Innovative Generation Of Filmmakers
Francis Ford Coppola and
The Filmmakers of American Zoetrope
It was in the late sixties when the American film industry needed a more than welcome revival from the turmoil it was going through. Numerous cinemas were closing down and one after another production companies failed to survive.
Hollywood didn’t succeed in luring the hearts of the crowd in much the same way German cinema failed at this time. For both, the old and new continent, the film industry was at least chaotic.
The harder Hollywood executives tried to produce better and “bigger” movies, the more they failed at the box office. Slowly but surely corporations took over some of the big players in the industry.
They were responsible in part for the rigid Hollywood process of production, development and approvals. A process that is still well-known today. A good number of present day directors, among them Steven Spielberg, frequently testify on this matter in their interviews!
...and then there was “Easy Rider”!
It was this roguish and youthful film that caused a shockwave in the cinema industry and opened the doors to new possibilities.
Thanks to Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda the old Hollywood dogs with an average age of 57 suddenly realized they had to shift gears. By that time a lot of them left the studios as they were taken over by corporations. Those who stayed, the older generation, were often replaced.
Corporate bodies already knew they could no longer afford the production of films with a lost audience. Efforts went to a fresh new start with young and talented filmmakers and “Easy Rider”, a major box office hit grossing $60 million, paved the way.
It was time to do things in a non-traditional manner. It was time to put the aim on a younger audience as the new studio bosses smelled truckloads of cash.
Fresh film school graduates surmised the seventh art was in a transition period that would mark the beginning of a new era. In those times, building a successful career in film was still unheard of.
However, a bunch of those young film brats decided to risk everything. They were Francis Ford Coppola and his American Zoetrope co-founders who, I suppose, saw the light in the dark too.
Thanks to them, who at one point in time each went their own way, the art of filmmaking not only changed but never ceased to evolve. George Lucas was partly responsible for the technological advancement causing the special effects boom starting at the end of the seventies, early eighties.
Who doesn’t remember the stunning success of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”, “Star Wars: A New Hope”, “Jaws”, “E.T.”, “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, “The Thing” and many others.
The new and dazzling era of the industry kept moviegoers coming back for more. They would remember names such as Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Brian De Palma, John Carpenter, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorcese and John Milius among others.