That is the question. Whereas most economists call the Hollywood film industry "recession-proof," the opposite exists for us small guys, the indie film geeks. Over at fivesprockets.com, blogger Ann Curry pleas with her readers to support those who give us more cinematic bang for our buck.
Indie filmmaking is similar to other small business. In a bear market, they are the first to fold, while the public still supports the big guys, deemed "too big to fail." Unlike other small businesses, however, the success of production companies depend more so on the public's opinion of its entertainment, rather than any inherent demand or need. John Q. Public may still go to blockbuster superhero movie rather than small art house film because he feels art house films do not speak to him or for him.
Filmmaking is an expensive and elitist endeavor, but as the nation's most recognizable artform, it preserves our American way of life. Who says it should only be for the studios?
Personally, I don't let my lack of funds or resources stop me from reaching my filmmaking goals. One just has to be smart and one step ahead of the snake oil salesmen on craigslist and the like.