He may have played a part in ushering in the blockbuster age, but George Lucas was still a part of the same filmmaking generation and movement—the famous New Hollywood period from the late ’60s to the early ’80s—as contemporaries like Mike Nichols, William Friedkin, and his buddies Steven Spielberg and Francis Ford Coppola. The “Apocalypse Now” director played an important role in Lucas’ early career, whether by helping finance “American Graffiti” and siding with him against the studio over the final cut or by simply allowing him to hang out on Coppola’s set and shoot a short documentary.
In 1968, Coppola was gearing up to shoot his fourth feature-length film when Lucas convinced him to allow the future “Star Wars” filmmaker to shoot an unobtrusive, cinema-verite documentary about the making of “The Rain People.” The documentary (via Open Culture), titled “Filmmaker,” was produced for $12,000, and follows Coppola as he deals with studio execs, actors, and the doldrum vagaries of working on a set.
The film’s an invaluable look at Coppola just a few years before his world changed with “The Godfather.” Curiously though, the half-hour documentary didn’t actually screen in front of audiences until a full decade later at the Mill Valley Film Festival in 1978. Of course, by then the two directors had already become the world-conquerors we know today. Watch “Filmmaker” below.