Underground Film Journal

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2010 Avant-Garde Masters Grants Announced

By Mike Everleth ⋅ July 30, 2010

Text logo for the National Film Preservation Foundation

The National Film Preservation Foundation and The Film Foundation have announced the 2010 recipients of their annual Avant-Garde Masters Grants. A $50,000 cash award will be split up among six different film preservation organizations to restore eleven classic American experimental films, including ones directed by Shirley Clarke, Stan Vanderbeek and Richard Leacock.

The films to be restored and the respective organizations restoring them are:

  1. A Scary Time (1960), directed by Shirley Clarke and Robert Hughes, was sponsored by UNICEF and combines images of American children on Halloween night with malnourished children from poorer countries all over the world to help promote the organization’s annual money-raising drives. (Museum of Modern Art)
  2. Centerbeam (1977), directed by Richard Leacock and Edward Pincus, documents the contribution of MIT artists to documenta6. (MIT)
  3. Home and Dome (1965), directed by Stan Vanderbeek, chronicles the construction of his unique Movie Drome screening structure that he built at his family home in Stony Brook, New York. (Museum of Modern Art)
  4. Water Ritual #1: An Urban Rite of Passage (1979), directed by Barbara McCullough, is a fusion of African ritual with contemporary African American life. (UCLA Film & Television Archive)
  5. Claudia (1972–73), directed by Jorge Prelorán, is a whimsical portrait of a five-year-old girl. (National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution)
  6. Two fast-paced evocations of the open road by interdisciplinary collective USCO (Intermedia Foundation)
  7. Four short films by the Wichita, Kansas–based group Montage Productions. (George Eastman House)

The Avant-Garde Masters Grants have been given out since 2003 and have helped save over 78 experimental films. Several of these films were collected on the amazing two-DVD Treasures IV: American Avant-Garde Film, 1947 — 1986 box set, which is a must have item for lovers of underground film. To browse through all the titles that the Grant has helped preserve, you can do that on the National Film Preservation Foundation’s website.

In fact, there’s tons of cool things to browse through on the NFPF site, including an amazing Screening Room page where you can watch all kinds of films that the organization has contributed to saving, including documentaries, newsreels, westerns, cartoons and more.

Not to be outdone, The Film Foundation, the non-profit organization founded by Martin Scorsese, also has a ton of great restored clips and educational resources dedicated to preservation on its website, so check that out, too.