Coppola's Dream Machine
Inspired by the filmmaking systems he had seen in Europe, this week in 1969 Francis Ford Coppola set up his own utopian film company, American Zoetrope. The company got its name from a zoetrope (a pre-cinematic projection device) which Coppola had been given by filmmaker Mogens Scott-Hansen, and was co-founded with George Lucas, who Coppola had met while he was filming Finian’s Rainbow on the Warner Brothers lot, where Lucas was an intern. The pair originally planned to base themselves in a mansion in the Bay Area’s Marin County, but temporarily housed the firm and their numerous pieces of equipment in a warehouse in San Francisco. The first American Zoetrope production was Lucas’ debut, THX 1138 (1971), and while the company still exists today, it is now located in San Francisco’s famous Sentinel Building and is owned by Coppola’s two filmmaking children, Sofia and Roman.