Gary Leva makes interesting making-of documentaries for DVD special features. His work spans a wide range of films, from a look at making 2001: a space odyssey to a retrospective on the work of Casablanca director Michael Curtiz.
Leva also made a retrospective on Francis Ford Coppola‘s financed filmmaker collective, American Zoetrope. Intended to be more than Coppola’s production company, filmmakers like John Milius, George Lucas and others came to Coppola’s facility to work on films outside of Hollywood’s geography and influence. Sadly, it imploded with only a handful of films, including THX 1138 and Apocalypse Now, emerging from the group’s attempt.
Coppola continued to use the Zoetrope name and produces films through the company, but it was never quite the artistic powerhouse he dreamed.
Leva’s documentary, A Legacy of Filmmakers: The Early Years of American Zoetrope, was originally released on the DVD special edition of THX, but he recently uploaded it to his Vimeo account. It’s sixty-three minutes long, so you might want to get a snack, but it’s a fascinating look at what happens when artists try to work together and attempt to create a movement.