Underground Film Journal

Timeline Spotlight


1954: First Issue of Film Culture Is Published

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.

1985: The Cinema Of Transgression Manifesto Is Published

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.

1986: Heavy Metal Parking Lot Premiere

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.

1965-66: The Scorpio Rising Parody Mystery

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.

1962: Underground Roommates: Anger, Maas And Menken

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.