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.
Underground Film History
In addition to their monthly screenings, the Coalition founded what was initially called either the Festival of Experimental Film or the Experimental Film Festival. The first one was most likely in 1984.
This is Part Two in a series about Chicago’s Experimental Film Coalition; and covers their screening series. Formed in 1983, the Experimental Film Coalition started holding regular monthly screenings starting in 1984. The screenings brought to Chicago the work of independent, experimental filmmakers across the country, as well as screening local work.
In 1983, a group in Chicago, Illinois formed the Experimental Film Coalition to promote and provide support for independent, avant-garde, experimental and underground filmmakers.
In 1983, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, along with Media Study/Buffalo, created a touring retrospective of avant-garde films, primarily feature-length ones and a few shorts, which they called “The American New Wave 1958-1967.”
By the time the wall lights in the Gate Theater, Sausalito, were dimmed, a middle-aged couple had squeezed into the last remaining space, a few feet from the screen set up on the stage.
1963 was a pivotal year in the history of avant-garde film in the United States. In Visionary Film, P. Adams Sitney calls it “the high point of the mythopoeic development within the American avant-garde.”
In 1966, as the underground film wave was sweeping the country, a Boston off-shoot of New York City’s Film-Makers’ Cinematheque opened at a performance space at 53 Berkeley Street. Underground films were shown on weeknights, while on the weekends the space transformed into a music venue called The Boston Tea Party.
The second annual Chicago Underground Film Festival was held in 1995, at multiple locations in the city, from Thursday, July 20 to Sunday, July 23. The festival opened on July 20th at the International Cinema Museum with the film What About Me?, directed by Rachel Amodeo.
One screening, so many interesting names involved. The first being Gregg Barrios; who is now well-known for his poetry, playwriting and friendship with James Franco. However, nothing about the films he made in the ’60s can be found online. (That the Journal can find anyway.)