Sat. Sep 23rd, 2023 – Will Hindle was a renowned avant-garde filmmaker and educator who taught at the University of South Florida for over two decades. While his contributions to the world of experimental cinema are well-known, his impact as a teacher and mentor is often overlooked. In this article, we will explore Hindle’s teaching legacy at USF and its lasting influence on his students and the wider artistic community.

The Early Years

The Early Years

Hindle began teaching at USF in 1970, shortly after the university’s film program was established. He was initially hired as a visiting professor, but his innovative approach to teaching quickly earned him a permanent position. Hindle’s classes were known for their unconventional structure and emphasis on hands-on learning. He encouraged his students to take risks and experiment with different techniques, even if it meant deviating from traditional filmmaking norms.

The Impact of Hindle’s Teaching

The Impact of Hindle's Teaching

Over the years, Hindle’s classes became legendary among USF students and alumni. Many of his former students credit him with inspiring them to pursue careers in film and other creative fields. Hindle’s influence can be seen in the work of numerous filmmakers and artists who went on to achieve critical acclaim, including Jim Jarmusch, Kelly Reichardt, and Miranda July.

One of Hindle’s most enduring legacies at USF is the film program’s commitment to experimental and avant-garde cinema. Under his guidance, the program became a hub for cutting-edge filmmaking and attracted students from all over the world. Hindle’s approach to teaching also paved the way for other experimental filmmakers and educators, who continue to push the boundaries of what is possible in the classroom and on the screen.

Hindle’s Teaching Philosophy

Hindle’s teaching philosophy was rooted in the belief that creativity should be nurtured, not stifled. He encouraged his students to take risks and explore new ideas, even if they were unconventional or controversial. Hindle believed that the best way to learn was through trial and error, and he gave his students the freedom to experiment and make mistakes.

One of Hindle’s most famous assignments was the “No Editing” project, in which students were required to shoot an entire film in one take without any cuts or edits. This exercise forced students to think creatively and make use of the camera as a tool for storytelling. It also challenged them to embrace imperfection and find beauty in the unpredictable.

The Legacy Continues

Although Hindle passed away in 1987, his legacy lives on at USF and beyond. The film program he helped build continues to attract students from all over the world, and his innovative teaching methods have inspired generations of filmmakers and artists. Hindle’s impact on the world of experimental cinema cannot be overstated, and his teaching legacy is a testament to his enduring influence as an avant-garde educator.


Will Hindle was a true visionary who left an indelible mark on the University of South Florida and the wider artistic community. His commitment to experimentation and innovation in the classroom continues to inspire generations of students and educators. Hindle’s teaching legacy is a testament to his enduring influence as an avant-garde educator and a reminder of the power of creativity and imagination.

By Diana Lee Whatley

A passionate biographer, skillfully captures the vibrant life and artistic journey of William Mayo Hindle, the legendary filmmaker and professor

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