The Film-Makers' Cooperative

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logo of The Film-Makers' Cooperative, designed by filmmaker Stan VanDerBeek.
Lithuanian artist Jonas Mekas, one of the founders of The Film-Makers' Cooperative

The Film-Makers' Cooperative a.k.a. The New American Cinema Group is an artist-run, non-profit organization founded in 1962 in New York City by Jonas Mekas, Shirley Clarke, Stan Brakhage, Gregory Markopoulos, Lloyd Michael Williams and other filmmakers to distribute avant-garde films.


After gestating from an informal meeting of 23 independent filmmakers on September 28, 1960, The Film-Makers’ Cooperative was formally organized in 1962. On September 30 of that year, it issued its first mission statement, under its alternate name the New American Cinema Group.[1] In the early 1960s, the group showed experimental movies at midnight screenings at the Bleecker Street Cinema.[2]


The Film-Makers' Cooperative holds the world's largest collection of avantgarde and experimental films, with over 5,000 titles by more than 825 filmmakers.[3] The collection includes work authored on 35mm, 16mm, 8mm, video and DVD. The Cooperative rents out the films in its collection to cinématheques, film festivals, schools, universities, museums, and other art institutions in the United States and around the world.

Based upon a belief common to the founding members that the "official cinema is running out of breath" and has become "morally corrupt, aesthetically obsolete, thematically superficial, temperamentally boring" (as the original 1962 manifesto[4] would have it), the Film-Makers' Cooperative was a key institution in the heyday of American experimental or "underground" film in the 1960s and 1970s, and has continued to operate on a non-exclusive basis to ensure the existence of an alternative, non-commercial film culture since then.

The Film-Makers' Cooperative is open to anyone who wishes to become a member.

The New York Film-Makers' Cooperative has inspired similar initiatives both within the United States (Canyon Cinema in San Francisco) and abroad (The London Film-Makers' Co-operative in England, and ABCinema in Denmark, and elsewhere).

Besides distributing its members' films, the Film-Makers' Cooperative is continuously involved in film preservation and DVD release projects, and in arranging screenings and events in and around New York City.

Directors and Board Members[edit]

Founding Director: Jonas Mekas
Executive Director: M.M. Serra
Members of the Board:

Advisory Board:


  1. ^ Mekas, Jonas. "The Film-Maker's Cooperative: A Brief History". The New American Cinema Group / The Film-Makers’ Coop (official site). Retrieved April 5, 2013. 
  2. ^ Pierson, Michele; James, David E.; Arthur, Paul, eds. (2011). "Introduction". Optic Antics: The Cinema of Ken Jacobs. Oxford University Press, USA. p. 21 (footnote 30). ISBN 978-0195384970. 
  3. ^ Rohter, Larry. "Distributor of Avant-Garde Films Threatened With Eviction" The New York Times. 10 Feb. 2009.
  4. ^ History

External links[edit]