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.
Underground Film History
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 a letter dated June 1, 1962, the newly formed Film-Makers’ Cooperative offered their first list of films that were available to rent. Fourteen filmmakers were represented.
For a small publication with no advertising to support it, publishing on a quarterly basis was an ambitious and impressive achievement for Idiolects. This second issue covers avant-garde happenings in New York City from August to November 1976, primarily film, but not exclusively.
In 1976, a crudely published fanzine devoted to the experimental film scene made its debut. It was called Idiolects and the first issue offered a definition of its name: “An idiolect is the language of an individual at a particular time.”
According to the modern day Magic Lantern Society, Danish mathematician Thomas Rasmussen Walgensten was the first person to use the term “Laterna Magica” in the mid-1600s to describe his image projection device.
In 1993, after not being accepted into any major film festival of the time, such as Sundance, filmmaker Todd Phillips personally toured the U.S. and Europe with his first documentary film, Hated: GG Allin & The Murder Junkies.
Brian L. Frye programmed the first screening on May 12, 1998 at the Collective Unconscious theater space. The screening included the feature-length documentary Underground by Emile de Antonio about the left-wing militant group the Weather Underground
In 1998, Brian L. Frye was a transplant from San Francisco looking to open a new microcinema in NYC, having been inspired by Craig Baldwin’s Other Cinema at Artists Television Access and David Sherman and Rebecca Barten’s Total Mobile Home.
In addition to screening films in their hometown of Chicago, Illinois, the Experimental Film Coalition published two different periodicals in support of experimental filmmaking and filmmakers.