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American Independent Cinema

Second Edition

Yannis Tzioumakis

Edition: 2

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A history of independent cinema in the US from an industrial perspective

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.

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List of Tables
List of Case Studies
List of Figures
Prologue to the 2nd Edition
Introduction: Problems of Definition and the Discourse of American Independent Cinema

Part I: American Independent Cinema in the Studio Years (mid-1920s–late 1940s)
1: Independent Filmmaking in the Studio Era: Tendencies within the Studio System
2: Independent Filmmaking in the Studio Era: The Poverty Row Studios (1930–50s)

Part II: American Independent Cinema in the post-Studio Era (late 1940s–late 1960s)
3: Independence by Force: The Effects of the Paramount Decree on Independent Film Production
4: An Audience for the Independents: Exploitation Films for the Nation’s Youth

Part III: American Independent Cinema and the ‘New Hollywood' (late 1960s–late 1970s)
5: The New Hollywood and the Independent Hollywood
6: American Independent Cinema in the Age of the Conglomerates

Part IV: Contemporary American Independent Cinema  (early 1980s-present)
7: Mini-majors and Major Independents
8: The Institutionalisation of American Independent Cinema
9: American Independent Cinema in the Age of Media Convergence

Epilogue to the 2nd Edition: From Independent Cinema to Specialty Content

About the Author

Yannis Tzioumakis is Reader in Film and Media Industries at the University of Liverpool. His research specialises in American independent cinema and the business of media entertainment. His books include American Independent Cinema: An Introduction (EUP, 2006), The Spanish Prisoner (EUP, 2009), and Greek Cinema: Texts, Histories Identities (Intellect, 2011). He is also the co-editor of "American Indies" (EUP), a 6-volume book series that examines key titles from the contemporary US independent film scene.


This new edition of Yannis Tzioumakis’s invaluable introduction to American independent film charts its trajectory into the New Millennium and the realm of Indiewood, specialty films, and digital cinema. There is simply nothing like this book in terms of its scope, its depth, and its nuanced history of independent filmmaking.

Thomas G. Schatz, University of Austin, Texas


The second edition of American Independent Cinema rocks! Covering influential films, surveying cultural shifts, and charting industrial changes from the mid-1920s and the studio era to today's digital age of media convergence, AIC is an authoritative, readable, and eminently teachable study of what is now a vast and complicated field.

Chris Holmlund, Arts and Sciences Excellence Professor, University of Tennessee-Knoxville

'The very first sentence of this extremely useful volume admits that American independent cinema is "a notoriously difficult concept to define." Fortunately, Tzioumakis (film and media industries, Univ. of Liverpool, UK) devotes the next 300 pages to doing just that—defining, charting, and assessing the history of independent films, filmmakers, and production companies in the US. The book’s nine chapters proceed chronologically from the studio era (1920s–40s), when eight dominant companies produced three-fourths of all US feature films, to the 2010s, when new digital filmmaking technologies, the pervasiveness of social media, and new forms of media delivery combined to significantly reinvigorate the scene for independent filmmakers and their audiences. This second edition improves on the first (published 2006) by analyzing these latest developments and by adding three new case studies—bringing the total to 15—from Stagecoach (1939) to Tangerine (2015). Throughout, Tzioumakis writes clearly and concisely, with citations to diverse scholarship, news reports, and trade journals. Perfect for those studying the US film industry, this volume should appeal to those interested in film, media studies, and popular culture.'

- J. I. Deutsch, George Washington University , CHOICE

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