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American Zoetrope is a studio founded by Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas. Founded in 1969, American Zoetrope was an early adopter of digital filmmaking, including some of the earliestuses of HDTV. The studio has produced not only the films of Coppola (Apocalypse Now, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Tetro, etc.) but also George Lucas's pre-Star Wars films, THX 1138 and AmericanGraffiti, as well as many others by such cutting-edge directors as Jean-Luc Godard, Akira Kurosawa, Wim Wenders, and Godfrey Reggio (Koyaanisqatsi and Powaqqatsi). American Zoetrope's most recentrelease is the 2009 film Tetro, starring Vincent Gallo, and written, produced and directed by Coppola.
Four films produced by American Zoetrope are included in the American Film Institute's Top100 Films. American Zoetrope-produced films have received 15 Academy Awards and 68 nominations. Lost in Translation (2002), written and directed by Sofia Coppola, won 2003's Academy Award forBest Original Screenplay.
Coppola named the studio after a zoetrope he was given in the late 1960s by the filmmaker and collector of early film devices, Mogens Skot-Hansen. The company was alsoknown as Zoetrope Studios from 1979 until 1990. "Zoetrope" is also the name by which Coppola's quarterly fiction magazine, Zoetrope All-Story, is often known.
The company's headquarters is inthe historic Sentinel Building in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood. In the building lobby Coppola operates a popular small Italian café featuring Rubicon Estate wine and memorabilia fromhis films. The neighborhood is well-known for its cafes and its writers. Coppola wrote much of the screenplay for The Godfather in the nearby Caffe Trieste, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti's CityLights Books is located across the street from the Sentinel Building.
American Zoetrope is now owned entirely by Coppola's son and daughter, directors Roman Coppola and Sofia Coppola.[1]
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