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American Zoetrope building with the Transamerica Pyramid
American Zoetrope
Type film studio
Founded 1969
Headquarters San Francisco, California, USA
Key people Francis Ford Coppola
George Lucas (1969-1971)
Roman and Sofia Coppola
Products motion picture
Owner(s) Private
Website Official site

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 earliest uses of HDTV. The studio has produced not only the films of Coppola (Apocalypse Now, The Black Stallion, Bram Stoker's Dracula, etc.) but also George Lucas's pre-Star Wars films, THX 1138 and American Graffiti, 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 last release was the 2007 film Youth Without Youth, starring Tim Roth, and written, produced and directed by Coppola, marking his return to personal filmmaking. Coppola's next project, Tetro, began filming early 2008.

Four films produced by American Zoetrope are included in the American Film Institute's Top 100 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 for Best 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 also known 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 in the 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 from his 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 City Lights 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]

Selected filmography


  1. ^ Coppola stated this in an interview with Harry Knowles for Ain't It Cool News published on May 8, 2007.

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