Cinema 16

Cinema 16: Documents Toward History Of Film Society

Scott MacDonald
Copyright Date: 2002
Published by: Temple University Press
Pages: 488
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  • Book Info
    Cinema 16
    Book Description:

    As the most successful and influential film society in American history, Cinema 16 was a crucial organization for the creation of a public space for the full range of cinema achievement in the years following World War II. A precursor of the New York Film Festival, Cinema 16 screenings became a gathering place for New Yorkers interested not only in cinema, but in the use of media in the development of a more complete, effective democracy. For seventeen years, many of the leading intellectuals and artists of the time came together as part of a membership society of thousands to experience the creative programming of Cinema 16 director, Amos Vogel. What audiences saw at Cinema 16 changed their lives and had an enduring impact not only on the New York City cultural scene, but nationwide. Vogel's distribution of landmark documentary and avant-garde films helped make a place for many films that could never have had commercial release, given the pressures of commercialism and censorship during the postwar era.Vogel's commitment to the broadest range of cinema practice led him to develop a programming strategy, inherited from the European cine-club movement, that involved confronting audiences with such a wide range of cinematic forms that viewers left the theater considering not only the often remarkable films Vogel showed, but the place of Cinema itself in modern life.Cinema 16: Documents Toward a History of the Film Society is the first book on Cinema 16. Scott MacDonald provides a sense of the life and work of the society, using the complete Cinema 16 program announcements, selected letters between Vogel and the filmmakers whose films he showed; selections from the program notes that accompanied Cinema 16 screenings, theoretical essays by Vogel on curating independent cinema; conversations between MacDonald and Cinema 16 members; photographs and stills; and a variety of other documents.

    eISBN: 978-1-4399-0530-2
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-x)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-36)

    FROM THE END of 1947 until mid-1963, the New York City cultural scene was energized by Cinema 16, the most successful and influential membership film society in North American history. At its height, Cinema 16 boasted seven thousand members, who filled a sixteen-hundred-seat auditorium at the High School of Fashion Industries (in Manhattan’s garment district) twice a night, as well as two and sometimes three five-hundred-seat first-run theaters at various Manhattan locations, for monthly presentations. These audiences were presented with a very wide range of film forms, often programmed so as to confront—and sometimes to shock—conventional expectations. Amos...

  6. An Interview with Amos Vogel
    (pp. 37-62)
    Scott MacDonald and Amos Vogel

    I INTERVIEWED VOGEL in February and March 1983. An addendum was recorded in September 1995.

    Scott MacDonald:Tell me about your background, especially as it relates to film. Were you involved with film before you got to New York?

    Amos Vogel:I lived in Vienna from the beginning of my life (in 1921) until age seventeen. At age seven or so, I got a laterna magica, complete with color slides—just like Ingmar Bergman. I was entranced. Later (I must have been ten or eleven) my father bought me a home movie projector, 9.5 mm. It came from France. It...

  7. An Interview with Marcia Vogel
    (pp. 63-70)
    Scott MacDonald and Marcia Vogel

    MARCIA (DIENER) VOGEL was an equal partner in the founding of Cinema 16, and she remained an active partner throughout the film society’s existence. She advised and assisted Amos in all areas of Cinema 16’s operation, but her specialties included managing the film society’s finances and audience relations. When members were angry about films, she was often the first person they approached. I spoke with Marcia Vogel in January 1985.

    Scott MacDonald:Some years ago when I interviewed Karen Cooper, she said that two of the main inspirations for her Film Forum were “Amos and Marcia Vogel.” Usually Cinema 16...

  8. An Interview with Jack Goelman
    (pp. 71-76)
    Scott MacDonald and Jack Goelman

    JACK GOELMAN was Vogel’s paid assistant for many years. Goelman previewed films with Vogel. He had major input into the choice and arrangement of programs, and he was in charge of the projection at Cinema 16 screenings. I spoke with Goelman in February 1985.

    Scott MacDonald:How did you come to work for Amos at Cinema 16?

    Jack Goelman:I had read about Cinema 16 in the newspapers. Amos’s name was mentioned, and I thought I had known a guy by that name, so I attended one of the Provincetown showings. I saw Amos there and said hello. Then, later,...

  9. The Documents
    (pp. 77-438)
  10. Index
    (pp. 439-468)