▶ By Pieter Aquilia



In 1969, Dennis Hopper’s Easy Rider and John Schlesinger’s Midnight Cowboy rolled out the “indie movement” in the United States, producing alternative feature films outside the traditional studio system. Unshackled by box office economics, independent filmmakers were telling new stories in new ways, which often challenged audiences and critics.

By the time Francis Ford Coppola made The Rain People (1969) and George Lucas founded Zoetrope Studios (1971), the term independent film became synonymous with film school. The film departments of University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), University of Southern California (USC), and Tisch School of the Arts (NYU) were providing the education for a ...

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