Mekas leads an archival avant-garde, a fast-paced parade of 160 underground film people he captured on film over four decades, described as, "160 portraits or rather appearances, sketches and glimpses of avant-garde, independent filmmakers and film activists between 1955 and 1996. Why 'Birth of a Nation'? Because the film independents IS a nation in itself. We are surrounded by commercial cinema Nation same way as the indigenous people of the United States or of any other country are surrounded by the Ruling Powers. We are the invisible, but essential nation of cinema. We are the cinema."