Film-Makers' Co-op at Fifty
National Gallery of Art
Fourth Street and Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20565
"We don't want rosy films—we want them the color of blood." Fifty years ago two dozen or so filmmakers—Jonas Mekas, Robert Breer, Shirley Clarke, Stan Vanderbeek, and Jack Smith among them—wrote the nine-point manifesto of the New American Cinema Group, a communal, collaborative organization founded on the principles of "self-sufficiency and free expression through the art of cinema." Acknowledging the force of other movements throughout the world, including Free Cinema in England and the nouvelle vague in France, they seized the moment and established the Film-Makers' Cooperative (incorporated as the New American Cinema Group Inc. on July 14, 1961). In so doing, they succeeded not only in forming their own collective, but they also influenced the formation of other independent, nonprofit, artist-run organizations around the world. This series of five programs celebrates the Co-op, now in its very active 50th year of financing, producing, distributing, screening, and supporting avant-garde cinema. Special thanks to executive director M. M. Serra and to the artists themselves.