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Title: "The Laurel story" : an industrial intersection of authorship, cult film and independent cinema in an American motion picture production company, 1963-1994
Author: Fallows, T.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7962 9126
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis presents the first academic analysis of key US motion picture production company Laurel Entertainment. Established in Pittsburgh by Night of the Living Dead (1968) director George A. Romero and his business partner Richard P. Rubinstein, Laurel's geographical and ideological separateness from bicoastal filmic centres was unprecedented. Yet despite being at the forefront of a number of practices that came to shape non-Hollywood production, including synergetic crossovers and diversification, Laurel has been neglected from previous investigations of the independent sector. This study traces Laurel's growth from grassroots subsidiary to publicly-owned enterprise, revealing the strategic and creative thinking that ensured survival on the margins of the industry. Here, an analysis of the firm's infrastructure employs a synthesis of ethnographic research, empirical data and business and economic theory, considering the complex array of stakeholders and changing opportunity structures that fed into and helped dictate output. Scrutiny of Laurel and its co-founders also provides new insight into the cinema of major genre filmmaker George Romero, while shedding light on the under-researched figure of the independent film producer. By looking towards the activities of the Laurel partners, this study offers a revisionist account of auteur filmmaking, cult film and independent cinema from a "real-world," practitioner-level perspective, asking how these strands intersected within the firm and mapping out the innovations, compromises and contradictions of this convergence.
Supervisor: Lyons, J. ; Hanson, H. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: film studies ; media industries ; independent cinema ; cult film ; authorship ; George A. Romero ; horror studies ; film production ; Stephen King ; Laurel Entertainment ; regional cinema ; Pittsburgh