Canyon Cinema Cooperative: Catalogue Number One
In December 1966, the Canyon Cinema Cooperative in San Francisco, California published their first Catalogue of experimental and avant-garde films to rent. This was four years after the Film-Makers’ Cooperative had begun distributing underground films in New York City.
Canyon first listed films to rent in the November ’66 edition of their News newsletter, then published the catalog separately one month later. In the book Canyon Cinema, Scott MacDonald notes that the News listed just 31 filmmakers with films. Only six of them had multiple films listed; while the rest listed just a single film each.
The first standalone catalogue expanded on that first listing of filmmakers, but is still a modest publication at just sixteen pages, plus the covers. The catalogue includes 45 filmmakers — some are listed as pairs — and many more filmmakers have multiple films listed. For example, Larry Jordan has eight films listed, Robert Nelson six and Bruce Baillie four.
There are no ordering instructions included in the catalogue, but each film is listed with a rental price — some with even a for sale price. The contact address on the front cover is 58 Verona Place, San Francisco, CA 94107; which was the home of filmmaker Earl Bodien. (According to Google Maps, Verona Place does not seem to exist anymore.)
The back cover includes this publishing note:
Printed in the U.S.A.
HARRY GANTT Publishers Printing Representative
NEW YORK 40, N.Y.
There are no film stills reproduced in the catalogue. The only illustration appears on the cover and is the front version of Canyon’s “logo” mascot, the Exothematic Man, a drawing pilfered from, according to MacDonald’s book, a nineteenth century medicine catalog.
Below is a list of all the filmmakers in the catalogue, with a few notable films pointed out:
William Allan and Bruce Nauman
Mass for the Dakota Sioux (1964) 20 min. B&W Rental: $20.00
Tung (1966) 5 min. Color Silent Rental $7.00
Castro Street (1966) 10 min. Color/B&W Rental: $10.00
All My Life (1966) 3 min. Color Rental $4.00
Earl E. Bodien
Evocations 17 min. Color Rental $20.00
Ron Finne and Harry Noller
Hold Me While I’m Naked 17 min. Color Rental: $20.00
Corruption of the Damned 55 min. B&W Rental: $55.00
Green Desire (1965) 20 min. Color Rental $25.00
The Secret of Wendel Samson (1966) 35 min. Color Rental: $50.00
(Wendel Samson would also be listed in the first Supplement to the second Catalog. Available on DVD.)
Charles I. Levine
Gunvor Nelson and Dorothy Willey
Schmeerguntz 15 min. B&W Rental: $15.00 Sale: $130.0
Geard Stern (The Journal believes this is a misspelling of Gerd Stern)
Ben Van Meter
Michael K. Wiese