Underground Film Journal

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Breathdeath By Stan Vanderbeek
Breathdeath by Stan Vanderbeek (1963). At the EXPRMNTL 3 film competition at Knokke-le-Zoute, Belgium in 1963, Breathdeath tied for 2nd place with Gregory Markopoulos‘s Twice a Man. Both men took home $2,000 in prize money. In An Introduction to the American Underground Film, Sheldon Renan classifies Breathdeath as a “protest film,” which was a minority… Read More…
EXPRMNTL 3: 1963 Recap
1963 was a pivotal year in the history of avant-garde film in the United States. In Visionary Film, P. Adams Sitney calls it “the high point of the mythopoeic development within the American avant-garde.” He explains: [Stan] Brakhage had finished and was exhibiting the first two sections of Dog Star Man by then; Jack Smith… Read More…
Boston Film-Makers’ Cinematheque 1966-67: The Posters
In 1966, as the underground film wave was sweeping the country, a Boston off-shoot of New York City’s Film-Makers’ Cinematheque opened at a performance space at 53 Berkeley Street. Underground films were shown on weeknights, while on the weekends the space transformed into a music venue called The Boston Tea Party. The Cinematheque and the… Read More…
Andy Warhol — Marie Menken
Andy Warhol by Marie Menken. Competed 1965. Marie Menken made several films inspired by and starring artists she knew, such as Visual Variations on Noguchi (1945) and Arabesque for Kenneth Anger (1961). According to Warhol’s memoir Popism: The Warhol Sixties (written with Pat Hackett), in 1963 Warhol was brought by his friend Charles Henri Ford… Read More…
Jammin’ The Blues — Gjon Mili
Jammin’ the Blues by Gjon Mili. Completed in 1944. Gjon Mili is primarily known for his work as a photographer, particularly his portraits and experimental use of strobe lighting, much of which appeared in Life magazine. In the book Norman Granz: The Man Who Used Jazz for Justice, author Tad Hershorn goes into great detail in… Read More…
Slippery Jim — Ferdinand Zecca
Slippery Jim by Ferdinand Zecca. The completion/release year of Slippery Jim varies among sources. The catalog for the 1947 Art in Cinema program dates the film as circa 1906. However, Richard Abel, a silent movie historian, gives two dates for the film. First, in his The CinĂ© Goes to Town: French Cinema, 1896-1914 (published 1998),… Read More…
Quixote — Bruce Baillie
Quixote by Bruce Baillie. Finished most likely in 1965, but sources place year range 1964-1967. In Visionary Film, P. Adams Sitney says the film was “revised” in 1967; while in his “Movie Journal” column, Jonas Mekas wrote that the “final version” of Quixote was screened in New York City in 1968. The version of Quixote… Read More…
Underground Film Screening: Austin, September 23, 1966
From the Austin Daily Texan, September 22, 1966 Film-Makers’ Co-Op Shows ‘The Wild One’ The Gulf Coast Film-Makers’ Co-Op, an off campus student organization, will inaugurate its Film Factory at 8 p.m., Friday. Founded to encourage student film-making, Film-Makers’ Co-Op is a result of interest among university students for a place to show and make… Read More…