Survey: Los Angeles Filmforum

Posted August 05, 2010 by Anonymous
Part 1.
Year Founded: 
1c. Organization's annual budget.: 
$0 - $50,000
1b. Primary activity[ies] of the organization.: 
Presenting Organization
Part 2.
2a. Mission Statement: 
Filmforum was incorporated in 1975 “to promote a greater understanding of film as an art form and the filmmaker as an artist by providing a forum for independently produced, experimental films, which have little opportunity of reaching the general public through normal channels of commercial distribution.” In 1993, the mission statement was revised to: Filmforum Mission Statement and Primary Activities Filmforum’s mission is to promote a greater understanding of media as an art form and activist tool, by providing a regularly scheduled forum for independently produced film and video which would otherwise have little opportunity of reaching the public due to factors of commercial viability or censorship. Filmforum fosters coalition-building among media-makers, as well as among media, cultural, and community organizations, in an effort to support local media activity, and to facilitate cross-cultural dialog across the full spectrum of communities.
2b. Organization History / Organizational Overview. Index of important events in organization's history.: 
Founded in 1975 by Terry Cannon in Pasadena, Filmforum serves as Southern California’s oldest organization dedicated to the ongoing, regular presentation of independent, experimental, and progressive media. When Filmforum’s first screening took place in an living room in November of 1975, alternative media was at one of its aesthetic, technological, and social high points. Sara Katherine Arledge, Bruce Baillie, Stan Brakhage, James Broughton, Joseph Cornell, Chick Strand and James Whitney, to name a few, were expanding the boundaries of film. Nam June Paik was exploring the first video synthesizer and multi-media had emerged from the relative primitivity of the 1960s, spawning a whole new interdisciplinary genre. A few visionary prophets were predicting such absurdities as shopping via television and videophones and, lurking in sci-fi cellars and the draker corners of academe, a handful of closeted geeks were whispering words like “cyberspace.” Public screenings began in January 1976 with a series of ethnographic films followed by a series of avant-garde films. Since then the organization has passed through a series of directors and venues, but always managing to stay afloat while other organizations have discbanded. The directors have been: Terry Cannon, Trish Knodle, Buddy Kilchesty & Richard Amromin, Jon Stout, Amy Murphy, Mark Rance, and Adam Hyman. the screening locations ranged from Pasadena, then to the Wallenboyd Center in downtown Los Angeles, then LACE in downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood Moguls, Glaxa Studios in Silverlake, LACE in Hollywood, the Art Center College of Design, the UCLA Hammer Museum, and the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. David James has created a "geohistory" of the venues, which will soon be posted on our website. Over the past 30 years, Filmforum has chronicled changes in social attitude towards the medium and society’s media-vision of itself. Those changes have been reflected in media-makers’ concepts of their art as a social force, evolving from purist aesthetics into today’s media, with the power to make and promulgate images shaping the future of our society. Filmforum showcases alternative media that aims to inspire, enlighten, and empower, as well as to entertain. By featuring the underrepresented voices and visions of truly independent filmmakers, Filmforum exposes audiences to the full range of artistic expression, cultural perspectives, and critical inquiry. Filmforum facilitates cross-cultural dialogue by collaborating with other arts organizations to bring alternative media into traditionally underserved communities and to bring work from those communities to its regular venue. This geographically-diverse, multi-site programming also encourages shared audiences among arts organizations. Filmforum encourages the production of diverse independent media art. Through its eclectic series of in-person screenings and workshops, Filmforum provides the inspiration, models, and information necessary for the production and distribution of new work by local and emerging artists. Filmforum champions the dual imperatives of aesthetic and cultural diversity as necessary components for 1) enriching the art form and 2) assuring inclusive, democratic participation in social discourse. Filmforum provides valuable exposure for local artists. Its high-profile “First Sight Scene” screenings and pot-luck parties create a supportive and socially congenial environment for recently-completed films by Southern California-based artists to be seen and discussed. Filmforum also has long histories of cooperation with educational institutions in southern california, to arrange multiple appearances and workshops from visiting artists, We regularly coordinate with USC, UCLA, California Institute of the Arts, Otis College of Art & Design, Art Center College of Design.
2c. Exhibition / Programming / Publishing History.: 
Programming has included eclectic series of historical and contemporary work, with many in-person presentations by local and visiting artists and activists. Over the past 30 years, Filmforum has initiated numerous collaborative projects with other community/arts organizations across the city, co-presenting work at such venues at KAOS Network, Self-Help Graphics, Beyond Baroque, The Central Library, the L.A. Municipal Gallery, the Museum of Contemporary Art, The Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities, UCLA, The Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum, the LA International Gay & Lesbian Film and Video Festival, the LA International Asian Pacific Film and Video festival, the L.A. Festival, as well as smaller community centers and commercial theatres. Some programming highlights are: In Spring 1993 Filmforum and the Getty Center presented “Urban Activism: Notions of a New L.A.,” a city-wide series of screenings and panel discussions about the process of rebuilding the city, from the perspectives of community leaders and under-recognized voices. In Fall 1993, Filmforum produced “Dirty Movies: A Peak at the Underground from the 60’s to the 90’s.” This series of rarely seen films and videos were enormously popular, attracting a large audience of newcomers to contemporary media arts and its historical antecedents. Finally, Filmforum’s “Scratching the Belly of the Beast: Cutting-Edge Media in Los Angeles, 1922-94” festival in Winter 1994 was an unprecedented celebration of the rich tradition of alternative media in Southern California. Including 27 evenings of screenings, tributes, and roundtable discussions over seven weeks, this city-wide festival was guest0curated by a diverse committee and co-presented by the Getty Center for the History of Art and the humanities, the Central Library, LA Municipal Gallery, MOCA, UCLA, and Beyond Baroque. The festival’s catalog included key historical and critical essays, providing the first substantial study of the role of alternative media in the capital of the commercial film and entertainment industry. Most recently we presented a series of shows with the UCLA Film & Television Archive called "The Most Typical Avant-Garde" in conjunction with the bok by David James of the same time, highlighting the history of avant-garde film in Los Angeles. Currently we are in the midst of a series throughout 2006 of screenings celebrating the 30th anniversary of Filmforum, including films made by people associated with Filmforum, shows curated by previous directors, recreations of screenings from the past, and special guest screenings. The past few years of programs may be found on our website at
Website Link to Exhibition / Programming / Publishing History:
Part 3.
3a. Names and email addresses of Founders, Board Members, Directors or other key individuals:: 
Terry Cannon
Additional Names and email addresses of Founders, Board Members, Directors or other key individuals: 
Richard Amromin
Additional Names and email addresses of Founders, Board Members, Directors or other key individuals: 
Jon Stout
Additional Names and email addresses of Founders, Board Members, Directors or other key individuals: 
Mark Rance
3b. Could any of these individuals assist in providing an oral history of your organization?: 
Part 4.
4a. Is organization currently active?: 
4b. Year activity suspended if no longer active.: 
Organization Still Active
Part 5.
5a. Type of organization at its founding.: 
Non-Profit [IRS certified]
5b. Type of organization currently, or at the termination of activities.: 
Non-Profit [IRS certified]
Part 6.
6a. Does the organization have an archive?: 
6b. Are there any short or long-term threats to the organization?: 
Fiscal endangerment of organization
6c. Other threats to the organization:: 
Are there other threats to your organization? Please describe below.
Part 7.
Space concerns as well
7a. How important is to the organization to preserve the organization’s historical material. From 1 – Very Important to 5 – Not Important.: 
1. Very Important
7b. Has planning for the preservation and documentation of archive begun?: 
7c. Does the organization know how and where to seek expertise and assistance?: 
7d. Does the organization have specific concerns regarding starting an archive working with its historic materials?: 
Drain on Existing Staff Time
Part 8.
8a. Is the organization's archives in the collection of another institution or promised to one?: 
8a. Location: 
University of Southern California Library of Cinema-Television. The archives from Terry Cannon and Richard Amromin are already there. Materials from later periods are currently stored either by myself (Adam Hyman) or at the studio of a board member (Jesse Lerner) with plans to send most of it over to the USC Library. The effort to set up a Filmforum archive at USC was initiated by David James, who is a faculty member in the Critical Studies Department at USC, author of The Most Typical Avant-Garde: A History and Geography of Minor Cinemas in Los Angeles, and a Filmforum board member. But I am several months overdue in getting the materials from my own storage moved to USC, and not quite certain which materials to retain for active Filmforum needs.
8b. Archival materials are also located at:: 
Where are these locations?: 
Some stored with a current board member. Please see the answer to 8a.
Part 9.
9. Does the organization maintain archives for any other organization.: 
IF YES to 9: 10a. Please describe:
Part 10a.
10a. Is the archive accessible to scholars, curators or researchers?: 
Part 10b.
10b. Are there conditions of access for scholars, curators or researchers?: 
Part 11.
The following questions address the historical materials (type, quantity and storage) of the organization. 11a. Paper Files and Documents: 
Artist Files
Board Minutes
Exhibition or Production Files
Financial Records
By-laws / Incorporation Documents
Other Paper Files
11b. Artwork and Documentation: 
Audiotapes [Any Format]
Unique Art Objects
Other Artwork
11c. Press and Promotional Materials: 
Announcements, Mailing Cards, etc.
Newspaper / Magazine / Media Clippings
Posters / Flyers
Program notes
11d. Printed Publications: 
Programs of Events
Catalogues from a couple of series: Andy Warhol Weekend Scratching the Belly of the Beast
Part 12.
12. What years does the materials cover?: 
Part 13.
13a. How is the material stored?: 
Banker Boxes
Other Boxes
Three-Ring Binders
13b. Are some or all of these storage units “archival”?: 
Part 14.
14a. Estimated Number of Boxes or Milk-Crate Sized Storage Units: 
21 - 30
14b. Estimated Number of Archive Drawers: 
14c. Estimated Number of Archive Notebooks: 
21 - 30
14d. Estimated the total Linear Feet. ["Linear Feet" is standard measure of the quantity of archival materials on the basis of shelf space occupied or the length of drawers in vertical files or the thickness of horizontally filed materials. For example, a: 
81 - 90
Part 15.
15. Is the historical materials - or archives - inventoried or catalogued in any way, either formally or otherwise?: 
Part 16.
16a. Is there a key, index or finding aid to the materials inventoried?: 
16b. Paper-based:: 
Not Applicable
16c. Electronic Based:: 
Not Applicable
Part 16 / Electronic Files & Archival Management
16f. Does the organization have a back-up program, or back-up schedule, for its electronic records and perform monitoring of its removable media (i.e. floppies, ZIP disks, CD-ROMs, DVDs, portable hard drives, etc.)?: 
16g. Who is responsible for working with the archival material?: 
Other - Please describe below.
Please describe: 
Me, volunteers, and people at the USC Cinema-TV Library
Part 17.
17. How are new materials processed?: 
No System
Part 18.
18. What, if any, conservation methods are in place for both physical materials and electronic data?: 
None or Limited
Part 19.
19. What type of climate-controls are present in the area[s] in which the archives are stored?: 
Limited climate-controls
Some material climate controlled at USC; others have no climate control (my apartment, etc)
Part 20.
20a. What are the goals for the historical materials for the next year?: 
Transfer remaining materials to USC School of Cinema-Television Library
20b. What are the biggest challenges to reaching these short-term goals?: 
Staffing - Lack of time for me to go through the files
20c. What goals are in place for the historical materials for the next three to five years?: 
Get them all organized at USC and available to scholars
20d. What are the biggest challenges to reaching these long term goals?: 
Staff or volunteer time
20e. Are there any additional goals for the organizations historic materials?: 
Sell extra copies of old catalogues
Part 21.
21. Estimated cost to achieve these archival goals for the next year.: 
$2,001 - $3,000
Part 22.
22. Estimated cost to achieve these archival goals for the next five years.: 
$4,000 - $5,000
Part 24.
24. What archival issues could / should visual arts organizations address collectively in the next three to five years? Ranked from 1 (highest priority) to 5 (lowest priority).24a. Shared standards / protocols for digitization: 
Promote professional standards / protocols for digitization
Part 25.
25a. Is the organization a member of, or in contact with, any organizations concerned with archival issues?: 
25b. Who?: 
University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television Library UCLA Film & Television Archives Anthology Film Archives
Part 26.
26. Additional information, comments, observations, and questions.: 
I would like to obtain advice about which materials can safely be deposited at USC, where it will be less convenient, and which materials I should hold onto for ready access in the Filmforum office. Also, oversize scanners woudl be very useful, even ones that can be shared among organizations. No other comments at this time.
Los Angeles Filmforum
Who executed this survey.: 
Adam Hyman, Executive Director
Is this survey complete and all appropriate questions answered?: