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This introduction to American Independent Cinema offers both a comprehensive industrial and economic history of the sector from the early twentieth century to the present and a study of key individual films, filmmakers and film companies. Readers will develop an understanding of the complex dynamic relations between independent and mainstream American cinema. The main argument revolves around the idea that independent American cinema has developed alongside mainstream Hollywood cinema with institutional, industrial and economic changes in the latter shaping and informing the former. Consequently the term 'independent' has acquired different meanings at different points in the history of Hollywood cinema, evolving according to the impact of changing conditions in the American film industry. These various meanings are examined in the course of the book. The book is ordered chronologically, beginning with Independent Filmmaking in the Studio Era (examining both top-rank and low-end independent film production), moving to the 1950s and 1960s (discussing both the adoption of independent filmmaking as the main method of production as well as exploitation filmmaking) and finishing with contemporary American Independent cinema (exploring areas such as the New Hollywood, the rise of mini-major and major independent companies and the institutionalisation of independent cinema in the 1990s). Each chapter includes case studies which focus on specific films and/or filmmakers, while independent production and distribution companies are also discussed in the text. Films, filmmakers and film companies examined include: *Cagney Productions and Johnny Come Lately, Blood on the Sun and The Time of Your Life *The Charlie Chan series *Lomitas Productions, Stanley Kramer and The Defiant Ones, On the Beach and Inherit the Wind *Sam Katzman and Rock Around the Clock *Roger Corman and The Wild Angels *John Cassavetes and Shadows *Dennis Hopper and The Last Movie *American International Pictures and Foxy Brown *John Sayles and Return of the Secaucus Seven *Filmhaus Productions, David Mamet and House of Games *Steven Soderbergh and Sex Lies and Videotape *Kevin Smith and Clerks *Monogram, Republic Pictures and Producers Releasing Corporation *William Castle Productions, Embassy Pictures, New World Pictures, Dimension and Crown International *Orion Pictures *The Sundance Film Institute Key Features: *Illustrates that American Independent Cinema is not just a recent phenomenon but has a history as extensive as that of mainstream Hollywood. *The first book to examine what American Independent Cinema has meant at various times in the history of American cinema. *Places emphasis on industrial and economic conditions and how these shaped the independent sector throughout the 20th century. *Includes a large range of case studies of films which carry the 'independent' label for a variety of reasons. *Unique in covering the whole of the 20th century - other books in the area only cover the last 30 years.