American Independent Cinema FTV4018

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Culture and Creative Arts
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course will examine the theory and practice of "independent" cinema in America. The possibility that there are certain stylistic features which constitute an "independent" aesthetic will be considered. However, care will also be taken to locate certain film-making practices within their specific historical and cultural context.


10 x 5hr sessions (including 2hr screening) over ten weeks as scheduled in MyCampus. This is one of the Honours options in Film and Television Studies and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus. 

Requirements of Entry

Available to all students fulfilling requirements for Honours entry to Film and Television Studies, and by arrangement to visiting students or students of other Honours programmes who qualify under the University's 25% regulation.

Excluded Courses





Essay (2,000 words) or video essay (5 minutes) - 40%

Essay (3,000 words) or video essay (8 minutes) - 60%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ become familiar with definitions of 'independent filmmaking' in the American context

■ investigate the stylistic tropes associated with 'independent' cinema in America

■ explore major filmmaking movements and filmmakers associated with the American independent scene

■ understand the historical, socio-cultural and industrial factors that have influenced the development of independent filmmaking in America

■ engage with the textual and contextual features of American independent cinema through writing and/or videographic study

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ critically evaluate the different uses of the term "independence" in relation to American cinema

■ identify the distinct stylistic features that may contribute to an independent aesthetic

■ assess the work of particular filmmakers and/or filmmaking movements in relation to notions of independence

■ recognise the influence of particular historical, socio-cultural and industrial factors on specific films

■ pursue critically informed arguments about American independent cinema through writing and/or videographic study

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.