Martha Colburn, Persecution in Paradise, 1997, Film still
Art Radio International renegotiated the terms of its lease of the Clocktower Gallery with MoMA recently, consequently terminating their sublease with The Film-Maker’s Co-op (FMC) . Founded nearly 50 years ago, FMC is one of the longest-running distributors of experimental and independent film in the world, its offices operating in the same building since 2000. The organization houses thousands of 16mm prints, many of them unique and irreplaceable including those by Stan Brakhage, Paul Sharits, Carolee Schneeman, Tony Conrad, Hollis Frampton, Jennifer Reeves, Jack Smith, Ken Jacobs, Peggy Ahwesh, Joyce Wieland, Michael Snow, Maya Deren, Marie Menken, Jonas Mekas, Shirley Clarke, Martha Colburn, Leslie Thornton, and literally hundreds of other artists, as well as an invaluable paper archive of letters, program notes and other materials. According to sources moving these fragile prints will take thousands of dollars the Co-op simply can’t afford.
Now, losing a lease is never good news, but it certainly can’t help that Art Radio International went from having included the organization in the floor plans of the lease negotiations with MoMA to deciding there was no longer space for the organization and demanding they vacate their offices within a few days of having been notified. Sources tell me they have responded to none of FMC’s emails, a move likely to dissolve a 9 year working relationship.
Meanwhile, the Co-Op has sent out a newsletter to members alerting them to the situation. FMC is appealing to the Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate D. Levin for support either in the form of remaining in the current building either or to moving to another, affordable city space.
The Co-op represents over 700 independent filmmakers, and is an invaluable resource the filmmaking community can not afford to lose. To express your support for Independent film and write to Kate D. Levin directly at http://www.nyc.gov/html/mail/html/maildcla.html. The FMC Urgent Update email begins after the jump.
Correction: This blog originally reported The Film-Makers’ Cooperate was served an eviction notice in error.
From: M M Serra <>
Date: Wed, 4 Feb 2009 16:45:11 -0500
Subject: Urgent! FMC Update
Dear Friends and Members of the Film-Makers’ Cooperative:
Since December 2000 our office has been located in a New York City
government space, the “Clocktower Gallery”. It has been a safe and
convenient location. The FMC had a lease with MoMA/PS.1 on a month to month
basis. MoMA is terminating its lease and the FMC’s sublease will terminate
with it. Alanna Heiss (former P.S. 1 Director ) is negotiating a new lease
with the city through the Dept. of Cultural Affairs. Although the floor
plans she had submitted to the city for her new organization, Art Radio
International, (that originally included the FMC) Heiss has decided there is
no room for the FMC anymore. Upon further negotiation with Art Radio
International we have been refused a sublease. We have received an eviction
notice and are trying to appeal to the Department of Cultural Affairs
Commissioner Kate D. Levin to support our efforts to remain either in our
current building or to move to another, affordable city space. You can
write to Kate D. Levin directly at
The more letters that are received on our behalf, the better!
Of course, we are working with legal consul. The FMC Board of Directors, and
M.M. Serra will continue to keep you informed. Any questions you have,
please call the FMC office at 212-267-5665.