Chick Strand

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Chick Strand, ca. 1970
Photo by Neon Park

Mildred "Chick" Strand (December 3, 1931 – July 11, 2009) was an experimental filmmaker, "a pioneer in blending avant-garde techniques with documentary".[1]


Born Mildred D. Totman in Northern California she was given the nickname "Chick" by her father.[2] She married her first husband, Paul Anderson Strand, in 1957, and they had one son, film editor Eric Strand.[citation needed] Chick Strand studied anthropology at Berkeley, and in the early 1960s organised film happenings with Bruce Baillie. In 1961, Strand established the Canyon CinemaNews, a monthly filmmakers' journal which became a focal point for the West Coast independent film movement.[2] Baillie, among others, founded a filmmakers' collective called Canyon Cinema in 1967.[2][3]

Strand met her second husband Neon Park, an artist, in the early 1960s in Berkeley. They were collaborators in art and life for over 30 years, dividing their time between Los Angeles and San Miguel de Allende, a small town in Mexico. In 1966 she enrolled in the ethnography program at UCLA, and after graduating in 1971 taught for 24 years at Occidental College. While in Mexico, Strand made documentary films about the people she met there. In later years she became a painter.[2][4]


Mosori Monika (1969) is a documentary about colonialism in Venezuela, told from the points of view of an elderly Warao woman, a Franciscan nun and the filmmaker herself. Other films on Latin America include Cosas de mi Vida (1976), Guacamole (1976) and Mujer de Milfuegos (Woman of a Thousand Fires) (1976).[1] Strand's ethnographic films are distinctive for their complex layering of sound and image, and the juxtaposition of found footage and sound with original images.[2] Later works include Cartoon le Mousse (1979), Fever Dream (1979) and Kristallnacht (1979).[4] Fake Fruit Factory (1986) is included on the National Film Preservation Foundation's 2009 DVD Treasures IV: American Avant-Garde Film, 1947-1986.[5]

Her films have been screened at the Museum of Modern Art[6] and the Tate.[7] An early promotional film for Sears, made with Pat O'Neill and Neon Park, is held along with her complete body of work in the collection of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.[8] The Academy Film Archive has preserved a number of Strand's films, including Cartoon Le Mousse, Eric and the Monsters, and Fever Dream.[9] In 2011, Fake Fruit Factory was selected to the U.S. National Film Registry.[10]


  • Eric and the Monsters (1964)
  • Angel Blue Sweet Wings (1966)
  • Anselmo (1967)
  • Waterfall (1967)
  • Mosori Monika (1970)
  • Cosas de mi Vida (1976)
  • Elasticity (1976)
  • Guacamole (1976)
  • Mujer de Milfuegos (Woman of a Thousand Fires) (1976)
  • Cartoon le Mousse (1979)
  • Fever Dream (1979)
  • Kristallnacht (1979)
  • Loose Ends (1979)
  • Soft Fiction (1979)
  • Anselmo and the Women (1986)
  • Artificial Paradise (1986)
  • By the Lake (1986)
  • Coming up for Air (1986)
  • Fake Fruit Factory (1986), selected by the National Film Registry in 2011
  • Señora con Flores / Woman with Flowers (1995/2011)


  1. ^ a b Diana Burgess Fuller, Daniela Salvioni, Art/Women/California 1950-2000: Parallels and Intersections, University of California Press, 2002, p262. ISBN 0-520-23066-3
  2. ^ a b c d e Blaetz, Robin, editor; Pramaggiore, Maria (2007). "Chick Strand's Experimental Ethnography". Women's Experimental Cinema: critical frameworks. Duke University Press. p. 191. ISBN 978-0-8223-4044-7. 
  3. ^ "History and Today". Canyon Cinema. Archived from the original on December 15, 2014. Retrieved January 4, 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Willis, Holly (November 23, 2006). "Canyon Lady". LA Weekly. p. 1. 
  5. ^ Dave Kehr, Marching Backward Into the Avant-Garde, The New York Times, February 27, 2009.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Archived April 20, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ Archived July 14, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ "Preserved Projects". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 
  10. ^ "Complete National Film Registry Listing". Library of Congress. Retrieved January 2, 2017. 

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