Anthology Film Archives


July 16 – September 3

Most great filmmakers spend an entire career developing a signature style and coherent themes, experimenting and exploring and refining their craft over the course of several movies. But there is another brand of auteur, far more elusive and remarkable: the director who establishes a fully formed cinematic vision with their first full-length credit, only to never make another feature. The “One-Offs,” as Andrew Sarris labels them in a chapter of THE AMERICAN CINEMA. The One-Film Wonders.

Almost exclusively misunderstood or underappreciated in their time – by critics, the public, or both – these singular artists never assembled a full-blown oeuvre. Some gave up, disinterested in the process of directing or disillusioned by the hardships of the industry. Some moved on, finding success in another field. Some kept trying, struggling and failing to get a follow-up project off the ground. Some simply met a premature demise. No matter the story, a combination of circumstance and chance has unfairly relegated these directors’ achievements to the footnotes of film history.

Anthology is thrilled to finally give these 17 visionaries their due – with 17 complete retrospectives. The One-Film Wonders appear in all forms – industry insiders, regional upstarts, avant-garde iconoclasts – and hail from different countries and time periods, but they remain united by a go-for-broke ambition, an ability to pack a lifetime’s worth of images and ideas into a single feature. They may not have enjoyed long careers, but as THE HONEYMOON KILLERS’ Leonard Kastle remarked, “One thing I can always say – and not every director can say this – I never made a bad film.”

Co-curated by C. Mason Wells, who also wrote the series introduction and all film descriptions. Special thanks to Carmen Accaputo (Cineteca di Bologna); Brian Belovarac (Janus Films); Daniel Bish (George Eastman House); Cassie Blake (Academy Film Archive); Margaret Bodde (The Film Foundation); Romeo Carey; Sam Chamberlain; Pip Chodorov (Re:Voir); Chris Chouinard (Park Circus); Jack Durwood (Paramount); Tiffany Greenwood (Swank Motion Pictures, Inc.), Kristie Nakamura & Nicki Woods (WB); Todd Wiener & Steven Hill (UCLA Film & Television Archive); and Mike Williams (Strand Releasing).

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