While studying at Long Beach state in the 60s, Steven Spielberg was introduced to aspiring producer Dennis Hoffman who provided the young filmmaker with a budget of $15,000 to produce a screenplay Spielberg had written entitled Amblin’. The resulting twenty-six minute short received a theatrical release in 1969 alongside Otto Preminger’s Skidoo (1968) and would prove to be his breakthrough, with Spielberg becoming the youngest director to be offered to a long-term deal with a major studio when Universal executive Sid Sheinberg signed him to a seven-year deal.
Dialogue-free for its duration and set during the hippy movement of the 1960s, Amblin’ is a romance about a couple of young travellers who meet up and decide to accompany one another on a journey to the Pacific coast. Amblin’ demonstrates Spielberg’s emerging talents as a visual storyteller and features impressive cinematography from Allen Daviau, who would later collaborate with the director on feature projects including E.T. - The Extra-Terrestrial (1982), The Colour Purple (1985) and Empire of the Sun (1987).