Film-Makers’ Cooperative Screenings

Film-Makers’ Cooperative Screenings

By 1962, Jonas Mekas began hosting Film-Makers’ Cooperative screenings at his loft at 414 Park Avenue South, between Twenty-Eighth and Twenty-Ninth Streets. “A normal evening at the Film-Makers’ Cooperative,” Mekas recalled, “you could see Allen Ginsberg, you could see Robert Frank, you could see Larry Rivers, you could see Bob Kaufman or Jack Smith—all the filmmakers, painters, or musicians. It was a mix, and not as separated as today. They were very close, they were using each other.” Mekas’s loft was the office of the Film-Makers’ Cooperative, a space lined with shelves of films and an old Moviola film-editing machine that Jonas slept under to save space. “It was also the office of Film Culture magazine,” he recalled, “and then we built a space with a screen that was good enough for twenty people or so. Every evening, filmmakers used to bring their own films and friends to check what they did just a few days ago. It was very, very active. The low-budget or no-budget filmmakers stuck together because they had nothing to lose and nowhere to go. Nobody wanted to distribute our films, but here we had our own distribution center. The rule was, no film was rejected. The film, good or bad, is your ticket.”

From Chapter 2 of The Downtown Pop Underground — order online, or from a local independent bookstore


Film-Makers’ Cooperative
414 Park Ave S, New York, NY 10016