Underground Film Journal

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Film-Makers’ Coop To Be Evicted!

By Mike Everleth ⋅ February 6, 2009

Film-Makers Cooperative abstract circle logo

Via Art Fag City comes some horrible news. It seems that the legendary Film-Makers’ Cooperative is about to be evicted from its sublease at the Clocktower Gallery in NYC after having been at the location for the past nine years. The eviction would force the FMC to move its collection of thousands of film prints and massive paper archive to another location, a project that would cost several thousands of dollars.

Executive Director M.M. Serra sent out a notice to all FMC members regarding the situation and stated that the FMC is appealing to the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate D. Levin to either stay in the space or be allowed to move to another affordable city space. If you’d like to do your part and speak up on FMC’s behalf, please write directly to Levin yourself at the following web address: http://www.nyc.gov/html/mail/html/maildcla.html.

The FMC is a critical organization to the promotion of avant-garde, experimental and underground film. It was originally conceived at a meeting in 1962 organized by Jonas Mekas and included filmmakers such as Stan Vanderbeek, Ron Rice, Rudy Burckhardt, Jack Smith, Robert Breer, Ken Jacobs, Gregory Markopoulos and Robert Downey, Sr. They banded together frustrated by the lack of distribution options for their work. So, they created their own option, the FMC.

As a non-exclusive organization, they store and distribute films by any filmmaker who submits a print of their work and pays an annual membership fee of $40. Filmmakers set their own rental price, then receive 60% of any rental fees collected.

For the Underground Film Journal, the FMC is an invaluable reference tool. Anyone following my ’70s Underground Yearbook series can get an idea of just how many films the FMC distributes just from that decade.

I don’t know yet the official date of the eviction, but I think it’s in a couple days. Again, please write to the NYC Cultural Affairs Commissioner above and I’ll try to keep up with the news on this situation.