Anthology Film Archives


November 25 – January 31

After years of dreaming, planning, and herculean efforts on the part of Jonas Mekas and his collaborators, Anthology Film Archives welcomed visitors for the first time with an event and reception on November 30, 1970 (followed by the public opening the following day, December 1). This week, then, marks half a century of Anthology as a cinema, archive, library – and community – devoted to experimental filmmaking.

While the pandemic has greatly complicated our plans to celebrate the anniversary, we will nonetheless be marking the occasion in various ways throughout 2020-21. Details of various anniversary-themed or -inspired online programs will be added to the list of screenings at the bottom of this page as they become available.  And we are also celebrating by presenting the fruits of a major, ongoing anniversary project: we’ve been reaching out to filmmakers, artists, scholars, and others to bear witness to Anthology’s value – to the influence AFA has had on their own work, its significance within the history of avant-garde cinema and art, and its place in the sphere of contemporary culture in NYC and beyond. These testimonials have taken the form of short videos – some comprising newly produced short films in their own right – which we’ll be sharing throughout the coming weeks and months. A selection of the videos that have already been contributed – by filmmakers and artists including Peggy Ahwesh, Alec Baldwin, Stephanie Barber, Manuel DeLanda, Richard Hell, Jim Jarmusch, Jennifer Reeder, John Waters, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, and many others – are showcased here, on Anthology’s Vimeo page. We’ll continue to gather and share these testimonials throughout the rest of the year, and into 2021 (and hopefully these celebrations will culminate with in-person events when circumstances allow!).

Visit this page on our website for more information about the anniversary, and click here to read about (and support) Anthology’s expansion project, the next phase in our history!


Streaming for free starting November 30-December 15
When Anthology Film Archives first opened in 1970, its inaugural screening – presented during a private event on November 30 – showcased four highlights from the foundational repertory cycle that would come to be known as the Essential Cinema Repertory Collection. Though today the Essential Cinema represents only one component of Anthology’s wide-ranging programming, in the institution’s first iteration – which occupied the specially-designed Invisible Cinema at Joseph Papp’s Public Theater on Lafayette Street – it comprised the entirety of Anthology’s exhibition program. The opening night screening aimed to demonstrate the historical and formal range of the nascent collection – albeit in a concentrated form, to leave room for opening night partying (no pesky pandemic then). The four films represented a short survey of film history, spanning from the turn of the century (with Georges Méliès’s 1904 VOYAGE ACROSS THE IMPOSSIBLE), all the way up to the (then-)present day with a brand-new film by filmmaker, painter, and Anthology’s founding patron, Jerome Hill (CANARIES). Formally, the early-cinema special-effect experiments of Méliès were juxtaposed with the innovations of Hill (who combined live-action photography with animation by painting directly on the filmstrip), Harry Smith (a master of collage animation), and Joseph Cornell (whose MIDNIGHT PARTY – brought to completion by filmmaker Lawrence Jordan in 1968, but assembled in an unfinished form in the 1940s – is a pioneering found-footage film).

For our first 50th anniversary (online) offering, we recreate this opening night program, with high-quality digital versions of all four films. The Méliès and Jerome Hill works are generously provided by Flicker Alley and the Museum of Modern Art (respectively). Harry Smith’s FILM NO. 11 (MIRROR ANIMATIONS) will be presented from a digital transfer created from Anthology’s 2016 restoration, while Joseph Cornell’s THE MIDNIGHT PARTY has been newly transferred specially for this occasion.


To mark the 30th anniversary of the tragic and courageous struggle that led the Lithuanian people to regain their independence, the Lithuanian Culture Institute and Humboldt Books organized a two-day event on January 13 & 14, hosted by Scandinavia House and the Brooklyn Rail. This event comprised two international online panel discussions dedicated to Jonas Mekas and the book “Transcript 04 44’ 14”: Lithuania and the Collapse of the USSR” (Humboldt Books, 2020). Inspired by Mekas’s film, LITHUANIA AND THE COLLAPSE OF THE USSR (2008, 286 min), this new book comprises a transcript of the entire film, alongside an essay by the editors, and copious illustrations. For the online panel discussions, the editors of the publication, Francesco Urbano Ragazzi, engaged in dialogue with other thinkers, artists, and historians – including the first Head of State of the Republic of Lithuania, Vytautas Landsbergis – in a virtual roundtable involving Italy, France, Israel, Lithuania, and the U.S.

In conjunction with this two-day event – and as part of our ongoing 50th anniversary celebration – Anthology is presenting Mekas’s film, free of charge. To access the film, click here.

For more on LITHUANIA AND THE COLLAPSE OF THE USSR and the related panel discussions, click here. Recordings of the discussions are available here and here.

This online engagement is presented with support from the Consulate General of the Republic of Lithuania in New York, the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania in Italy, the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania in France, and the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania in Israel.

Rare Essential Cinema! Ends Tues, Jan 26

Arguably the masterpiece of Rossellini’s late period, and the film that launched his extraordinary series of made-for-TV “history films,” THE TAKING OF POWER BY LOUIS XIV is part of Anthology’s foundational Essential Cinema repertory cycle. However, due to the rarity of accessible 35mm prints, it has been many years since we’ve screened it. Happily, thanks to Janus Films, we are able to present an online engagement of a beautiful digital transfer of the film, as part of our 50th Anniversary celebrations.

THE TAKING OF POWER BY LOUIS XIV is available now; click here to access the film. The streaming rental fee is $10, but AFA Members can stream the film for free! Members, please contact for your promo code.

Portraits of Jonas Mekas
Currently streaming

On the occasion of Anthology’s 50th Anniversary, we present a selection of film portraits of Jonas Mekas. No one documented Mekas’s life as thoroughly and persistently as Jonas himself, but these films and videos portray his life and work from another perspective, showing another side of a filmmaker, artist, writer, and friend who is greatly missed. At the heart of the series are Jonas’s appearances on three different public television programs devoted to independent, experimental cinema: Charles Levine’s CINEMA FORUM, Gerald O’Grady’s FILM-MAKERS, and Robert Gardner’s SCREENING ROOM. Jonas visited these programs in, respectively, 1971, 1976, and 1981, leading the three together to form (among other things) a kind of chronicle of the first phase of Anthology’s history, from its founding in 1970, through its relocation to Wooster Street in the mid-1970s, to its renovation of the Second Avenue Courthouse throughout the mid-to-late 80s. The series also includes a selection of short and feature-length portrait films, which we’ll post gradually throughout December and January.

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