In 1945, Maya Deren was awarded an Honorable Mention for her first film, Meshes of the Afternoon (1943), by the Amateur Cinema League. This film, co-directed with her husband Alexander Hammid, would go on to become one of the most influential avant-garde films of the 20th Century. You can learn where to watch it here. […]
In December 1954, Jonas Mekas and his brother Adolfas published the first issue of Film Culture magazine. Initially hostile to American avant-garde filmmaking, the magazine eventually evolved into the avant-garde’s greatest champion in print.
In September 1985, Nick Zedd published the fourth issue of his zine The Underground Film Bulletin, in which the most important article was Zedd’s “The Cinema of Transgression Manifesto,” which reads like a proclamation of war against avant-garde filmmaking and “academic snobbery.
On October 20, 1986, the legendary underground documentary Heavy Metal Parking Lot made its world premiere at the music club d.c. space in Washington, D.C. The club hosted punk rock shows, avant-garde jazz performances and poetry readings in D.C. from 1977 to 1991; and, at least in October 1986, held movie and video screenings on Sundays.
A genuine underground mystery has appeared! The above movie ad appeared in the January 1, 1966 San Francisco Examiner; and was posted on Twitter by Evan. It announces the “World Premiere” of the film Cycle Queen, which is billed as a satire on Kenneth Anger’s classic film Scorpio Rising (1963). No filmmaker is listed in the ad.
In 1962, Kenneth Anger moved to Brooklyn, New York and began living with married filmmakers Willard Maas and Marie Menken. Once in Brooklyn, however, Anger became acquainted with a local motorcycle gang and shot footage that would eventually become his most celebrated work.
Twelve American filmmakers will receive a total of $118,500 from the Ford Foundation in its first move to aid creative artists in motion pictures. The grants range up to $10,000 for a one-year period. They will be used by the recipients either to produce short films or for travel and study.
Condescending article insulting Maya Deren and her film Meshes of the Afternoon, one of the indisputable classics of underground film.
Here is a rare instance from 1948 of the use of the term “underground film,” which appears to be referencing a movie about “underworld” mobsters.
Jan. 21, 1968: This condescending article belittles several underground films that have achieved classic status since, such as Blazes and Christmas on Earth.