The Underground Film Journal has recently uncovered that there was a previous New York Underground Film Festival — in 1970! This event is totally unconnected to the ’90-’00s era festival and featured a weeklong series of screenings in mid-October of that year, from October 12 to 19.
Underground Film History
Continuing into 1999 at the Collective Unconscious theater space in NYC, the RBMC — co-programmed by Brian L. Frye and Bradley Eros — went on hiatus for the first week of the year, but resumed on January 12. Below is a list of screenings from then until a May 18 event that celebrated the RBMC’s first full year of existence.
After years of planning, the Anthology Film Archives first opened its doors in New York City towards the end of 1970. That opening came with great interest and fascination of how the world’s first “museum of film” was going to operate like no other theater before it.
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.
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.