Since 1962, The Filmmakers’ Cooperative has been the largest distributor of experimental and avant-garde cinema with a collection of some 5,000 films produced by over 900 artists. Their archive holds precious works from filmmakers such as Stan Brakhage, Harry Smith, Maya Daren and several rarities from the 1920s Dada and German Expressionism movements. Earlier this year they were delivered an eviction notice from their New York City, TriBeCa location to make room for Alanna Heiss’ new Art International Radio pet project. For someone who claims to be ‘interested in arts and exposure for artists,’ it seems absurd and cruel to push out one of the few organizations working to preserve and distribute true independent work. Like Jonas Mekas, founder of the Filmmakers’ Cooperative acknowledged, this new radio development that Alanna Heiss is producing has in no way shown to be beneficial to the artist community and holds no reputation in New York. FMC is an artist-owned, artist-run institution with over 50 years of experience and was essentially the forerunner in the ‘60s New American Cinema movement.
“We are not joining together to make money. We are joining together to make films. We are joining together to build the New American Cinema. And we are going to do it together with the rest of America, together with the rest of our generation. Common beliefs, common knowledge, common anger and impatience binds us together—and it also binds us together with the New Cinema movements of the rest of the world…"
Finally, these questionable months have been answered with the announcement of the Co-ops new 475 Park Avenue location. Come Labor Day, FMC will have moved on up to the northeast side in a deluxe sixth floor apartment, seemingly in the sky. Their space, four times as large as their previous Clock Tower building, will cost them $1 per years rent with a five-year lease totaling their bills to a whopping $5! A contract arranged by Bryan Frye, previous Film Co-op board member turned lawyer, and Charles S. Cohen, New York real-estate developer. Not only does their new home provide a more accessible space, and specifically designed air-conditioning for their film archive, but the Park Avenue renovations for the building include a brand new 15-seat theater for scholarly research purposes.
They finally got a piece of the pie..and there ain't nothin’ wrong with that.
"..We don't want false, polished, slick films—we prefer them rough, unpolished, but alive; we don't want rosy films—we want them the color of blood.”
- The First Statement of the New American Cinema Group, September 30, 1962
For the full New York Times articles on the matter: