Shoot Shoot Shoot: The London Film-Makers' Co-Op

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The London Film-Makers’ Co-operative was founded 50 years ago in October 1966. Inspired by the example set by Jonas Mekas and his colleagues in New York, the LFMC grew from its beginnings as a film-viewing group for London’s intellectual counterculture to become one of the major centers of a worldwide network of avant-garde film culture. In contrast to similar organizations, the LFMC’s activity was not limited to distribution – within a few years it was also running a regular program in its own cinema and, most notably, democratized the means of production by establishing a film workshop in which filmmakers could control every stage of the creative process.

The work made in this supportive environment was diverse, though two tendencies came to dominate: structural/materialism and expanded cinema. The materialist qualifier that distinguished British work from American structural film refers both to Marxist philosophy and the physical presence of the medium that was foregrounded in the LFMC’s films. European expanded cinema largely eschewed the associations of psychedelia and expanded consciousness as formulated in Gene Youngblood’s 1970 book, EXPANDED CINEMA, and instead extended the formal exploration of film to the moment of its presentation. The term was used to describe a range of work including multi-screen films, live performances, and continuous installations that made innovative use of the mechanics of projection.

Filmmakers associated with the LFMC during its early years include Stephen Dwoskin, Malcolm Le Grice, Peter Gidal, Annabel Nicolson, Sally Potter, Anthony McCall, Lis Rhodes, Guy Sherwin, and John Smith. The organization survived in run-down premises, with little or no public funding, for more than thirty years until its forced dissolution and merger with London Electronic Arts. Since 2002, LUX has distributed the former LFMC collection and promoted its legacy alongside the work of contemporary film and video artists.

Curated by Mark Webber, “Shoot Shoot Shoot: The London Film-Makers’ Co-op” is presented by Anthology Film Archives in association with LUX, London.