Below is a list of significant events and films in underground film history between the years 1960 and 1969. Reference key of sources appears at the bottom of the page.
July 21: The Village Voice publishes a negative review of Pull My Daisy written by Maya Deren.
July 29 — August 6: Jonas Mekas films Guns of the Trees on Long Island, and in and around NYC [Journal Note: Most likely, these are not the only shooting dates of the film, but are what Mekas recounted in his “Movie Journal” column.]
September 28: “A number of film-makers met at the New York office of producer Lewis Allen to found what they called ‘The New American Cinema Group’.” From this group would derive the term “New American Cinema.”
September 30: Jonas Mekas presents the first draft of the New American Cinema Group’s Manifesto, which is approved by the group.
Peter Emanuel Goldman graduates from Brown University.
Ron Rice, Vernon Zimmerman and Bruce Baillie finish first films.
The Bleeker Street Theater hosts a screening of the complete works of Maya Deren.
In Film Culture 20, Jonas Mekas lists the significant new film-makers working at the time: Joseph Strick (The Savage Eye); Lionel Rogosin (Come Back Africa); John Cassavetes (Shadows); Robert Frank and Alfred Leslie (Pull My Daisy); Maya Deren (The Very Eye of Night); Charles Boultenhouse (Hand Written); Bert Stern (Jazz on a Summer’s Day); Shirley Clarke (The Connection) and Adolfas Mekas (Guns of the Trees).
Arnulf Rainer (1958-60)
Hymn in Praise of the Sun
Minerva Looks Out Into the Zodiac
January 7: The New American Cinema Group meets at 414 Park Avenue South and votes to establish a distribution center for their work.
June 16 to July 16: The Spoleto Festival in Italy screens a selection of films from the New American Cinema for an entire month.
Summer: In Film Quarterly vol. XIV no. 4, Stan Vanderbeek has his article “The Cinema Delimina — Films From the Underground” published. It is the first time the word “underground” is used to describe experimental film.
Bruce Baillie begins free screening series in the Bay Area.
The New American Cinema Group becomes incorporated.
Maya Deren dies.
The Filmore Bus
The Movie Critic
The Circus Savage
Eye Music in Red Major
Arabesque for Kenneth Anger
Bagatelle for Willard Maas
Sidewalks (1961– ) (unfinished)
Jazz on a Summer’s Day
Lemon Hearts (1960-61)
June 1: In advance of publishing their first full catalog, the Film-Makers’ Cooperative sends out a letter listing several films available for rent.
June 28 — July 4: The Charles Theatre hosts a Film-maker’s Festival. [What was screened is unknown.]
July: Cavalier magazine publishes an article on experimental film written by Rudy Franchi.
December: Canyon Cinema publishes the first issue of the News, edited by Alexandra Ossipoff.
Jonas Mekas takes over the cooperative distribution center project called for in item number six in the manifesto drafted by the New American Cinema Group in 1960. Since that first meeting, all the filmmakers involved had basically given up on this project.
Tony Conrad graduates from Harvard with a B.A. in Mathematics.
Film Culture 29 publishes Sidney Peterson’s article, “A Note on Comedy in the Experimental Film.”
Gregory Markopoulos is awarded a grant from the Ingram Merrill Foundation to complete the feature film Twice a Man.
How Wide Is Sixth Avenue
Shoot the Moon (with Red Grooms)
A Portrait of the Lady in the Yellow Hat
To L.A. … With Lust (1961-62)
By at least June 13, the Bleecker Street Cinema had ended its relationship with the Film-Makers’ Co-op and Film Culture to host underground film midnight screenings here.
The July 13 issue of The New Yorker publishes an article on underground film-makers; which Jonas Mekas contends characterizes them as “angry.”
June 15: Twice a Man by Gregory Markopoulos has its first public screening at the Gramercy Arts Theatre (138 East 27th Street). The were three screenings, all arranged by the Smolin Gallery to benefit the “completion of the sound track to the film.”
By July 25, Naomi Levine has “just” finished her first movie.
October 4: Gregory Markopoulos’s Twice a Man opens at the Gramercy Arts Theatre.
Prior to November 14, poet Gregory Corso and Jay Socin screen a work-in-progress piece called Happy Death.
December 2: Dick Higgins screens Flaming City in New York.
December 31: After smuggling Jack Smith‘s Flaming Creatures into the third Experimental Film Exposition at Knokke-le-Zoute, Belgium, Jonas Mekas, Barbara Rubin and P. Adams Sitney attempt to screen the film against the festival’s wishes. They are prevented from doing so by a police officer and the Minister of Justice.
Andy Warhol drives to Los Angeles for an art show with friend Taylor Mead and films Tarzan and Jane, Regained Sort Of.
Alexandre Alexeieff (with Clair Parker, his wife)
Miracle on the BMT
The Gondola Eye
The Forty and One Nights, or, Jess’s Didactic Nickelodeon (1960-63)
Taylor Mead Dances
By the Sea
The Queen of Sheba Meets the Atom Man (1963– )
Christmas on Earth
Scarface and Aphrodite
January (exact date unknown): The New American Cinema Exposition is established in Munich, Germany, led by P. Adams Sitney. The Exposition travels to Amsterdam, Stockholm, Vienna, London and Paris.
Weekend of January 24-26: Andy Warhol‘s Sleep screens at the Gramercy Arts Theatre. (Exact screening day/time not given.)
February 8-9: Ron Rice screens Chumlum at the Gramercy Arts Theatre.
Week of March 5: The New Bowery Theatre hosts a Kuchar brothers’ movie festival.
April 25: Dick Higgins’s Invocation of Canyons and Boulders is screened in one of the “secret showcases of underground cinema.”
Prior to May 14: Stan Brakhage buys a complete package of 8 mm. production equipment at an auction in Boulder, Colorado.
Prior to November 12: Andy Warhol‘s Kiss was banned from screening at the University of Manitoba (Winnipeg) by the Manitoba Board of Film Censors.
Prior to December 10: A case against a screening of Jean Genet’s Un Chant d’Amour in San Francisco by the San Francisco Mime Troupe is dismissed by the District Attorney.
December 21: Naomi Levine screens two films, Jaremelu and Yes, at the Film-Makers’ Cinematheque.
Prior to December 31: Ron Rice dies from pneumonia while living in Mexico.
Jordan Belson is offered a $10,000 grant from the Ford Foundation, even though he had given up filmmaking earlier in the decade. Initially, he refused the money, but ultimately accepted it and makes the film Re-Entry.
Stan Brakhage publishes his seminal book Metaphors on Vision.
Police seize Jean Genet’s Un Chant d’amour during a screening in San Francisco hosted in an abandoned church used as the headquarters of the S.F. Mime Troupe. Police took the actual film and the movie projector as “evidence” at a second showing of the film of the night. Eventually, no charges were pressed by the D.A.
Storm De Hirsch‘s Goodbye in the Mirror screens out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival and is invited to screen at the Locarno Film Festival on July 27.
Big Sur Movie (1964– )
Peter Emanuel Goldman
Man or Mouse
Duo Concertantes (1962-64)
Ein Traum de Liebended (A Dream of Lovers)
The Devil Is Dead
My Home Movies
Happenings I (1962-64)
Happenings II (1962-64)
Ben Van Meter
The Poontang Trilogy
Naomi and Rufus Kiss
Salome and Delilah
The End of Dawn
The Thirteen Most Beautiful Women
The Thirteen Most Beautiful Men
The Lester Persky Story — A Soap Opera
February 15: Peter Goldman previews his first feature film, Echoes of Silence, at the Film-Makers’ Cinematheque.
February 18: The Cinematheque in New York City holds a screening of Bruce Baillie‘s films.
March 6: Andy Warhol‘s Empire premieres at the Film-Makers’ Cinematheque.
Harry Smith gives a “hilariously aggressive” lecture at Yale where he claims Giordano Bruno was the inventor of cinema.
Peter Kubelka comes to the United States.
Gregory Markopoulos is finally able to reclaim the negative for The Dead Ones from the lab where he had left it since 1949.
Gianfranco Barucello and Alberto Griffi
La Verifica Incerta
Night Lights & Day Hi’s (1964-65)
Gorda Adorg (1964-65)
Death and Transfiguration (1961-65)
Peter Emanuel Goldman
Echoes of Silence (1962-65)
Reflections on a Mexican Vision (1965– )
Lisa and Joey in Connecticut: “You’ve Come Back!” “You’re Still Here!”
The Sky Socialist (1965– )
Naomi Is a Vision of Loveliness
Thirties Man: Chapter One of the Big Blackout of ’65
Romantic Adventure of Edward
The Poor Little Match Girl
Guvnor Nelson and Dorothy Wiley
Oh Dem Watermelons
Thick Pucker (1964-65)
Confessions of a Black Mother Succuba
Oiley Pelosa the Pumph Man (1964-65)
Wheeels # 4 (1958-65)
Dance of the Looney Spoons (1958-65)
Revenge of the Looney Spoons (1958-65)
Science Friction (1958-65)
A Damn Rib Bed (1964-65)
The Human Face Is a Monument
Pastorale: Et al
Feedback # 1
Birth of the American Flag (1965– )
Panels for the Walls of the World # 1
September 15: Andy Warhol premieres The Chelsea Girls for a one-week run in New York City. The film is 8 hours long, but projected simultaneously on two screens for 4 hours.
October: Robert Downey Sr. previews his film Chafed Elbows for critics and “film people.”
The Film-Makers’ Cooperative establishes the End of the Century Newsreel series, which distributes newsreel films to colleges and theaters.
Mel Lyman opens the Boston Film-Makers’ Cinematheque.
Ken Jacobs becomes the first director of the Millennium Film Workshop, a position he holds until 1968.
The Sydney Filmmakers Cooperative is founded in Australia.
Particles in Space (1961-66)
Malcolm Le Grice
Castle 1 (The Light-Bulb Film)
Letter to DH in Paris
The Flicker (1965) (1966)
The Eye of Count Flickerstein
Peter Emanuel Goldman
Washington’s Wig Wham
29 Merci Merci
Claes Oldenburg Hangs a Picture
The Old House, Passing
Unsere Afrikareise (1961-66)
Film in Which There Appear Sprocket Holes, Edge Lettering, Dirt Particles, Etc. (1965-66)
Son of Academy Leader
A Private Moment
The Illiac Passion (1964-66)
Himself as Herself
Eros O Basileus (1966– )
Hall of Mirrors
Ben Van Meter
Up Tight, L.A. Is Burning … Shit
February 26: Canyon Cinema officially incorporates.
Jacques Ledoux, director of the Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique, visits the U.S. to find films for the next International Experimental Film Competition. He also gives color film stock to several filmmakers, including James Broughton, in hopes they’ll make something for the Competition.
Kenneth Anger has his footage for Lucifer Rising stolen.
Bruce Baillie suffers a near fatal bout of hepatitis.
La Ballade des Amants Maudits
Schnitte für ABABA
Frederic Rzewski isst bei Carlone — Via della Luce 55 — Rom Italien — 26 August
William and Birgit Hein
Burton C. Gershfield
Now That the Buffalo’s Gone
Nine Variations on a Dance Theme
FFFTCM (Fan Fare for the Common Man)
The Great Blondino
Hot Leatherette (1966-67)
Jimmy Witherspoon & Penny Bright (1966-67)
The Off-Handed Jape (1966-67)
Super Spread (1966-67)
Half Open and Lumpy (1966-67)
Awful Backlash (1966-67)
Marvo Movies (1967-68)
Malcolm Le Grice
Blind White Duration
Visa de Censure (1967-68)
Sviluppo Number 2
Me Myself and I
How Old Is the Water
Film 2 Tiel 1
No President aka The Kidnapping and Auctioning of Wendell Wilkie By the Love Bandit (1967-68)
January: Intermedia Film Cooperative forms in Vancouver, British Columbia.
In an ad in Esquire magazine, the company Bauer touts its super 8 camera as “The Underground Movie Camera.”
Sometime during the Summer, Film Culture magazine publishes its 47th issue.
William and Birgit Hein
Special effects for Doppelgänger (Journey to the Far Side of the Sun (1968-69))
Our Lady of the Sphere
Hildur and the Magician
Note to Patti (1968/9)
One Second in Montreal
Under My Thumb
La Raison avant la Passion
D.C: David Curtis. Experimental Cinema. New York: Dell Pub., 1978.
D.E.J.: David E. James. The Most Typical Avant-garde: History and Geography of Minor Cinemas in Los Angeles. Berkeley: University of California, 2005.
J.M.: Jonas Mekas. Movie Journal: The Rise of a New American Cinema, 1959-1971. Collier Books, 1972.
J.S.: Jack Sargeant. Deathtripping: the Extreme Underground. Brooklyn: Soft Skull, 2008. (Originally published: London: Creation, 1995.)
P.A.S.: P. Adams Sitney. Visionary Film: the American Avant-garde, 1943-2000. New York: Oxford UP, 2002.
S.M.: Scott MacDonald. Canyon Cinema: the Life and times of an Independent Film Distributor. Berkeley: University of California, 2008.
S.R.: Sheldon Renan. An Introduction to the American Underground Film. New York: Dutton, 1967.