Anthology Film Archives

AMOS VOGEL CENTENARY: CINEMA 16

October 21 – October 27

This fall New York City’s various repertory cinemas are joining forces to celebrate the centenary of pioneering writer, curator, exhibitor, distributor, and New York Film Festival co-founder Amos Vogel, a figure whose immense and formative contributions to film culture in New York City, the United States, and around the world can hardly be overstated. Beginning with a 7-part program at the 59th New York Film Festival, which will survey the many different facets of Vogel’s career, the centenary tribute will then fan out across the city, with each venue focusing on a specific dimension of Vogel’s accomplishments, including his foundational work at Lincoln Center; his time as film consultant for Grove Press; and his classic study “Film as a Subversive Art”, which will soon be reissued by Film Desk Books.

Here at Anthology, we’ll be shining a spotlight on Vogel’s innovative and influential Cinema 16 screening series. Cinema 16 opened with a program in November 1947, and ran consistently until its demise in 1963. Within the context of Anthology’s history and curatorial approach, Cinema 16 is particularly fascinating not only for the crucial role it ultimately played in the formation of the institution – it represented a key inspiration for AFA’s founder Jonas Mekas – but also for its radically distinct sensibility and programming orientation.

The relationship between Vogel and Mekas was a complicated one: while Jonas never hesitated to credit Vogel and Cinema 16 as a deeply formative influence (he described Cinema 16 as “my Sunday church, my university”), and to praise Vogel’s work in his Village Voice “Movie Journal” column, his own programming and distribution efforts of the early-to-mid 1960s were conceived in part to address what he saw as Vogel’s blind spots and his dominance of alternative film exhibition and access, a dynamic that led to a rift between the two figures. Nevertheless, in hindsight Vogel’s Cinema 16 selections are fascinating for the radically different programming philosophy they embody – above all their profound openness to new ideas, their political commitment, their sustained focus on the 16mm film gauge, and their extraordinary freedom in combining experimental films, narrative shorts and features, animations, science and educational films, and almost every other imaginable category of moving image work within a single program.

For this series we’ve chosen to recreate (as far as possible) a selection of Vogel’s original Cinema 16 programs, gravitating towards those that feature long-neglected, forgotten, and rarely screened works, and that are especially notable for combining distinctly disparate categories of films. Even nearly 60 years after the final Cinema 16 screening, Vogel’s approach to programming remains inspiring in its multidisciplinary stance and inexhaustible curiosity towards every dimension of human experience and expression.

See below for details about the other Amos Vogel programs taking place throughout the city this fall:

New York Film Festival 59: Sept 24-Oct 10
MoMA: Animal, Vegetable, or Mineral? The Subversive Art of Amos Vogel
: Oct 8-13
Metrograph: Amos Vogel’s Film as a Subversive Art: Oct 13-Nov 2
Roxy Cinema Tribeca: Oct 14 (Program 1) & Oct 16 (Program 2)
Light Industry: The Visual Taboo: Oct 19
Museum of the Moving Image: "Reality" as a Subversive Art: Oct 29-31
Film Forum: Homage to Amos Vogel and Cinema 16: Nov 7

To purchase the new edition of “Film As a Subversive Art”, click here.

Special thanks to Thomas Beard, Dennis Lim, and Tyler Wilson (New York Film Festival); Johanna Bauman (Pratt Institute Libraries); Brian Belovarac (Janus Films); Sam Bryan (International Film Foundation); Carmel Curtis & Jamie Thomas (Indiana University Moving Image Archive); Skip Elsheimer (A/V Geeks); Dino Everett (USC SCA Hugh M. Hefner Moving Image Archive); KateĊ™ina Fojtová (Czech National Film Archive); Genevieve Fong & David Hertsgaard (Eames Office); Jane Gutteridge (National Film Board of Canada); Kajsa Hedström (Swedish Film Institute); Joyce Herring (Martha Graham Resources); Emily Hubley; David Jennings (Sony); Tanisha Jones & Elena Rossi-Snook (New York Public Library for the Performing Arts); Tim Lanza (Cohen Film Collection); Edda Manriquez (Academy Film Archive); Brian Meacham (Yale Film Archive); Seth Mitter (Canyon Cinema); Jacob Perlin (The Film Desk); Corinna Reicher (BFI); Gabe Stetson (W.E.B. DuBois Libraries, University of Massachusetts, Amherst); Katie Trainor (MoMA); and Scott Vickrey.

Upcoming Screenings

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