Anthology Film Archives


April 3 – June 21

With the new monthly series RE-VISIONS: AMERICAN EXPERIMENTAL FILM 1975-90, Anthology spotlights the generation(s) of experimental film artists who emerged after the final formation in 1975 of our Essential Cinema repertory screening cycle. As hotly debated as it was widely celebrated, the EC had a seismic effect (for better or worse) on both cinema studies scholarship and international film curatorial practice. Even though the EC was intended as a direct response to the exclusion of the avant-garde from official Film History, by so concisely outlining a canon it effectively shifted critical and public interest away from the still developing experimental film movement and focused attention squarely on certain artists and works considered to be historically important. Subsequent generations of cinema artists have never received the same level of intellectual/institutional recognition or encouragement. While it is plainly wrong to claim that the quantity and quality of experimental filmmaking declined after the mid-70s, it is very true that the artists who emerged immediately following the completion of the EC have enjoyed far less attention from critics, programmers, or the public than those who preceded them. We believe that it is high time for a re-evaluation.

With the support of a significant grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Anthology has been engaged in a multi-year project to preserve significant works by a wide range of cinema artists who largely became active or reached their prime after 1975.  Rather than attempt to amend the EC, RE-VISIONS uses it as a starting point from which to explore the continuities, fractures, corollaries, and connections between cinema artists of the last 40 years and the previous avant-garde film movements. Not surprisingly, the artists included in our project traveled in tight-knit communities and were often students of EC filmmakers. Their works screened in self-run cinematheques, nightclubs, alternative art spaces, and classrooms. Their productions centered on issues ranging from feminism and gender to racial and cultural identity; they presented contrarian punk attitudes and values; they often ignored abstraction for aspects of documentary and essay, involving themselves in the work in ways that the previous generation never attempted. Much like their predecessors, these artists continued to tirelessly push at the parameters of cinematic form. While recognized for their accomplishments within the relatively small independent filmmaking community, their work is still too new, too unruly, or else too marginalized to be sold in galleries, collected by museums, or preserved by most film archives.

RE-VISIONS will feature single-artist screenings of our new preservations alongside other exemplary and enticing titles spanning each artist’s career. We are as interested in seeing what they made way back then as we are in what they are doing today. When possible, artists will appear in person to discuss their work and answer questions.

Special thanks to the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Audio Mechanics, BB Optics, Cinema Arts, Cineric, Colorlab, The Film Foundation, FotoKem, the Mike Kelly Foundation for the Arts, The National Endowment for the Arts, the National Film Preservation Foundation, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Trackwise, Video and Film Solutions, Women’s Film Preservation Fund of New York Women in Film & Television, and all the artists who were involved in this project.

< Back to Series