Hollywood Renegades Archive

The Society of Independent Motion Picture Producers

Book Cover
THE SIMPP RESEARCH DATABASE

COBBLESTONE ENTERTAINMENT

Welcome

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 Archive.

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.

Disclaimers:

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 purposes.


Contact the Author

J. A. Aberdeen welcomes your comments:

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J. A. Aberdeen
c/o Cobblestone Entertainment
PO Box 894
Palos Verdes Estates, CA 90274

 

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