NEWSLETTER – March 5, 1993

March 5, 1993

The Film-Makers’ Cooperative
175 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10016

Written by David Gearey
With M.M. Serra

ROYALTIES/DUES It is time to pay 1993 dues. Please send your check to the Co-op. It will help to pay necessary operating expenses. While we have been paying due royalties to film-makers for more than 3 years, the Cooperative itself continues to operate at a deficit. Members who are receiving a check now have had their dues subtracted.

NEW COMPOSITION. The recent elections have introduced three new members to the Board of Directors: James Smith, Karen Kramer, and Joel Schlemowitz, and they have all, energetically, begun working for the Co-op. James Smith will be Treasurer and Joel Schlemowitz, Secretary. They join Greg Anton, Larry Gottheim, Saul Levine, M.M. Serra, and Robert Huot, who continues, resolutely, as Vice President. Dave Gearey has been elected President. Larry Gottheim, who has guided the Co-op since 1991 has resigned as President but has, thankfully, agreed to continue his work as a member of the Board. The Co-op expresses its gratitude to Larry for his vision, commitment and clarity of purpose during these last two difficult years.

MESSAGE. The Co-op is an audacious idea, alive in an impossible time. In what sometimes appears to be capitalist honey-moon-land, that an organization operating as a cooperative run by artists could not only be born but go on for 30 years – longer, I might add, than many ‘successful’ corporations – that is a rich ideal! And in a time of judgment and critique, of divisiveness, isolation and fragmentation and post-pre-modernism, that the cooperative continually re-asserts non-judgmental inclusion, that represents value without price. But let me echo some of Larry’s thoughts from previous newsletters, and I’m sure, from numerous Board members in the past. This vision doesn’t exist because it’s a good idea; it exists because of co-operation by small numbers of people who have acted on what needs to be done. The Film-Makers’ Cooperative represents an evolving form of human energy. We, and I mean all of us, are continuing to undergo change and we need the membership to help with that change. Members, myself included, often treat the Co-op as a fixture, perhaps because it’s a necessary one: but necessity doesn’t predict survival. Independent Film and Video has been and is a true ‘underground’ activity. We are like moving peptides, operating through the nervous system of a culture, alive in an unconscious state.

But this co-operative will continue only with co-operation.
We want to continue during this time when other Artist-run organizations are disappearing. We want to re-animate the vision and become financially viable. To do this, we need support, patience, ideas and scrub-the-floor kinds of hard work.

Right now, we need volunteers to help prepare for the Benefit Fund Raiser, on Monday, April 26, at TWO BOOTS Restaurant. We need volunteers to make telephone calls for Ads in the Catalogue # 7 Supplement. We need someone to organize our archive of books, magazines and posters. We need to upgrade our computer system: a programmer to help us do this. We need a FAX machine and a Xerox machine. We need new lights in the film storage area. And more. Please call Serra at (212) 889 – 3820 to offer what you can. We need a supportive and working membership.

TAX EXEMPTION. Having been denied our 501 (c) (3), Federal Tax Exemption Status last July, because we were not considered to be an educational organization and for other reasons which we believe are clearly arguable. We have appealed through the lawyer from Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, Ralph Walters, who is representing our interests. He has put a great deal of thought and time into formulating a brief which will strongly support our position and which we all desperately hope will find favorable ears from the IRS. We thank him for his efforts on our behalf.

ACCOUNTING in order to facilitate our overdue financial reports, James Smith is working with Matt McKennon and M.M. Serra to organize our in-house bookkeeping procedures and begin an accounting department. In line with this, Serra, who has been indefatigable in her management and support for the Co-op, has been seeking ways to reduce office expenses and costs.

is being prepared and we are trying to use this rare occasion to sell ads, similar to those in the rear of Catalogue
# 7, in order to cover costs. We need help. If you are teaching Film or Video, can you get the school to buy an ad or honor the Co-op with a tribute ? Do you know of a Film/Video organization or company that might benefit from an ad ? If you are an effective salesperson, will you make calls for us? Let us know. A rate sheet is being enclosed for your use.

THE MoMA TRIBUTE in celebration of the Co-op’s 30th year anniversary was a great success. The eight programs, selected by MoMA’s film curator Jytte Jensen, were very well attended and the Co-op received valuable recognition in the press for the role we play in independent, avant-garde film distribution. The FMC expresses its gratitude to MoMA’s Film Department for this outstanding Tribute.

SCREENING AT FILM CHARAS. Film Charas is planning to celebrate the existence of the Co-op by screening a series of summer programs with works from as many film-makers as possible. They are working out the details and we plan to kick-off the event with a benefit pizza and entertainment party at TWO BOOTS restaurant and end it with another benefit in the Fall, at the conclusion of the series. Volunteers to help us with these benefits are urgently needed.

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