to the studio system.
The never-before-told story of the Society of Independent Motion Picture
Producers has been revealed by historian J. A. Aberdeen in the book Hollywood
Renegades. Using the original records of the Society, the author has
uncovered an aspect of cinema history that has had wide-reaching influence, even
though the group has received stark attention until now.
About the Archive
A Note from the Editor:
For the book Hollywood Renegades: The Society of Independent Motion
Picture Producers, historian J. A. Aberdeen created a manuscript with
enough material for two books. The 336 page version published in October 2000 is
the story of SIMPP — how an elite group of independent producers triumphed
over the studio system.
The unpublished material featured independent profiles of the founders
of SIMPP to show how each of the eight filmmakers seemingly spent more time
protecting their freedom, than actually making the movies themselves. The
author’s extensive collection of material also brought the Hollywood studios
into a new light, and illustrated how the major film companies all once struggled
as independents before abandoning their independent roots as they entered
the realm of big business.
The unpublished material, though fascinating, seemed to detract from the
engaging story of SIMPP. At the author's own suggestion, he manuscript was reorganized
into the book version of Hollywood Renegades — the first and only
full-length account of the Society of Independent Motion Picture Producers.
Much of the unpublished material, which fell outside the scope of the book,
is presented here in the Hollywood Renegades
Since the Hollywood Renegades Archive was begun, it has evolved into a database
of information and original documents on such topics as the origin of film, the
rise of the studios, the development of the independent movement, and the status
of the entertainment industry.
Cobblestone Entertainment has been privileged to present information that is
constantly growing. In addition to the vast and unique collection of J. A. Aberdeen,
we welcome additions to the database from other film fans and filmmakers who are
interested in sharing information with the worldwide cinema community.
While every effort has been made to preserve the historical
accuracy and relevancy of online material, we acknowledge that unintentional
errors may exist. Neither Cobblestone Entertainment nor J. A. Aberdeen is
responsible for errors or omissions. The material in the Hollywood Renegades
Archives has been drawn from multitudinous sources. Quotes and excerpts are used
in accordance with fair use copyright laws. We do not knowingly
transmit material in violation of copyright laws, and we encourage
correspondence from any party whose material is represented in the Archive. The
Hollywood Renegade Archive is presented free to the public in an effort to
encourage the study of films, and to provide a unique resource for scholarly
Contact the Author
J. A. Aberdeen welcomes your comments:
J. A. Aberdeen
c/o Cobblestone Entertainment
PO Box 894
Palos Verdes Estates, CA 90274