Underground Film Journal

Underground Film Timeline: Index

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This is a timeline of significant events, films and filmmakers in underground film history. All information included in the timeline is being pulled from books written about underground film, and sometimes print newspaper articles. A full list of those sources appears at the top of the pages where they are referenced.

Also, a list of DVDs where you can watch films listed in the timeline appears on this page.

Below are the links to each decade covered on the timeline, with lists of all significant filmmakers working during each decade.

The Underground Film Timeline is still very much a work in progress. If a filmmaker is not listed below or within a given decade, that does that mean that that filmmaker is not significant — it just means that his or her films have not yet been archived.

A woman in a bad costume spreads her wings in a scene from Louis Feuillade's film Vampires.

1900 — 1919

FRANCE

Emile Cohl, Germaine Dulac, Jean Durand, Louis Feuillade, Abel Gance, Ferdinand Zecca

U.S.

Winsor McCay

A man with the number 9413 written on his forehead yells into a telephone in Robert Florey/s film The Life and Death of 9413 — A Hollywood Extra.

1920 — 1929

ENGLAND

Len Lye, Kenneth MacPherson

FRANCE

Claude Autant-Lara, Luis Buñuel, Alberto Cavalcanti, Henry Chomette, René Clair, Louis Delluc, Eugene Deslaw, Marcel Duchamp, Germaine Dulac, Jean Epstein, Abel Gance, Dimitri Kirsanov, Georges Lacombe, Fernand Léger, Marcel L’Herbier, Man Ray, Jean Renoir, Jean Vigo

GERMANY

Viking Eggeling, Oskar Fischinger, Fritz Lang, Erno Metzner, F. W. Murnau, Hans Richter, Walter Ruttmann, Robert Wiene

HOLLAND

Joris Ivens

RUSSIA

Sergei Eisenstein, Dziga Vertov

U.S.

Walt Disney, Paul Fejos, Robert Flaherty, Robert Florey, Charles Klein, Charles Sheeler, Ralph Steiner, Paul Strand, Dr. James Sibley Watson, Herman G. Weinberg

Colored circle dots animated film still from Len Lye's Swinging the Lambeth Walk

1930 — 1939

CZECHOSLOVAKIA

Alexander Hammid

ENGLAND

Len Lye, Kenneth MacPherson

FRANCE

Alexandre Alexeieff, Luis Buñuel, Jean Cocteau, Eugene Deslaw, Germaine Dulac, Dimitri Kirsanov, Moholy-Nagy, Jean Renoir, Berthold Bartosch

GERMANY

Oskar Fischinger, Lotte Reiniger, Hans Richter, Walter Ruttmann

HOLLAND

Francis Brugière

RUSSIA

Dziga Vertov

U.S.

Roger Barlow, Joseph Berne, Mary Ellen Bute, Douglass Crockwell, Emlen Etting, Oskar Fischinger, Jo Gercon, Harry Hay, Hy Hirsch, Lewis Jacobs, Hershell Louis, LeRoy Robbins, Harry Smith, Ralph Steiner, Willard Van Dyke, Charles Vidor, Herman G. Weinberg, Dr. James Sibley Watson

Maya Deren stares out the window in a still from her underground film Meshes of the Afternoon

1940 — 1949

ENGLAND

Len Lye

FRANCE

Alexandre Alexeieff, Dimitri Kirsanov

U.S.

Dorsey Alexander, Kenneth Anger, Sarah Arledge, Jordan Belson, James Broughton, Mary Ellen Bute, Douglass Crockwell, James Davis, Maya Deren, Oskar Fischinger, Dwinnel Grant, Curtis Harrington, Robert Howard, Hugo Latelin, Frances Lee, R. W. Luce, Willard Maas, Gregory Markopoulos, Hal McCormick, Marie Menken, Mylon Meriam, Gjon Mili, Sydney Myers, Sidney Peterson, Hans Richter, Roger Bruce Rogers, Harry Smith, Frank Stauffacher, Leonard Tregillus, Joseph Vogel, James Whitney, John Whitney, Christopher Young

Stan Brakhage looks lovingly at his wife Jane Brakhage in a still from his film Window Water Baby Moving

1950 — 1959

ENGLAND

Len Lye

FRANCE

Alexandre Alexeieff, Jean Cocteau, Jean Genet, Dimitri Kirsanov

GERMANY

Werner Nekes

U.S.

Kenneth Anger, Jordan Belson, Charles Boultenhouse, Stan Brakhage, Robert Breer, James Broughton, Richard S. Brummer, Rudy Burckhardt, Mary Ellen Bute, John Cassavetes, Shirley Clarke, Art Clokey, Jane Conger, Bruce Conner, Carmen D’Avino, James Davis, Maya Deren, Allen Down, Charles Eames, Ed Emshwiller, Morris Engel, Oskar Fischinger, Robert Frank, Wheaton Gelentine, Curtis Harrington, Hy Hirsch, Ian Hugo, Ken Jacobs, Larry Jordan, Weldon Kees, Chester Kessler, Peter Kubelka, George Kuchar, Mike Kuchar, Philip Leff, Alfred Leslie, Willard Maas, Christopher MacLaine, Gregory Markopoulos, Patricia Marx, Norman McLaren, Jonas Mekas, Marie Menken, Hans Richter, Roger Bruce Rogers, Lionel Rogosin, Harry Smith, Jack Smith, Frank Stauffacher, Francis Thompson, Stan Vanderbeek, Robert Vickrey, James Whitney, John Whitney, Christopher Young

A biker smoking a cigarette gazes into the camera in a still from the Kenneth Anger film Scorpio Rising

1960 — 1969

AUSTRALIA

Albie Thoms

BELGIUM

Philippe Graff, Louis Langled, Roland Lethem

ENGLAND

Mike Dunford, Jeff Keen, Malcolm Le Grice, Len Lye

FRANCE

Alexandre Alexeieff, Pierre Clementi, Etienne O’Leary

ITALY

Gianfranco Barucello, Antonio DeBernardi, Alberto Griffi, Guido Lombardi

GERMANY

William Hein, Birgit Hein

U.S.

Kenneth Anger, Bruce Baillie, Scot Bartless, Jordan Belson, Stan Brakhage, Robert Branaman, George Brecht, Robert Breer, David Brooks, Rudy Burckhardt, Shirley Clarke, Bruce Conner, Tony Conrad, Carmen D’Avino, James Davis, Storm de Hirsch, Nathaniel Dorsky, Robert Downey, Fred Drummond, Stephen Dwoskin, Charles Eames, Ed Emshwiller, Ron Finne, Hollis Frampton, Robert Frank, Ernie Gehr, Burton C. Gershfield, Peter Emanuel Goldman, Red Grooms, Victor Guren, Hilary Harris, Ulrich Hertzog, William Hindle, Ian Hugo, Ken Jacobs, Larry Jordan, John Jones, Stanton Kaye, Kurt Kren, Peter Kubelka, George Kuchar, Mike Kuchar, Naomi Levine, Saul Levine, Carl Linder, George Landow, David Lourie, Gerard Malanga, Gregory Markopoulos, Taylor Mead, Jonas Mekas, Marie Menken, Andrew Meyer, Paul Morrisey, Guvnor Nelson, Robert Nelson, Pat O’Neill, Yoko Ono, Ron Rice, Raymond Saroff, Paul Sharits, Harry Smith, Jack Smith, Michael Snow, Warren Sonbert, Bert Stern, Michael Stewart, Jimmy Tirrof, Peter Ungerleider, Ben Van Meter, Stan Vanderbeek, Bill Vehr, Andy Warhol, James Whitney, John Whitney, Joyce Wieland, Dorothy Wiley, Vernon Zimmerman

Divine points a gun in a still from the John Waters movie Pink Flamingos

1970 — 1979

ENGLAND

Jeff Keen, Malcolm Le Grice

GERMANY

William Hein, Birgit Hein

U.S.

Beth B, Scott B, Bruce Baillie, John Baldessari, Robert Beavers, Jordan Belson, James Benning, Stan Brakhage, Robert Breer, James Broughton, Julie Dash, Manuel DeLanda, Morgan Fisher, Hollis Frampton, James Herbert, Peter Hutton, George Kuchar, George Landow, Michael McClard, Curt McDowell, Jonas Mekas, Robert Nelson, Andrew Noren, Pat O’Neill, Yvonne Rainer, David Rimmer, Paul Sharits, Michael Snow, Warren Sonbert, John Waters, Nick Zedd

Lung Leg screams at the camera in a still from the Richard Kern film You Killed Me First

1980 — 1989

U.S.

Peggy Ahwesh, Kenneth Anger, Beth B, Scott B, Robert Beavers, Stan Brakhage, Jeri Cain Rossi, Abigail Child, Joe Coleman, Manuel DeLanda, Nathaniel Dorsky, Bradley Eros, Su Friedrich, Ernie Gehr, Tessa Hughes-Freeland, Richard Kern, Lung Leg, Aline Mare, Pat O’Neill, Charles Pinion, Yvonne Rainer, Keith Sanborn, Warren Sonbert, Casandra Stark Mele, Ela Troyano, Paul Tschinkel, Tommy Turner, Jim VanBebber, John Waters, Michael Wolfe, Nick Zedd

Andy Warhol holds an Oscar statuette in a still from the Jonas Mekas film Scenes From the Life of Andy Warhol

1990 — 1999

U.S.

Beth B, Richard Baylor, James Benning, Huck Botko, Eric Brummer, Douglas Buck, Carey Burtt, Jeri Cain Rossi, Su Friedrich, Ernie Gehr, Tessa Hughes-Freeland, Bob Judd, Richard Kern, Jonas Mekas, Robert Pejo, Todd Phillips, Charles Pinion, Casandra Stark Mele, Leslie Thornton, Ela Troyano, Tommy Turner, Jim VanBebber, Nick Zedd

A bandaged Kristie Alshaibi wears intense white makeup in a still from the Usama Alshaibi film Convulsion Expulsion

2000 — 2005

U.S.

Kristie Alshaibi, Usama Alshaibi, Dan McLaughlin

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