In 1961, the New American Cinema Group, under the leadership of filmmaker Jonas Mekas, made the following announcement: “Official cinema all over the world is running out of breath. It is morally corrupt, aesthetically obsolete, thematically superficial, temperamentally boring… . We don't want false, polished, slick films—we prefer them rough, unpolished, but alive; we don't want rosy films—we want them the color of blood.”1 This statement not only helped set the tone for the vibrant independent film culture that flourished in New York and beyond during the second half of the twentieth century but also strongly validated the equally defiant efforts of numerous independent filmmakers working over...

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