top of page

The Ultimate Guide to A24

An investigation into how an indie film distribution company turned itself into a cinematic empire.

Credit: A24


Within the expanse of modern cinema, one production company has emerged as a beacon of creativity and unrivaled storytelling: A24. In just 10 years, the indie powerhouse has left an indelible mark on the industry. A24 has captivated audiences worldwide with its diverse collection of reflective, emotionally charged and visually stunning films. In a world where blockbuster franchises typically dominate the box office, A24 has demonstrated a remarkable ability to draw audiences in – forging a unique connection to their viewers that sets them apart from traditional studios.

Whether it’s a haunting horror film that lingers in the subconscious (“Hereditary”) or an introspective drama that tackles the human condition (“The Whale”), A24’s movies have proven to be much more than pure entertainment; they foster transformative experiences that stay with audiences long after the credits roll. As we delve deeper into the structure, history and allure of A24, it becomes apparent that audiences are drawn to their films because they create much more than run-of-the-mill stories or shocking scenes that go viral. A24’s films are mirrors that reflect our fears and vulnerabilities, challenging us to confront the complexities of life.

The Structure

A24 was founded in 2012 by Daniel Katz, David Fenkel and John Hodges with a unique vision: to create a studio that prioritizes artistic expression and innovative storytelling. A24 operates as an independent film company, meaning that there is a lack of ties to a major conglomerate with money-hungry boards dictating what can and cannot be created. Therefore, filmmakers working under the studio are granted a level of freedom rarely seen within the industry: A24 is able to produce unconventional, daring projects that other major studios would deem too risky.

Although today’s filmmakers can rely on A24 for both production and distribution, the company only offered distribution services up until 2016 with their film “Moonlight.” This means that before they had the funding to create their own in-house movies, the company solely profited by buying the rights to finished films, marketing them and then distributing them to vendors. Although this could have been viewed as an impediment (as major studios like Universal and Paramount produce and distribute), A24’s team leveraged their taste and marketing strategies in a way that propelled them into success.

You know an A24 film when you see it – and that is no accident. A24 is known for being highly selective regarding the projects they greenlight. Their team of curators scour film festivals to seek out emerging talent and imaginative films that have been overlooked by bigger studios.

After curation comes marketing, and A24 has mastered the art of it.

Recognizing the power of viral marketing and social media, A24 employs unusual campaigns to generate buzz around their projects. From creating a Tinder bot of the robot from “Ex Machina” to sending creepy dolls to influencers and critics for “Hereditary,” A24 knows how to attract attention. Beyond this, the company is loved by fans for its unique line of merchandising. They sell everything from cloth-bound screenplay books to branded hoodies, hats and towels.

Credit: A24

The first A24 film to garner national attention was “Spring Breakers” in 2013. To the dismay of many parents, it featured Disney darlings Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson and Vanessa Hudgens smoking pot, having sex, and shooting guns during a wild spring break trip to Florida with James Franco. Director Harmony Korine filled the movie with stylized shots and a neon color palette (a notable part of A24’s brand). Naturally, scenes from the film went viral. The internet couldn’t get enough and the viewership numbers reflected that – it was a hit!

A24 discovered a goldmine with “Spring Breakers” and has continued to curate, produce, and market much of their work in the same vein. Arguably, other controversial A24 productions like “Euphoria,” “The Idol,” “Bodies Bodies Bodies” and “Zola” would never exist if it wasn’t for its surprising success so early on in the studio’s run.

At its core, A24 prides itself on its taste in cinema – you know you’re in for a treat when you see its logo slide across the screen. Their curation and marketing tactics come together to elevate storylines and ideas that would otherwise go unnoticed. In just a few years, A24 skyrocketed from a small distribution company to one of the most renowned production studios in Hollywood through such strategies and uncompromising vision.

The Status

As of the most recent Academy Awards, A24 has received a whopping 49 Oscar nominations, winning 16. The first film to ever be produced and distributed by the indie studio, “Moonlight,” won the Academy Award for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor in 2017 – an impressive feat. This year’s awards were more than historic for the company: A24 became the most-awarded studio in 2023, winning nine awards and sweeping all six of the major categories for the first time in industry history.

Credit: The Academy

After years of acclaim from critics and online fans, as well as a handful of previous award wins between 2015 and 2017, A24 solidified its spot on top this year. Almost all of the six major categories were solely won by their groundbreaking film “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” with Ke Huy Quan, Michelle Yeoh and Jamie Lee Curtis winning Best Supporting Actor, Best Lead Actress and Best Supporting Actress, respectively. In addition, EEAOT also took home Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Film Editing. “The Whale” star, Brendan Fraser, took home Best Lead Actor.

The studio strives to do the unthinkable and the world (as well as The Academy) has taken note. Between making history at the Oscars to cementing a devout online following of millions, A24 has caused quite a stir within the industry, becoming a top player while achieving cult status.

The Future

Credit: Twitter (@SteveRogers1943)

With the Writers Guild of America on strike since May and the members of SAG-AFTRA joining them in June, outsiders would guess that as a studio, A24 would be slipping into some hot water right about now. However, A24 doesn’t have much to worry about regarding the strike – the pro-union studio has accepted all terms put forth by members. A24 agreed to pay fair wages and protect employees, showing the world that what the WGA and SAG-AFTRA unions are asking for is very reasonable; the big Hollywood studios are just being greedy.

Going forward, those within the industry will be able to rely on the indie studio for steady work and respect. Film lovers can rejoice in the fact that through A24, they can expect even more quality cinema in the near future.

The success story of A24 exemplifies the value of believing in art – in trusting in and supporting the artist’s vision above all else.

As previously mentioned, A24 was founded with one singular, unyielding mission: to prioritize artistic expression and innovative storytelling.

A24 continues to recognize the value in this – it’s why they’ve become the only studio in history to win all six major categories at the Oscars. It’s why scenes from their films have clogged our social media timelines. And it’s why viewers so often leave screenings teary-eyed, with a changed perspective on life. The world of cinema has become a much better place with A24 in it.


Jenna is a third-year media production major with minors in English and history. Her top five A24 films are Lady Bird, Moonlight, Aftersun, Hereditary, and The Florida Project.


bottom of page