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Bruce Baillie (1931 – 2020)

Posted April 10th, 2020 in News / Events

Canyon Cinema mourns the passing of its founding filmmaker, Bruce Baillie, who brought to life exceptional works of film art and a thriving cinema counterculture. Beginning in the late 1950s, Baillie created a vagabond, romantic, first-person filmmaking style that continues to enchant and influence new generations drawn to the artistic possibilities of the 16mm film medium. A wandering poet, Baillie was also an inveterate community builder.

From the 1961 backyard screenings of films by Baillie and friends emerged two essential institutions of American independent filmmaking: San Francisco Cinematheque and the Canyon Cinema Co-op. Baillie died Friday, April 10th at his home on Camano Island, Wash. He was 88. He is survived by his wife Lorie, and children Keith and Wind. Lorie is accepting donations to help with end-of-life costs via PayPal to tullylour58(at) .

Baillie believed in being together, and we look forward to celebrating his life and work in person, face to face, whenever we are able. For now we leave you with a poem he shared with Canyon over voicemail in 2015. It is about one of his family’s chickens, Maggie, who had just died.

Heaven-bound, our dear Maggie
The skin of her chicken-hood
A constitutional barrier of the abyss
In other words, she’s graduating,
like many of us, or perhaps all of us
and, as she walks in her current skin
(which becomes the scheme)
that is a barrier to her passing to perfection

To find out more about Baillie’s life and work read his New York Times obituary, written by J. Hoberman

Washington Post obituary, April 12, 2020

Artforum obituary, April 11, 2020

still from Valentin De Las Sierras (1968) by Bruce Baillie