During the first year of my postgraduate research degree in 1998 I complained to Warren Buckland, then lecturer in Screen Studies at Liverpool John Moores University, that there were very few studies of American independent cinema. Warren agreed with my remark and suggested that perhaps one day I would write one. For this reason I would like to express my first big thank you to Warren for putting the idea of this book in my head when I least expected it as well as for all his support and friendship in the last eight years. I would also like to thank Professor Steve Neale who became another early supporter of the idea for the book.

Then I would like to thank Ian Ralston for setting up a meeting with the American Studies Commissioning Editor from Edinburgh University Press, Nicola Ramsey, and for his friendship and generosity over the years. I would also like to thank Nicola who offered me valuable editorial advice during the writing stage and guided me through some difficult times.

This book would not have been possible without some generous funding from the School of Media, Critical and Creative Arts at Liverpool John Moores University, which allowed me to visit a number of research libraries in Los Angeles, California to gather the necessary material and to interview important figures in the independent sector such as Eric Pleskow and Mike Medavoy. The School also financed a year-long study leave that allowed me to research the topic further and write a large section of the book. I would like to thank everyone involved, especially Trevor Long, Nickianne Moody, Andy Ruddock, Chris Frost and Timothy Ashplant.

I would also like to thank my other colleagues for supporting me in various ways: Ruth McElroy, David Llewellyn, Ros Merkin, James Frieze, Helen Rogers, Colin Harrison, Nicole Matthews, Joanna Price, Claire

Horrocks, Elspeth Graham, Tamsin Spargo, Joe Moran and Olga Guedes; and my colleagues in Screen Studies: Corin Willis, David Sorfa, Alex Irving, Noel Odger, Bill Sweeney, Ben McCann and especially Judith Jones who is the other big fan of American independent cinema in my department. Additionally, I would like to thank all the support staff in the School of Media for their efforts to minimise my administrative responsibilities during the period of research, especially Cathy Cromby and Julie Quine.

The staff at Aldham Robarts Learning Resource Centre provided me with assistance almost on a daily basis. I would like to thank each and every one of them, especially Sheena Streather, Frank Halligan and Julie Bulger who made the research stage of the project as easy as possible. Also I would like to thank Julie Butler, Tim Lees, Cath Gorton, Linden Sweeney, Chris Lucas, Ann Keeley, David Carroll, Jill Harrison, Grace Smith, Sharon Jarman-Stulberg, Dean Toth, Ian McColl, Mike Wilson, Doreen Azzopardi and the late Nick Spalton. Special thanks also to Annie Afferson at the interlibrary loans office and Denise Minde.

I would like to thank a number of friends and my family in Greece who offered me their views on a number of independent films during my summer visits: Panayiotis Tzioumakis, Christina Tzioumakis, Leonidas Tzioumakis, Patroula Vrantza, Panayiotis Koutakis, Dimitra Kavatha, Fenia Koutakis, Ioanna Koutakis, Harris Tlas, Harris Papadopoulos, Maria Goulimari, Alice Samouilidou, Dora Samouilidou and Yannis Stratis. Many thanks also to my friends who did the same thing in Liverpool, especially Joanne Whiteside, Paresh Ladd, Paul Shaughnessy, Yolanda Akil-Perez, Lisa Anderson, Ben Howarth and Jay Lally. Amanda Greening became an inexhaustible source of inspiration and support during the final stages of the writing period.

Special thanks must go to a number of film and media scholars who read chapters of this book and whose constructive criticism improved the manuscript vastly: Peter Krämer, Alison McMahan, Rigas Goulimaris, Claire Molloy and, especially, Julia Hallam and Gary Needham. Lydia Papadimitriou once again contributed her time, friendship and scholarship, especially in the final stages of the book.

Also I would like to express my gratitude to Sarah McLoughlin who acted as my research assistant and who undertook a large number of menial aspects of the research stage, always with a smile. Without her organisational skills and patience, this book would have taken much longer to complete.

Finally I would like to thank all the students who took my course on American Independent Cinema and whose insightful contributions shaped my approach to the subject in fundamental ways. In particular, I would like to thank the Screen Studies students who took the course when it ran for the first time in 2002, as it was those students who actively encouraged me to write the book: Katie Algar, Suzy Baldock, Martin Boothman, Caroline Boyd, Clare Gabbott, Natalie Garwin, Paul Hagen, Rebecca Hardy, Rachel Heyes, Sarah Holmes, Ameena Khan, Andrew Lister, Claire Manson, Catherine Roche, Sophie Sharp, Steve Simpson and Janine Ward.

For Sarah 'Saroula' Hopkins for all the good years

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