Mission

The New American Cinema Group / Film-Makers' Cooperative (NACG) was founded in 1961 for the distribution of avant-garde film.

It is the first artist-run organization devoted to the dissemination of moving image art. Artists and estates maintain creative control of their works as we are a non-contractual, non-exclusive, membership based, non-profit group.

NACG is a research center for film scholars and media makers, a digitzation and preservation center for all formats of moving image art, as well as ensuring access to its collection via a screening room and digital streaming. We also foster the production of new art work via sponsorships and residencies.

NACG's extensive archive is readily accessible to international art and cultural institutions who value the collection as a vital resource. Intrinsic to our policy of non-exclusivity is our mission to provide visibility for works of art from all cultural, gender, and ethnic backgrounds.

Activities

NACG distributes, archives and promotes non-commercial artists' cinema and maintains a film and paper archive accessible to researchers to promote the collection through a searchable web catalogue and screenings.

NACG has published Sarah Markgraf’s book “I Was a Flawed Modernist” on filmmaker Paul Sharits. With MIAP, we received a NFPF grant to preserve Stan Vanderbeek’s early pioneering computer graphics.

NACG uses the digital streaming service FANDOR for online distribution of select works in our collection. We participate in panel discussions at media festivals and universities in the U.S. and abroad.

NACG conducts an annual public screening of new works in the collection called “New Year, New Works”.  NACG has developed varioous programs with exhibition venues such as The Victoria and Albert Museum, Fondazione Prada, Centre Pompidou, Anthology Film Archives, Howl!, MoMA, and MoMI. We offer affordable media workshops.

History

The New American Cinema Group, Inc. (NACG) was founded on July 14, 1961 as a membership cooperation by a group of 22 New York artists, including Jonas Mekas, Shirley Clarke, Ken and Flo Jacobs, Andy Warhol, and Jack Smith. The Film-Makers’ Cooperative is a division of the NACG and continues to be its operational name.

For the first two decades, the NACG operated as a for-profit membership distribution center.

In 1981, under the leadership of Margery Keller the NACG expanded its mission to include educational, artistic, and literary activities, i.e. film screenings, workshops, seminars, book publications, and so on. In addition to analog film, the NACG now also distributed video and digital media.

In 1993, under Executive Director MM Serra the NACG was finally granted non-profit status. With this new standing, the NACG began archiving and preserving older film and video work for the benefit of future prosperity.

In the 2000s, Board President Gregg Biermann introduced the NACG’s ongoing effort to digitize the vast archive consisting of more than 5000 films by over 1000 media makers.

Among the artists in the collection are Maya Deren, Marie Menken, Jonas Mekas, Michael Snow, Carolee Schneemann, Peggy Ahwesh, Stan Brakhage, Ken and Flo Jacobs.

Read the original history written by one of its founders - Jonas Mekas

Charles S. Cohen

I WAS IN A POSITION TO HELP, AND I THOUGHT THAT I SHOULD. THEY ARE A WONDERFUL GROUP DOING IMPORTANT WORK, AND THERE IS NO OTHER PLACE TO GO AND SEE THIS KIND OF THING. THEY NEEDED A STORAGE SPACE FOR THEIR ARCHIVES, AND THIS MEETS THEIR NEEDS.”

The Film-Makers’ Coop / New American Cinema Group is very grateful to our benefactor, Charles S. Cohen, whose generous support allows us to thrive in New York City. Our on-location screening room has been named in his honor.

Board of Directors

Gregg Biermann

Co-President

Often working with footage from Hollywood classics like THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939), REAR WINDOW(1954), NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959), and others, Biermann’s work takes advantage of the possibilities of digital cinema to advance rigorous compositional strategies.

His recent The Age of Animals (2014) is an unsettling, and dizzying lament on the end of animal life of planet Earth. “As a whole, Gregg Biermann’s recent work suggests a sense of the overwhelming in a historical moment in which we are disoriented visually, sonically, socially, politically, and even biologically. It reflects and refracts the sense that, even as we attempt to make sense of the contemporary world, it continues to shift, becoming a foreign and unfamiliar territory.

In Biermann’s work, as in contemporary life, our landmarks are constantly shifting, forcing us to find new ways of locating ourselves in a spatial and temporal situation that is ever slipping beyond our mind’s grasp.”-- Jaimie Baron. Gregg Biermann is Co-President of the New American Cinema Group/Filmmakers Cooperative in New York and is Professor of Cinema Studies at Bergen Community College in New Jersey and has also taught film history and analysis at NYU Tisch School of the Arts.

Kat Bauer

Co-President

Kat works within the photochemical arts particularly 16mm film expanding its material potential into performance, photography, and sculpture. Her films address themes of decay and eroticism both in their subjects and in the hand processing techniques she uses to create her images.

Katherine received a BA from Bard College where she majored in Film and Electronic Arts and a MFA from NYU in Studio Art. She has taught at NYU and workshops at Bard College amongst other institutions. Her work has been shown in a variety of venues and galleries. Recently she has performed or shown work at The Knitting Factory, Anthology Film Archives, Millennium Film Workshop, Microscope Gallery, The Knockdown Center, Museum of the Moving Image of Queens, NY, and The Pompidou Center in Paris. She is represented by Microscope Gallery and her films are available for rent from The Film-Makers Cooperative in New York City.

Richard Sylvarnes

Vice-President

Richard Sylvarnes is an artist that works in the mediums of photography, film, and music. HIs work has been shown internationally at museums, galleries, clubs, performance spaces and cinemas.

In 2009 he received a Creative Capital Grant to work with the four-time Bessie Award winning choreographer David Neumann on a work titled “Big Eater” that premiered at the Kitchen in 2010. In 2008, he was nominated for a Rockefeller Renew Media Fellowship. His first feature film, “The Cloud Of Unknowing”, premiered in the International Dramatic Feature Competition at the inaugural Tribeca Film Festival in 2002 continuing on in festivals throughout Asia and Europe and was released by Possible Films in 2004. “Here Comes Everybody”, his second feature, also premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in the NYNY Narrative Competition in 2006.

Richard has made music under various monikers including Sylvarluxe, Zero Times Everything, and the Underworld Oscillator Corporation. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology and has studied film making at New York University, music at Berklee College of Music, and art at the School of Visual Arts. He has been a guest Lecturer at Harvard University.

G. Anthony Svatek

Treasurer

G. Anthony Svatek makes nonfiction film that examine humans’ relationship with the natural and urban environments. Having grown up at the foot of the Austrian Alps, he is deeply awed by the living world, landscapes and how people’s awareness of nature is changing through increasingly urban-techno experiences.

For his films, Anthony has been supported by the New York State Council on the Arts and The Austrian Cultural Forum in New York. Amongst other venues he has screened at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival, and Mono No Aware. Anthony collaborated with filmmaker Jessica Oreck for several years at Myriapod Productions, staffed at the Flaherty Film Seminar and freelanced at BBC World News. He’s been a devoted volunteer at the American Museum of Natural History. www.svatekfilm.com

Amanda Katz

Secretary

Amanda Katz is a filmmaker drawing upon documentary, experimental, and performative modes to explore the intersection of the public and private, paying special attention to the way the built environment frames everyday life. Her films have received grants from institutions such as the New York State Council On The Arts and The Austrian Cultural Forum in New York.

She works professionally as a Film Editor, and has taught Media Studies at Hunter College and 16mm filmmaking at the Mono No Aware workshops. Amanda’s shown work at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, DOCNYC, and Antimatter Media Art amongst others, and she’s currently an MFA candidate in Integrated Media Arts at Hunter College. www.akatzfilm.com

Rachael Guma

Rachael Guma is a filmmaker and sound artist currently living and working in Brooklyn, New York. She has proudly served on the board of the Film-maker’s Cooperative since 2014. Through her experiments with Super 8 film and analog sound, Rachael strives to create an engaging live viewing experience that embraces the idiosyncratic qualities of technology, while maintaining a hand- crafted approach to her output.

Since graduating from the San Francisco Art Institute, her films have screened at the San Francisco Cinematheque, RX Gallery, Mono No Aware, Northern Flickers, UnionDocs, AXWFF, Black Maria, Echo Park Film Center and Microscope Gallery where she was invited to present her first solo show in 2013. In 2016-2017, Rachael participated in Dreamlands: Expanded, a series of expanded cinema events organized by Microscope Gallery in collaboration with the Whitney Museum of American Art as part of the exhibition “Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema & Art, 1905-2016”. In this series, she provided live sound and additional visual support for a re-staging of Kurt Schwerdtfeger's 1922 “Reflektorische Farblichtspiele” (Reflecting Color-Light- Play), premiered a film, light, and sound composition REDNOWWONDER, and performed as part of The Owl Flies at Twilight with Optipus.

Collaboration is integral to Rachael's creative process. As a member of Optipus Film Collective, she has performed live foley and record manipulations at the Kitchen, Participant Gallery, 2011 Index Festival, Roulette, the Museum of Art and Design (MAD), Morbid Anatomy Museum, Transient Visions, and Unseen Cinema. Rachael plays theremin for the sound collective, Underworld Oscillator Corporation, most recently performing a live score for the silent film version of The Phantom of the Opera (1925). She is also a founding member of the liquid light projection group, A Clockface Orange.

Her teaching experience includes introducing avant-garde film to at-risk teens at Reel Works, artist visits at Brooklyn College, Pratt Institute and Sarah Lawrence, animation, sound for film and theremin workshops at the Children's Museum of the Arts, and the ongoing Super 8mm workshops for Mono No Aware.

Coleen Fitzgibbons

Secretary

is an experimental film artist who worked under the pseudonym “Colen Fitzgibbon” between the years 1973-1980. A student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Whitney Independent Study Program, she studied with Owen Land (aka “George Landow”), Stan Brakhage, Yvonne Rainer, Carolee Schneemann, Vito Acconci, and worked on film projects for Dennis Oppenheim, Gordon Matta- Clark and Les Levine.

She formed the collaborative X&Y with Robin Winters in 1976, The Offices of Fend, Fitzgibbon, Holzer, Nadin, Prince and Winters in 1979, and is best known for co-founding the New York based Collaborative Projects, Inc. (Colab) in 1977 through 1981, along with artists Kiki Smith, Jenny Holzer, Liza Bear, Betsy Sussler and Tom Otterness, among others. Fitzgibbon has screened her work at numerous international film festivals and museums, including The Toronto International Film Festival 2009, Museum of Modern Art, EXPRMNTL 5 at Knokke-Heist, Belgium, Institute of Contemporary Art, London, Anthology Film Archives, Collective For Living Cinema, and Millennium Film Workshop. Fitzgibbon currently resides in New York City and Montana.

Melissa Friedling

is a filmmaker, writer, and educator. Her creative work has been selected for numerous international festivals and has also been presented in galleries and museums including PS1 MoMA (NY,NY), Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center (Buffalo, NY), The Athens Institute for Contemporary Art (Athens, GA), and Apex Art (NY,NY). She has been an artist in residence at the International Studio and Curatorial Program (NY, NY), a Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum School Programs Guest Artist, and is the recipient of a Fulbright Award and artist’s grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the New York State Council for the Arts.

In 2006, she also founded her own web video production company, Slouch Productions. In addition, her writing on film, art, and culture has been published widely including essays in Flash Art International, Afterimage, and Discourse and a book, Recovering Women: Rhetoric, Feminisms, and Addiction (Westview Press, 2000). She has been teaching courses in film and video production and aesthetics at the New School since 2004 and has also taught at The Pratt Institute, Hunter College, and Syracuse University. PhD, U. of Iowa.

Anne Hanavan

is a Filmmaker, Writer, Performance Artist and Lead singer of the Multi Media Performance Troupe: Transgendered Jesus. Hanavan uses her body as the subject in a series of video self portraits where the artist aggressively confronts her past in a frenzy state of cathartic self expression.

MM Serra

Executive Director

is an experimental film/videomaker who has produced, directed, and edited more than fourteen works. Her own work, as well as her curated programs, have been screened at the Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of the Moving Image in New York; The Centre Georges Pompidou and the Cinematheque Francaise in Paris; the London Film Festival, Oberhausen International Short Film Festival and the Dresden Film Fest in Germany. Serra has been the Executive Director of the Film-Makers’ Cooperative in New York City since 1991 and has curated several exhibition programs in New York and Europe.

Board of Advisers

Philip Glass

is an American composer. One of the highest profile composers writing “classical” music today, he is often said to be one of the most influential musicians of the late 20th century. Beyond his operas, symphonies, and compositions, Glass has had a long standing interest in the “mating of sound and vision”. He has collaborated with numerous artists and film-makers, writing music for experimental theater and for Academy Award-winning motion pictures.

Jonas Mekas

is a Lithuanian-born American filmmaker, writer, and curator who has often been called “the godfather of American avant-garde cinema. His work has been exhibited in museums and festivals across Europe and America.

Ken and Flo Jacobs

are both artists. Florance is a painter and collaborator with Ken, who has been making avant-garde films since the mid fifties. Ken is the director of Tom, Tom, The Piper’s Son (1969, USA), and Star Spangled to Death (2004, USA), a nearly seven hour film consisting largely of found footage.

Lynne Sachs

Lynne Sachs makes films, installations, performances and web projects that explore the intricate relationship between personal observations and broader historical experiences by weaving together poetry, collage, painting, politics and layered sound design. Strongly committed to a dialogue between cinematic theory and practice, she searches for a rigorous play between image and sound, pushing the visual and aural textures in her work with every new project.  Between 1994 and 2006, she produced five essay films that took her to Vietnam, Bosnia, Israel, Italy and Germany — sites affected by international war – where she looked at the space between a community’s collective memory and her own subjective perceptions.

Recently, after 25 years of making experimental documentaries, Sachs learned something that turned her filmmaking upside down. While working on Your Day is My Night (2013) in NYC’s Chinatown, she realized that her subjects were performing for the camera rather than revealing something completely candid about their lives. The process of recording guaranteed that some aspect of the project would be artificial. This moved Sachs toward a new type of filmmaking — she invited her subjects to become her collaborators — to work with her to make the film about their lives.  This new way of “working with reality” has inspired Sachs to present Your Day is My Night (2013) as well as Every Fold Matters (2016) as live film performances in alternative venues around New York City -- including homeless shelters, labor union headquarters and laundromats as well as small non-commercial theaters. In 2017, she completed her newest experimental documentary Tip of My Tongue which was supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship in the Creative Arts and premiered as the closing night film in the Museum of Modern Art’s Documentary Fortnight.

Sachs has made over 25 films. Her films have screened at the New York Film Festival, the Sundance Film Festival and Toronto’s Images Festival amongst others. They have also been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney, Walker Art Center, Wexner Center for the Arts and other venues nationally and internationally. The Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema, Festival International Nuevo Cine in Havana and the China Women’s Film Festival have all presented retrospectives of Sachs’ films.

Since 2006, Sachs has collaborated with her partner, filmmaker Mark Street, in a series of playful, mixed-media performances called “The XY Chromosome Project”. Lynne holds an MFA in Film from the San Francisco Art Institute, an MA in Cinema from San Francisco State University, and a BA in History from Brown University. She has taught at New York University, Princeton, Hunter College, The New School, and the University of California, Berkeley.
www.lynnesachs.com

Jim Hubbard

is an experimental filmmaker and the founder and president of MIX – the New York Lesbian and Gay Experimental Film/Video Festival. Under the auspices of the Estate Project for Artists with AIDS, he created the Royal S. Marks AIDS Activist Video Collection at the New York Public Library. He coordinates the ACT UP Oral History Project, funded by the Ford Foundation and by grants from the Gesso Foundation, the Gill Foundation, the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation and the Phil Zwickler Memorial & Charitable Trust. The project is a collection of interviews with surviving members of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power.

Bill Morrison

New York-based filmmaker and artist, best known for his experimental collage film Decasia (2002). He is a member of Ridge Theater and the founder of Hypnotic Pictures. He attended Reed College 1983-85, and graduated from Cooper Union School of Art in 1989.

Jeffrey Deitch

is a dealer in modern and contemporary art and an art advisor to private and institutional art collectors. He is also an art writer and exhibition organizer. Prior to opening his own art advisory firm in 1988, Mr. Deitch was a Vice President of Citibank where he spent nine years developing and managing the bank’s art advisory and art finance businesses.

Jack Waters

has, with his partner Peter Cramer, created works in video, film, performance and visual art since 1984. As co-director of Abc No Rio, he and his colleagues perpetuated an aesthetic of raw, spontaneous eclecticism that greatly influenced the arts, contemporary to the period of the 80s. He co-curated, with Leslie Lowe, the Naked Eye Cinema, a primary venue for women and LBGTG media artists. A founding contributing writer to NYC Gay City News, Waters’ articles have appeared in many other publications. He was Assistant Professor of Video at Hampshire College from 2001 – 2004.

Bradley Eros

is artist, experimental filmmaker, mediamystic, maverick curator, sound collage, photographer, expanded cinema,performance, writer & poet, nomadic teacher and private investigator—initiating, exhibiting, & curating at a multitude of ephemeral spaces and long-lasting venues, from micro-cinemas & storefronts to galleries & museums.

His work includes intimate collaborations with Aline Mare (Erotic Psyche), Jeanne Liotta (Mediamystics), the Alchemical Theatre, Circle X, and kinoSonik.; intense research with Jeanne Liotta on the films of Joseph Cornell. He has created dozens of ‘zines, posters, soundtracks, unique artist’s books, and film performances in the unfixed universe of ephemeral cinema.

 

Facilities

Charles S. Cohen Screening Room

  • Open by appointment
  • The FMC/NACG is in an expansive 2000 square foot space that includes a climate-controlled archive, a study center library, and the Charles S. Cohen Screening Room. Newly installed and improved windows, sprinkler and alarm systems, lighting systems, carpeting, wheelchair accessible bathrooms, and new theater seating thanks to our benefactor Charles S. Cohen, provide the perfect atmosphere for researching experimental filmmaking. Our 30-seat, wheelchair accessible screening room is available to rent by appointment for researchers, educational institutions, and general audiences, and includes access to 16mm, Super-8mm, 8mm, BluRay, DVD, VHS, and digital projection equipment.
  •  Click here for some photos of the facilities

Facility rentals

Charles S. Cohen Screening Room: rental price range from $35 to $50 per hour. To schedule a screening, a visit, or for further information, email filmmakerscoop@gmail.com or call (212) 267-5665.

 

 

Founders & Founding Goals

As stated in the Certificate of Incorporation - July 1961.

Our goals are:

  • To encourage the development of a new cinema which reflects the highest ethical and aesthetic standards.
  • To combat all forms of film censorship and licensing and all forms of interference in the making of motion pictures.
  • To initiate and promote the development of methods of film financing, distribution and exhibiting.

Shirley Clarke

Born October 2, 1919 in New York, Shirley Brimberg Clarke danced into the world of art in her teens, studying with such innovative choreographers as Martha Graham, Hanya Holm and Doris Humphrey. She remains a pivotal pioneer of avant-garde film.

Robert Breer

Breer was best known for his abstract films and animation. His mechanical cinema works, flip books, rotoscopes and representational paintings were the foundation for NYC avant-garde animation.

Peter Kubelka

Kubelka was an Austrian experimental filmmaker, architect, musician, curator and lecturer. His films are primarily short experiments in linking seemingly disparate sound and images. He is best known for his 1966 avant-garde classic Unsere Afrikareise (Our Trip to Africa).

Kenneth Jacobs

Ken Jacobs has been working ceaselessly and boundlessly in film, video and moving image performance for over fifty years.
Stanley VanDerBeek

Edmund A. Emshwiller

Ed Emshwiller was one of the first video artists. He is renowned for his multimedia performances, experiments combining computer animation with live-action and 3-D computer-generated videos.

Staff

MM Serra
Executive Director


MM's mission is to increase and expand FMC's collection of over 5000 films/videos through screenings, publication and preservation of rare unique films unseen for decades.  In collaboration with IndieCollect, she has transferred over 250 16mm film prints into digital files. She coordinates educational workshops in diverse settings to encourage new media works.



Courtney Muller
Assistant to Director


Courtney programs FMC screenings and assists in archiving/cataloging the film and digital collection. She works with artist-members to create new programs and acquire new works. She designs and plans monthly newsletters and upcoming events. Courtney is FMC's in-house film technician and also manages social media outreach.



Sheldon Henderson
Digital Media Technician/Archivist


Sheldon's media responsibilities include color correction, archiving, and digital finishing and distribution of 5k 16mm film scans, as well as other formats.



Mary Billyou
Independent Fundraising Manager


Mary organizes FMC's annual benefit auction. Her responsibilities include artist outreach, processing and shipping artworks, and coordinating with the online auction house.



Coleen Fitzgibbon
Volunteer


Coleen helps organize educational workshops and benefit events.



Nicholas Swanton
Intern


Nick updates our website and researches artist-members. He aids with daily office tasks.