Independent World Cinema: Classic and Contemporary Film | Alexander Street

Independent World Cinema: Classic and Contemporary Film

This collection includes some of the most important films produced from the early 20th century to today. It turns the spotlight on three preeminent independent distributors—Milestone Films, Zeitgeist Films, and Oscilloscope. More than just a cinema studies collection, these films support subjects such as cultural history, psychology, gender studies, anthropology, theatre, African American studies, and more.

*Film counts may vary by territory.

Featured Content Providers



Milestone partners with archives
around the world to restore and
remaster important and overlooked
films, winning numerous industry
awards in the process. Perhaps
America’s leading independent curator
of vital film restorations, Milestone
features eighteen films on the National
Film Registry – a rare combination of
canonical films with overlooked gems
worthy of rediscovery.*


Oscilloscope Films, founded by former
Beastie Boys member Adam Yauch,
is one of the most exciting, eclectic
labels in independent film. Viewers can
easily access flims from Spike Jonze
(Tell Them Anything You Want: A
Portrait Of Maurice Sendak) and Michel
Gondry (The Thorn in the Heart), and
the feature film Howl, covering the
Allen Ginsberg obscenity trial.*

Pragda Films is the leading source of
contemporary independent films from
Latin America and Spain for a North
American audience, delivering new
works from more than 15 countries.*


The Zeitgeist Films catalog provides
groundbreaking documentaries and
international fictional features, including
those from notable directors such as
Derek Jarman, Atom Egoyan, Guy
Maddin, Todd Haynes, and Agnes Varda

A highly regarded member of the
independent film distributors, Film
Movement offers a diverse mix
from around the globe, including
award winners from top festivals and
legendary art house titles.*

Artmattan is a top distributor of
contemporary films from Africa
and the diaspora, including top films
from the Caribbean, South America
and Europe.

*Territory restrictions apply.

Exclusive Content

Canonical Works

  • Kent McKenzie’s The Exiles—a landmark film on Native American life that was added to the National Film Registry in 2009
  • Marcel Ophüls’s historic documentary The Sorrow and the Pity, which revised our understanding of Nazi-occupied France
  • Samuel Beckett’s only cinematic work, FILM (1964)
  • Alfred Hitchcock’s two banned WWII dramas, Bon Voyage and Aventure Malgache
  • The first animated feature film, Lotte Reiniger’s The Adventures of Prince Achmed
  • Acclaimed documentary NOTFILM by Ross Lipman
  • A seldom-seen production of Waiting For Godot, with Zero Mostel and Burgess Meredith
  • Eighteen films selected by the Library of Congress National Film Registry, including Portrait of Jason

Seldom-seen Award Winners 

  • The Corporation—Sundance® Audience Award winner 
  • Trouble The Water—2008 Academy Award® nominee 
  • Last Train Home—Golden Gate Award® 2010; San Francisco International Film Festival Investigative Documentary Prize 
  • Diplomacy—Cesar Award winner, directed by Volker Schlöndorff's
  • Afghan Star—Sundance People’s Choice Award World Cinema Audience Award for Documentary and Best Director for Documentary Film 
  • The Horse Boy—South By Southwest Audience Award Winner 
  • Sophie Scholl—Academy Award® Nominee, Best Foreign Language Film 
  • Jellyfish—Camera d’Or winner, Cannes Film Festival 
  • Derrida—Golden Gate Award, San Francisco International Film Festival 
  • The Garden—Academy Award® Nominee, Best Documentary 
  • Poison—Sundance Grand Jury Prize, directed by Todd Haynes

Notable Subject Matter 


See an overview of the database with links to guides, tutorials, and more. Visit the Libguide.