Underground Film Journal

Feature Article

April 23, 2022

Flashback: 2nd Annual New York Film Festival Downtown

Cover to the program for the second annual New York Film Festival Downtown

Filmmakers Tessa-Hughes Freeland and Ela Troyano founded the New York Film Festival Downtown in 1984. In the program for the second annual edition in 1985, they laid out the need for such an event:

"Most films made in this society fall into two categories: those financed and marketed commercially, and their counterparts in the arts and academic worlds. Most people are entirely unaware of filmmaking occurring outside these structures.


This hasn't stoped filmmakers in downtown New York from producing films without the help -- and interference -- of market and art-funding forces."

NYC's Lower East Side has been a fluctuating hotbed of avant-garde filmmaking since the early to mid 1950s. In the sixties, this became a full-on explosion of underground filmmaking that felt like it had a shot at garnering acceptance on a national, and even international, level.

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Online Cinema

April 28, 2022

ISM ISM — Manuel DeLanda

ISM ISM by Manuel DeLanda (1979).

ISM ISM is a documentary chronicling director Manuel DeLanda's own graffiti work. He focuses on his collage manipulation of public advertisements -- primarily cigarette ads -- as well as spray-painted philosophical text. The film was shot in Super 8mm and blown up to 16mm.

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Featured Streaming


A well-to-do young man attempts to become a member of the Brooklyn chapter of the infamous Black Label Bicycle Club, an anti-corporate organization that promotes living outside of society’s social norm.

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