The London Film-makers' Co-operative

Payne, Joyce Isabella (2010). The London Film-makers' Co-operative. PhD thesis The Open University.



This thesis examines the history of the London Film-makers' Co-operative (LFMC) during its productive period from 1966 to 1996. The establishment of the Co-op, its principles, the Co-op magazine Cinim (1969, 1970 and 1971) and the aims of artists, who created radical films without conventional narrative structures, are discussed. Selected films illustrate the different methods and materials used by artists. It is argued that artists set precedents and left a legacy which continues to influence new generations of artists. Although artists' films are discussed in a number of publications on avantgarde film-making, none focused exclusively on the history of the LFMC. This suggests that it is a topic worthy of research in its own right.

Chapter one discusses the daily running of the Co-op and the lack of funds which led artists to perform mundane tasks to maintain the Co-op. The relationship between the London Co-op and the New York Co-op is examined through articles and letters in Cinim. The London Co-op's position within the European political and aesthetic avant-garde and gender issues at the Co-op are considered. Chapter two investigates artists' difficulty in obtaining grants from the two main funding bodies, the Arts Council of Great Britain and the British Film Institute. Chapters three and four discuss various thematic tendencies evident in artists' works. Chapter five considers the importance of the journal Undercut (1981-1996) to artists and the work of a second generation of artists. Advertising, exhibition, distribution and censorship are discussed in chapter six and chapter seven discusses audience, critical reception and censorship. The conclusion suggests that, with additional funding, the Co-op, as a significant avant-garde group, may well have survived into the twenty-first century.

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