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.
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.
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.
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
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 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.
Born in New York City in 1957, Tom Bessoir attended The Bronx High School of Science and studied electrical engineering and mathematics at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. While at The Cooper Union, he studied filmmaking with Robert Breer, Joshua Pines, and Sandy Moore.
Tom Bessoir’s experimental films often use mathematics to explore perception and the structure of film.
In the arts, Tom Bessoir is best known for Microfilm (1979), Digits of Pi (2019), and his photography documenting downtown NYC.
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.
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.
is an experimental filmmaker, curator, and scholar based in NY. My areas of interest include found materials and explorations of addiction and recovery in mass media. I am currently working on several projects and articles. My films have screened internationally at venues such as Microscope Gallery, UltraCinema, The New School and The Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival. I have presented at NYU Cinema Studies and curated screenings at The Film-Makers Coop and Maysles Cinema.
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 Advisors
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.
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.
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.
is Assistant Professor of English in Film and Media Studies at Amherst College. His research focuses on histories and theories of experimental cinema, with an emphasis on the postwar American avant-garde. Essays of his have appeared in such publications as Alternative Projections: Experimental Film in Los Angeles, 1945-1980 (John Libbey, 2015); The Global Sixties in Sound and Vision: Media, Counterculture, Revolt (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014); and the online journals Flow and World Records (forthcoming 2020). Since 2009, he has pursued curating as a manifestation of research, as well as a mode of cultural production. Film and video programs that he has curated or compiled have screened at venues such as Anthology Film Archives, Microscope Gallery, Balagan, University of Toronto, Magic Lantern Cinema, Le Petit Versailles, A.P.E. Gallery, and Pacific Film Archive. In 2019, he co-curated -- with Toby Lee -- an event series on world-making and documentary media produced in conjunction with World Records journal, with events occurring at UnionDocs: Center for Documentary Art and the Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies. He also makes films, working on 16mm. His short film, Rock Roll (2015), screened at such venues as Ann Arbor Film Festival, Light Field, Onion City Film and Video Festival, and A Good Night's Sleep. His dual-projection film, Circumambulations (2018) -- co-created with Andrew Ranville -- has screened at Microscope Gallery, Lausanne Underground Film and Music Festival, Revolutions Per Minute Festival, and the Film-Makers' Cooperative. He serves as an editor of Millennium Film Journal and a member of the International Advisory Committee for Archive/Counter-Archive.
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.
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.
lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She is the founder of Alfreda's Cinema, a bi-monthly film series at The Metrograph. Alfreda’s Cinema screens art house films that tell Black/POC stories, films that resonate the richness and culture of our history with depth and love. Our dynamics, our shapes, and our colors.
is the estate of Jonas Mekas, Lithuanian-American filmmaker, poet, and artist who has been called "the godfather of American avant-garde cinema" on many occasions. His work has been exhibited in museums and at festivals worldwide.
Sebastian is a cinematographer and actor, known for Jonas in the Jungle (2013), Notes on an American Film Director at Work (2008) and Belladonna (1989).
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.
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.
Joel Schlemowitz is an experimental filmmaker based in Brooklyn who works with 16mm film, shadowplay, magic lanterns, and stereographic media. He is the author of Experimental Filmmaking and the Motion Picture Camera: An Introductory Guide for Artists and Filmmakers (Focal Press/Routledge). His first feature film, 78rpm, is an experimental documentary about the gramophone. His short works have been shown at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, New York Film Festival, and Tribeca Film Festival and have received awards from the Chicago Underground Film Festival, The Dallas Video Festival, and elsewhere. Shows of installation artworks include Anthology Film Archives, Images Film Festival, and Microscope Gallery. He teaches experimental filmmaking at The New School, and was Resident Film Programmer and Arcane Media Specialist at the Morbid Anatomy Museum.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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).
Ken Jacobs has been working ceaselessly and boundlessly in film, video and moving image performance for over fifty years.
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.
MM Serra is an experimental filmmaker, curator, author, educator and the Executive Director of Film-Makers' Cooperative, the world's oldest and largest archive of independent media. Her first five films (NYC, 1985, Nightfall, 1984, Framed, 1984, PPI, 1986, Turner, 1987) were preserved and digitized by Anthology Film Archives Preservation series Re-Visions: American Experimental Film 1975-1990. The series “spotlights…the generation of experimental film artists who emerged after the final formation in 1975 of AFA’s Essential Cinema repertory screening cycle.” Anthology describes Serra’s five films as a “DIY Lower East Side spirit, but introduces a distinctive lyrical eroticism.” In 2015, Serra was awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts for Enduring Ornament and in 2016 Serra received a New York Council on the Arts for a new film titled Mary Magdalene that was exhibited at the NY Media Center in August 2017. In 2018 MM Serra gave the 9th Annual Experimental Lecture at NYU Cinema Studies, entitled Art(Core): The Films of MM Serra, and in 2019 her lecture was published by Frameworks Journal.
Serra presented a lecture and screening at the Louvre auditorium in Paris, France on December 1st, 2019. It was held as the Petit Galerie in the Louvre as part of their cycling exhibitions highlighting Renaissance artists such as DaVinci and Michelangelo. The exposition, “Figure d’artiste,” focused on the cinematographic self portrait found in documentary, experimental, and avant-garde film. Serra’s emphasis in the lecture,Visionaries: Self-portraits by experimental filmmakers Marie Menken, Storm de Hirsch, Carolee Schneemann and MM Serra, was on women, literature, and self-portraits in the avant-garde pantheon. Filmmakers and speakers included Raymond Bellour, Pip Chodorov, Ross McElwee, Boris Lehman, and Agnes Varda.
"M.M. Serra's writings on her practice are among the key theory writings I would recommend to any emerging scholar. She contextualizes her films within the concept of Art(Core) and links them to the history of the New York Avant-garde moment. She has developed this concept over multiple decades and still writing/presenting on it, Serra's research is an essential example of practice that is a lived in." - Devon Narine-Singh
Ian A. Adams
Ian works directly with the Executive Director on managing fiscal accounts, grant writing, fundraising, as well as generating new developmental projects for the Filmmakers' Coop.
DIGITAL MEDIA ARCHIVIST
Sheldon's media responsibilities include color correction, archiving, and digital finishing and distribution of 5k 16mm film scans, as well as other formats.
OUTREACH & MEMBERSHIP COORDINATOR
Julia heads outreach and marketing at the Filmmakers' Coop. She manages the FMC's social media accounts, weekly newsletter, and online store, engaging with the Coop's broader community of filmmakers and film lovers. She is also a member filmmaker, curator, and writer.