Underground Film Journal

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Canyon Cinema Cooperative: Catalogue No. 2, Supplement No. 1

By Mike Everleth ⋅ April 15, 2018

Front cover to Canyon Cinema Cooperative Catalog #2, Supplement No. 1

In 1966, after six years of existence, the Canyon Cinema experimental film collective of San Francisco, California started its own cooperative distribution center, first listing films in the November ’66 issue of their News newsletter, in which they stated that they would be following in the footsteps of New York City’s Film-Makers’ Cooperative that had been distributing underground films since 1962.

This origin of the Canyon Cinema cooperative is covered in Scott MacDonald’s exhaustive history of the organization, in which he lays out the timeline of publication of the first two catalogs:

November 1966: Canyon lists films to rent in their News publication
December 1966: Canyon Cinema Cooperative Catalog, Number 1
1968: Catalog Number 2
1969: Catalog Number 2, Supplement Number 1
1970: Catalog Number 2, Supplement Number 2
1970: Catalog Number 2, Supplement Number 3

MacDonald states that the second Catalog was 128 pages long, but the Supplement Number 1 begins its numbering on its title page with Page 125. The title page gives an address for Canyon Cinema as Room 220, Industrial Center Building, Sausalito, California 94965.

(The ICB Building was built in 1942 as a ship building center for World War II. In 1957, it was converted into a space to be rented out to light industrial businesses, but the cheap rents attracted Bay Area artists and it has stood as an arts space since the 1960s. As of this writing, it is not known exactly how long Canyon occupied Room 220 in “the ICB.”)

Page 126 of Supplement Number 1 gives a copyright of 1969; refers readers to the official catalog for rental prices and agreements; gives a “Printed by” credit to Bindweed Press, San Francisco; and includes the following acknowledgement:

Canyon Cinema gratefully acknowledges the contributions of Jonas Mekas and the American Film Institute toward the publication of this supplement.

The Supplement runs approximately 50 pages, including the above described intro pages, listings of films, pages of film stills, corrections to the second Catalog and an index. The listings are arranged alphabetically by filmmaker, starting with Steven Arnold and ending with Michael T. Zuckerman. (The index lists the films alphabetically.)

What is most striking about the first Supplement is the sheer volume of films and filmmakers listed in just fifty pages. There are too many to list in this article, so understanding just how large the avant-garde and experimental film community was in the late 1960s is a little staggering. Below are some of the more notable Supplement entries, but by calling these out, the Underground Film Journal understands that we are grossly overlooking the efforts of a many underserved and unsung filmmakers.

That said, of special note:

Stan Brakhage lists four films:
The Horseman, the Woman and the Moth (1968)
Scenes From Under Childhood, Section #1 (1968) — Although the film includes sound, Brakhage recommends viewers screen the film silently, as the sound will be removed once the entire Scenes From Under Childhood is completed
Scenes From Under Childhood, Section #2 (1969)
Lovemaking (1968)

James Broughton
Nuptiae (no year given)
Credits: Photography: Stan Brakhage
Music: Lou Harrison
First Award: Ann Arbor Film Festival, 1969

Fred Camper, mostly known for his film criticism/writing, has four films listed:
Joan Goes to Misery (1967)
A Sense of the Past (1967)
Dan Potter (1967-68)
Welcome to Come (1968)

Bruce Conner:
Antonia Christina Basilotta (no year given)
Breakaway (no year given)

George Kuchar:
House of the White People, starring Donna Kerness, George Segal, Helen Segal, Walter Gutman
The Mammal Palace, starring Frank Meyer, Zelda Keiser, Donna Kerness, Hope Morris
Mosholu Holiday, directed by George Kuchar, re-edited by Mike Kuchar, starring Bob Cowan and Bill Ronald
The Lady From Sands Point, artists Betty Holliday and Helen Yellin

Mike Kuchar:
The Craven Sluck, narrated by Bob Cowan and Floraine Connors; starring Floraine Connors, Bob Cowan, George Kuchar, Bocko (dog)
The Secret of Wendel Samson, music by Bob Cowan; starring Red Grooms, Mimi Gross, Maren Thomas and Floraine Connors
(Both The Craven Sluck and The Secret of Wendel Samson are available on DVD.)
(The Secret of Wendel Samson was included in the first edition of the Catalog; and presumably is in the second. The supplement notes that this version of the film is replacing the version listed in the main catalog. The difference appears to be that Kuchar cut five minutes out of the film as the runtime changed from 35 minutes in Catalog One to 30 minutes in this supplement.)

Below are scans of the film stills printed in the Supplement. Many of the stills are from films in the full Catalog and not the Supplement. Identifying text in each scan indicates that info. Stills are in order that they appear in the Supplement.

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