This course will introduce students to the aesthetics, subject matter, financing, production, distribution and exhibition of American independent film. We will explore films with subject matter and aesthetics Hollywood has traditionally been reluctant to embrace. The films we will consider might include the recent films American Splendor and Elephant. We will examine the conditions under which independent films are made and discuss how audiences react to them. We will also question the social, political and economic realities that influenced these films. Among the filmmakers we will consider are David Lynch, the Coen brothers, Spike Lee, John Cassavetes, Jim Jarmusch, John Waters, John Sayles and Wayne Wang. Screenings are mandatory.