Canyon Cinema Awarded NFPF Avant-Garde Masters Grant to Preserve Two Films by Michael Wallin

Posted October 17th, 2023 in Announcements, News / Events

Canyon Cinema is pleased to announce that we have received a National Film Preservation Foundation (NFPF) – Avant-Garde Masters grant to preserve two films by Bay Area filmmaker Michael Wallin. A pioneer in San Francisco’s queer avant-garde cinema scene, Wallin began making films in 1968 while studying under experimental film legend, and Canyon Cinema co-founder, Bruce Baillie. Along with the work of Barbara Hammer and James Broughton/Joel Singer, Wallin’s films bridged a gap between the issue- and identity-based New Queer Cinema, and the formalist experimental film practices of the time. His films broadened the scope of the autobiographical poetic cinematic form that made his work relevant to a range of communities. As a result, his films screened extensively in both avant-garde and LGBTQ+ programs and festivals internationally.   

For this project, Canyon will be preserving two of the films from Wallin’s “Psycho-Sexual Trilogy”: Decodings (1988), a poetic found-footage essay on remembrance and loss in the AIDS era, and Black Sheep Boy (1995), which takes the form of a deconstructed erotic fantasy invoking the work of queer film icons Kenneth Anger and Jean Genet. Together the films that comprise the “Psycho-Sexual Trilogy,” including 1975’s The Place Between Our Bodies, trace the development of a Bay Area filmmaker’s sexuality as a young gay man in his early 20s in the context of pre-AIDS LGBTQ+ culture in the 1970s, through the elegiac transformations of that culture; surviving the AIDS crisis that devastated his community in the 1980s; to a confrontation with his changing desires and fantasies in the post-AIDS queer culture of the mid-1990s.

Canyon Cinema Foundation will distribute the new 16mm prints created through this project. Enormous thanks to the NFPF, The Film Foundation, and Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation for funding.

For more on Wallin’s work, read Jon Davies’s essay “Michael Wallin: The World Is Full of Miracles” on Canyon Cinema Connects at:

For more information about the 2023 NFPF Avant-Garde Masters grant recipients, see: