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Underground Film Timeline: 1990 — 1999

Below is a list of significant events and films in underground film history between the years 1990 and 1999. Reference key of sources appears at the bottom of the page.

1990

MAJOR EVENTS

The sixth and final New York Film Festival Downtown is held.

(J.S.)

SIGNIFICANT FILMS

U.S.

Richard Baylor

Thoughts From the White Walls

(J.S.)

Dead Love

(J.S.)

Jeri Cain Rossi

Burley-Q

(J.S.)

The Evil Cameraman by Richard Kern film still
The Evil Cameraman

Su Friedrich

Sink or Swim

(P.A.S.)

Richard Kern

The Evil Cameraman (1986/90)

(starring Richard Kern and Jap Anne; soundtrack by Foetus) (J.S.)

X = Y

(starring Casandra Stark) (J.S.)

Ari Roussimoff

Shadows in the City

(starring Jack Smith — posthumously) (J.S.)

1991

SIGNIFICANT FILMS

U.S.

Beth B

Stigmata

(J.S.)

Richard Baylor

Dum Dum

(J.S.)

Good Things Happen to Those That Love the Lord

(J.S.)

Scenes From the Life of Andy Warhol by Jonas Mekas film still
Scenes From the Life of Andy Warhol

Jeri Cain Rossi

Anima Sola

(J.S.)

Ernie Gehr

This Side of Paradise

(J.S.)

Side/Walk/Shuffle

(J.S.)

Tessa Hughes-Freeland

Playboy Voodoo

(made with Ela Troyano) (J.S.)

Richard Kern

Scooter and Jinx

(aka Moneylove; released by Geffen Records on Sonic Youth video “Goo”) (J.S.)

Tumble

(J.S.)

Nazi

(J.S.)

Catholic

(J.S.)

Horoscope

(starring Holly Adams) (J.S.)

Jonas Mekas

Scenes From the Life of Andy Warhol

(P.A.S.)

Casandra Stark Mele

Death of an Arabian Woman

(starring Casandra Stark) (J.S.)

1992

SIGNIFICANT FILMS

U.S.

Beth B

Amnesia

(J.S.)

Richard Baylor

My Funny Valentine

(J.S.)

Jesus Hates You (1990/92)

(J.S.)

Black Hearts Bleed Red by Jeri Cain Rossi film still
Black Hearts Bleed Red

Jeri Cain Rossi

Black Hearts Bleed Red

(based on Flannery O’Connor short story “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”) (J.S.)

Barbara Hammer

Nitrate Kisses

(S.M.)

Tessa Hughes-Freeland

Dirty

(in collaboration with Annabelle Davies) (based on Georges Bataille’s Le Bleu Du Ciel (Blue of Noon, 1935/1957)) (J.S.)

Richard Kern

The Bitches

(starring Serbu and Annabelle Davies) (J.S.)

The Sewing Circle

(starring Kembra Pfahler) (J.S.)

Jonas Mekas

Zefiro Torma: Scenes From the Life of George Maciunas

(P.A.S.)

Leslie Thornton

Peggy and Fred in Hell (1984-1992)

(In six parts) (P.A.S.)

Nick Zedd

War Is Menstrual Envy (1990-92)

(starring Steven Oddo, Kembra Pfahler, Mike Wilson, Ari Roussimoff, Annie Sprinkle, Ray) (J.S.)

1993

SIGNIFICANT FILMS

U.S.

Beth B

Under Lock and Key

(J.S.)

Two Small Bodies

(adapted from the play by Neal Bell) (J.S.)

Richard Baylor

Cirsium Delectus

(J.S.)

Hated by Todd Phillips film still
Hated: G.G. Allin & The Murder Junkies

Tessa Hughes-Freeland

Elegy: For Jean Genet

(expanded cinema performance with Ela Troyano) (J.S.)

Richard Kern

My Nightmare

(J.S.)

Detachable Penis

(music video for King Missile) (J.S.)

Room 429

(music video for Cop Shoot Cop) (J.S.)

Body Bomb

(music video for Unsane) (J.S.)

Todd Phillips

Hated: G.G. Allin & The Murder Junkies

(J.S.)

Charles Pinion

Red Spirit Lake

(J.S.)

Jim VanBebber

My Sweet Satan

(J.S.)

1994

MAJOR EVENTS

April 19: At the annual membership meeting, Canyon Cinema officially changes its bylaws so that they can start distributing video works.

(S.M.)

The first New York Underground Film Festival is held. The event was created by Todd Phillips and Andrew Gurland. Main feature is Chicken Hawk: Men Who Love Boys, directed by Adi Sideman.

(J.S.)

Also, this is the first year for the Chicago Underground Film Festival.

(J.S.)

Pip Chodorov founds Re:Voir, a French company that distributes avant-garde and experimental films on VHS.

(S.M.)

Filmmaker Earl Bodien dies.

(S.M.)

SIGNIFICANT FILMS

U.S.

Tessa Hughes-Freeland

Nymphomania

(in collaboration with Holly Adams) (J.S.)

Richard Kern

Lunchbox

(music video for Marilyn Manson) (J.S.)

Love Is…

(music video for King Missile) (J.S.)

Casandra Stark Mele

The Anarchists

(J.S.)

Ela Troyano

Carmelita Tropicana

(J.S.)

1995

MAJOR EVENTS

The second annual New York Underground Film Festival is held.

(J.S.)

Filmmaker Warren Sonbert dies.

(S.M.)

SIGNIFICANT FILMS

U.S.

Eric Brummer

Joanna Died and Went to Hell

(in collaboration with Holly Adams) (J.S.)

1996

MAJOR EVENTS

The Whitney Museum of American Art holds a retrospective of ’70s and ’80s post-punk NYC cinema, curated by Matthew Yokobosky and entitled “No Wave Cinema, 1978-87.”

(J.S.)

SIGNIFICANT FILMS

U.S.

Beth B

Visiting Desire

(in collaboration with Holly Adams) (J.S.)

Douglas Buck

Cutting Moments

(J.S.)

Cheryl Dunye

Watermelon Woman

(S.M.)

Su Friedrich

Hide and Seek

(S.M.)

Charles Pinion

We Await

(J.S.)

Yvonne Rainer

MURDER and murder

(S.M.)

Nick Zedd

Smiling Faces Tell Lies aka Son of a Whore

(J.S.)

1997

MAJOR EVENTS

Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MN) gets the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations to start investigating NEA funding. Canyon Cinema, an NEA funding recipient, comes under attack for publishing pictures of elderly lesbians kissing in their film catalog and eventually loses nearly all of its NEA funding. Also under investigation are distributor Women Make Movies and filmmakers Yvonne Rainer and Su Friedrich.

(S.M.)

SIGNIFICANT FILMS

U.S.

Beth B

Voices Unheard

(J.S.)

James Benning

Four Corners

(P.A.S.)

Four Corners by James Benning film still
Four Corners

Huck Botko

Fruitcake

(J.S.)

Baked Alaska

(J.S.)

Robert Pejo

R.I.P.: Rest in Pieces

(J.S.)

Ela Troyano

Latin Boys Go to Hell

(J.S.)

Tommy Turner

Whack Is Whack

(J.S.)

Jim VanBebber

Charlie’s Family (1997)

(aka The Manson Family (2004))

1998

MAJOR EVENTS

August 20: Nick Zedd writes a new manifesto, The Theory of Xenomorphosis.

(J.S.)

SIGNIFICANT FILMS

U.S.

Huck Botko

Cheesecake

(J.S.)

Carey Burtt

The Death of Sex

(J.S.)

Bob Judd

Bovine Vendetta

(J.S.)

Tommy Turner

The Magician

(co-directed with Jennifer Tull) (J.S.)

Nick Zedd

Why Do You Exist? (1998)

(has also been called Screen Tests and Brutes of Babylon) (J.S.)

1999

SIGNIFICANT FILMS

U.S.

Huck Botko

Graham Cracker Cream Pie

(J.S.)

Eric Brummer

Debbie Does Damnation

(J.S.)

The Psychotic Odyssey of Richard Chase by Carey Burtt film still
The Psychotic Odyssey of Richard Chase

Bob Judd

Jesse Helms Is Cleaning Up America

(J.S.)

Nick Zedd

Tom Thumb in the Land of the Giants

(J.S.)

Ecstasy in Entropy

(awarded a Chicago Underground Film Festival Completion Grant) (J.S.)

REFERENCE KEY:

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.