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Underground Film Timeline: Phase 1 Complete

Film stills from work by Man Ray, Luis Bunuel and others

Announced somewhat prematurely a couple weeks ago, the Underground Film Journal’s Underground Film Timeline has reached the end of its first phase, which involved inputting all of the significant events, films and filmmakers in underground film history culled from Sheldon Renan’s An Introduction to the American Underground Film.

Despite Renan’s title, he does cover the early European avant-garde, so many filmmakers from England, France, Germany, Holland and Russia — such as Oskar Fischinger, Luis Buñuel, Marcel Duchamp, Len Lye, Joris Ivens, Dziga Vertov — appear alongside the usual U.S. suspects, such as Kenneth Anger, Jonas Mekas, Stan Brakhage, Shirley Clarke, etc.

Actual events are few and far between, but they’re there if you dig around, like the meeting of the International Congress of Independent Film and its swift disbanding; and the formation of the New American Cinema Group. One thing that Renan included a lot of that I like is the universities and colleges where filmmakers studied: Bruce Baillie graduating from the University of Minnesota, Peter Emanuel Goldman from Brown University, et. al.

As of now — and for the immediate foreseeable future — this is all just data accumulation and presentation. I’m not putting any analysis or thought behind anything. All that will come later after I add more sources. Well, that’s the plan anyway.

So, you might be asking, if Phase 1 is done, then what’s in store for future Phases of the timeline? Or, if you’re not asking, I’ll tell you anyway. Here are my current plans, which may change:

Phase 2: Add links on the Underground Film Guide directing visitors back to the timeline. I’ve already added the appropriate links from the timeline to the UFG, so I need people to get back — if they want to. (UPDATE: In 2014, I am attempting to kill the Underground Film Guide and just keep visitors on the Journal.)

Phase 3: Add links to DVDs for films listed on the timeline that are available for people to view or rent. That’s one of the main goals of the timeline: To get casual underground film fans to find and watch older films.

Phase 4: Add timeline info pulled from my next source: David Curtis’ Experimental Cinema.

Beyond that, I’m not sure yet, but I have some ideas. But, these projects should keep me busy for quite awhile until I figure things out. Phase 5 will probably just be adding info from another book, though, to be honest.

But, check it out now. I think it’s coming along nicely.


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