TRADITIONALLY, HISTORIANS HAVE CREATED an opposition between the commercial Hollywood cinema and the American avant-garde. One goal of the International Congress of Independent Cinema held at La Sarraz, Switzerland, in 1929 was to define the “independent” cinema, a term that was preferred to “avant-garde” or “experimental.” The implication was that independent filmmakers worked outside commercial cinema industries. By the 1940s, Lewis Jacobs found the independently made shorts of Paul Strand, Robert Flaherty, Robert Florey, Charles Klein, and James Sibley Watson and Melville Webber to exemplify a cinema solely concerned with “motion pictures as a medium of artistic expression.” 1