CANYON CINEMA’S LEGENDARY ARCHIVE
FEATURED IN EYE ON A DIRECTOR CINEMA SERIES
THIS JULY AND AUGUST AT MAD
Scott MacDonald leads panel discussion on July 28 with Dominic Angerame,
Jonas Mekas, Seth Mitter, and Lynne Sachs
Peter Hutton Screening on August 4 with Michael Renov
July 7, 14, 21, and 28, and August 4, 11, and 18, 7 pm
Admission starts at $10 general / $5 members and students
NEW YORK, NY, June 29, 2016 – From July 7 to August 18, 2016, the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) presents its latest Eye on a Director film series, highlighting the legendary film distributor and archive Canyon Cinema. Taking place on Thursdays at 7 pm, screenings focus on experimental documentaries created by independent film artists from the 1950s to the present. Working directly with MAD, Canyon’s staff and board of directors served as co-curators for this series, selecting works that reveal the history of an artistic community in parallel to American cinematic movements.
“Canyon’s collection is one of the most expansive records of the American avant-garde cinema movement, a radical break from Hollywood that embraces film as a material medium,” said series curators Katerina Llanes and Carson Parish. “The work presented here is subversive, forward-thinking, and challenging, and it made sense for us to present these films at MAD, an artist-centered institution founded on radical craft.”
Founded in the early 1960s as an artist collective, Canyon Cinema brought together independent filmmakers whose work reflected a remarkable diversity in style and content. Variously called avant-garde, underground, and experimental, these artists shared a vision of film as a form of personal expression, free from the demands and constraints of commercial conventions. The group evolved into a distribution company, and today its archives hold a collection of Super 8mm, 16mm, and 35mm film prints from 260 directors, representing one of the most comprehensive archives of experimental film in the world.
“We worked closely with the team at the Museum to create a program that reveals the history and legacy of the counter-cultural artistic community which founded and continues to support our organization’s mission as advocates for artist-made cinema,” says Antonella Bonfanti, Director of Canyon Cinema Foundation. “Everyone at Canyon Cinema is looking forward to this unique showcase of our influential collection at MAD.”
Thematic threads explored in the program include the changing landscape of postwar America and feminist filmmaking in the Bay Area in the 1970s and ’80s, through films by influential artists including Barbara Hammer, Peter Hutton, Gunvor Nelson, and Cauleen Smith.
On Thursday, July 28, at 7 pm, Professor of Film History at Hamilton College Scott MacDonald will lead a panel discussion featuring filmmakers Dominic Angerame, Jonas Mekas, and Lynne Sachs along with Canyon’s Collection Manager Seth Mitter. This moderated talk will focus on the collaborative spirit and tradition of communal production, exhibition, and distribution that are synonymous with Canyon Cinema.
On Thursday, August 4, at 7 pm, MAD will pay tribute to the legacy of director Peter Hutton with a screening of his works presented by Canyon’s President, Michael Renov.
Eye on a Director: Canyon Cinema is co-curated by Antonella Bonfanti, Rebecca Meyers, Seth Mitter, Michael Renov, and Jeffrey Skoller of Canyon Cinema, in conjunction with MAD’s Katerina Llanes, Manager of Public Programs, and Carson Parish, Audiovisual Coordinator. Special thanks to Max Goldberg and Scott MacDonald.
Eye on a Director: Canyon Cinema is presented in partnership with Anthology Film Archives, The Film-Makers’ Cooperative, and Millennium Film Journal.
ABOUT CANYON CINEMA
Canyon Cinema began in the Canyon, California, home of Bay Area experimental filmmaker Bruce Baillie. Initially an informal gathering for filmmakers to share their work using a 16mm projector and a bedsheet hung in the backyard, Canyon Cinema, Inc., was officially founded in 1967 by Bruce Baillie, Bruce Conner, Robert Nelson, Chick Strand, and others as a collective-run distribution company dedicated to educating the public about independent artist-made moving images and making its collection of more than 2,500 works accessible to universities and cultural organizations worldwide. In 2012, the group voted to become a non-profit, and today it is one of the few remaining organizations providing access to works in one of the essential forms of twentieth-century art: celluloid film. Canyon Cinema is home to Super 8mm, 16mm, and 35mm film prints from 260 artists, a unique collection that represents the most comprehensive history of the experimental and avant-garde filmmaking movement from 1921 to today.
ABOUT EYE ON A DIRECTOR
With a focus on experimental craft, MAD’s Eye on a Director cinema screening series spotlights underrepresented voices in film and video history, featuring artists who actively test the limits of the medium and challenge viewers to expand their concept of the moving image. The series provides a platform for directors who resisted mainstream conventions and created unique bodies of work deserving of a retrospective.