Unseen Cinema Collection


UNSEEN CINEMA: EARLY AMERICAN AVANT-GARDE FILM 1894-1941 is the groundbreaking retrospective that explores long-forgotten American experimental films made in the United States and Europe during the formative period of cinema.

The UC Digital Collection consists of hundreds of newly re-mastered digital files preserved and restored from 16mm and 35mm film prints including unique 2K and 4K digital restorations of the select masterworks: MANHATTA (1921), BALLET MECHANIQUE (1924), TWENTY-FOUR DOLLAR ISLAND (1925), and SERGEI EISENSTEIN'S MEXICAN FOOTAGE (1932).

Viewed as a whole or by single titles, the series postulates an innovative and often controversial view of cinema as a product of avant-garde artists, of professional directors, of radical political activists, and of amateur movie-makers working collectively and as individuals at all levels of film production during the last decade of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century.

Sixty of the world's leading film archive collections cooperated with Filmmakers Showcase to bring a much-neglected period of rare cinema history back to life for modern audiences. Many of the films have not been available since their creation, some have never previously screened in public, and almost all have been unavailable in copies as good as these.

Over 500 venues around the world including major art museums, film archives, universities, theaters, concert halls, micro-cinemas, film societies, broadcast and cable TV, and online streaming services have featured UNSEEN CINEMA, making it one of the largest and perhaps the most viewed film retrospectives in history.

Celebrating its 20th year, UNSEEN CINEMA premiered first in 2001 as a 20-program 170-film retrospective at The Whitney Museum of American Art and Moscow International Film Festival, and soon thereafter published DVD editions: in 2005, the 7-disc 155-film "Unseen Cinema: Early American Avant-garde Film, 1894-1941"; in 2015, the 4-disc 37-film "Masterworks of American Avant-Garde Experimental Film 1290-1970"; and in 2017, the 4-disc 56-film "Avant-Gardes, chefs-d'ouvre du cinéma expérimental."

Five critical volumes accompany the releases: "Unseen Cinema: Early American Avant-garde Film, 1893-1941" (Anthology Film Archives, New York, 2001); "En marge de Hollywood: la première avant-garde cinématographique américaine 1893-1941" (Centre Pompidou, Paris and Muse?e d'art ame?ricain, Giverny, 2003); "Where the Buffalo Roamed#Relative Histories of an Early American Avant-garde" (Image Entertainment, Chatsworth, 2005); a 253-page supplemental DVD-ROM "Filmmakers' Biographies & Photo Gallery" (Image Entertainment, Chatsworth, 2005); and "Let the Eyes Have It!" (Flicker Alley, Los Angeles, 2015).

Critical acclaim remains widespread with many "Best of the Year" notices ("Sight and Sound," "The New York Times," "Cahiers du Cinema," "Premiere Magazine," "Hollywood Reporter," "Variety," "Village Voice," "Cinemascope," "Senses of Cinema") and two prestigious Film Heritage Awards by National Society of Film Critics and a Special Citation by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.

Curated by Bruce Posner. Co-produced with Winfried Günther, Robert Haller, David Shepard, and many, many others.

"One of the major monuments of the [digital] medium." - Dave Kehr, THE NEW YORK TIMES

"This ambitious show - devoted to vanguard cinema from the first half of the motion pictures' century - could have enough surprises to qualify as history in the (re)-making." - J. Hoberman, VILLAGE VOICE

"I have been obsessed in the last couple of weeks with 'Unseen Cinema, which is astounding. Thank you a thousand times, and then another thousand." - Alexander Payne, director of SIDEWAYS, ABOUT SCHMIDT and NEBRASKA