Crosstown Rivals: Films From UCLA and USC in the 1960s

  • Sanctus (1967) by David Lebrun
  • Now That the Buffalo's Gone (1967) by Burton C. Gershfield
  • Now That the Buffalo's Gone (1967) by Burton C. Gershfield

    April 12, 2012, 7:30PM
    UCLA Melnitz Movies - James Bridges Theater, Melnitz Hall, UCLA

    Enthused by the possibilities of “underground” film, energetic students at Los Angeles’ leading universities made a healthy amount of work using alternative approaches in the 1960s.  This work gained notoriety in the mass media, with an article in Time Magazine, among others.  The most well-known filmmaker to come out of this period is George Lucas, but we’ll also be looking at remarkable students works by Penelope Spheeris, David Lebrun, Paul Golding, Robert Abel, John Milius, Burton Gershfield, Bruce Green, and Rob Thompson.  Politically and socially activated works, experimenting in animation, collage, documentary, and narrative, topped by two unusual science fiction films from Spheeris and Lucas.

    Special thanks to the UCLA Film & Television Archive; Mark Quigley; Todd Wiener, Alex Ago; Dino Everett; USC School of Cinematic Arts, Hugh M. Hefner Moving Image Archive; May Haduong, Academy Film Archive

    Tickets are free, and are available on a first-come, first-served basis (one ticket per person) at the James Bridges Theater box office, starting one hour before showtime.  Directions below.

    This program will repeat at USC Cinematheque 108 on Thursday April 19 at 7:00 pm!

    Additional info on Melnitz Movies:

    Directions and Parking

    • From Sunset Blvd. make a left turn onto Hilgard Ave., then an immediate right to enter on the east side of the UCLA campus.
    • Ahead and to your immediate right, you will see signs for Parking Structure 3. Turn right into entrance. Parking is $11.00
    • Go to the ground level of Parking Structure 3 and enter the underpass, leading south, and walk straight out alongside Melnitz Hall.
    • On your immediate left, you will see the James Bridges Theater. Step up to the box office, grab a ticket, step inside, and enjoy the show.

    Films to be Screened

    • Wipeout, by Paul Golding Wipeout, by Paul Golding

      Wipeout (1965, 16mm, b/w, sound 3min.)
      Directed by Paul Golding

      A dynamic social protest collage film utilizing still photos, accompanied by the Surfaris recording of "Wipeout". - Creative Film Society catalog, 1972

    • Pulp, by Bruce Green Pulp, by Bruce Green

      Pulp (1967, 16mm, b/w, sound, 8min.)
      Directed by Bruce Green

      A cynical yet tongue-in-cheek satire on today's leather-jacketed rebels-without-a-cause whose attitudes and sexual appetites are influenced by the multitude of men's pulp magazines. -  Creative Film Society catalog, 1972

    • Marcello, I'm So Bored, by John Milius Marcello, I'm So Bored, by John Milius

      Marcello, I’m So Bored (1966, 16mm, color, sound, 9min.)
      Directed by John Milius

      John Milius was a precious critic of the 'counter-culture,' his critique may be seen as a its most turgid in APOCALYPSE NOW (which he wrote with George Lucas in 1967) and at its lightest in this early film, an intentionally crude cartoon with a live action epilogue in which Milius appears with Gayle Hunnicutt. - Scratching the Belly of the Beast Catalogue, 1994

    • Herbie Herbie

      Herbie (1965, 16mm, b/w, sound, 3min.)
      Directed by Paul Golding and George Lucas

      The filmmakers create stylish visual music from the diffuse, reflected lights of driving cars against a soundtrack of Herbie Hancock music.

    • Electronic Labyrinth: THX 1138 4 EB, by George Lucas Electronic Labyrinth: THX 1138 4 EB, by George Lucas

      Electronic Labyrinth: THX 1138 4 EB (1967, 16mm, color, sound, 15min.)
      Directed by George Lucas

      THX 1138 4EB runs through passages into order to escape a totalitarian dystopia.
    • Freightyard Symphony (1963, 16mm (screening from DVD), color, sound, 6.5min.)
      Directed by Robert Abel

      Highly accomplished animated student film by commercial effects pioneer Robert Abel – on trains and movement.

    • Les AngeS Dorment, by Felix Venable Les AngeS Dorment, by Felix Venable

      Les angeS Dorment (1965, 16mm, b/w & color, sound, 8min.)
      Directed by Felix Venable

      Print courtesy of Peter Mays and the Academy Film Archive

      The only extant film made by the legendary Felix Venable, a primary mentor and friend to Jim Morrison.  Venable’s own mythic status among Doors fans in part derives from his tragic early death in November 1970 (a few months before Morrison himself).  In Les angeS Dorment (note the capitalization…), a series of vignettes set to varying scores are exemplified by highly refined and intuitive camerawork and editing.  This influential film is intensely and quietly psychedelic, suggestive of acid experiences and a shifting sense of fragmented consciousness.

    • S.W.L.A. (1971, 16mm, b/w & color, 6min.)
      Directed by Rob Thompson

      Print courtesy of the iotaCenter collection at the Academy Film Archive.

      A semi-abstract cinepoem using high contrast black and white images and stylized color effects to capture the mood of an industrial area in Southwest Los Angeles. The film is reminiscent in style and artistic effectiveness of the work of Pat O'Neill and Scott Bartlett, particularly their 7362 and METANOMEN, and is highly recommended as the largest example of this sort of psychedelic-surreal filmartistry. Winner of innumerable 1971 film festival awards. -  Creative Film Society Catalog, 1975

    • Synthesis (1968, 16mm (orig 8mm), color, sound, 7min)
      Directed by Penelope Spheeris

      Print courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive.  Penelope Spheeris's first film, made at UCLA. In a seemingly near-future control room devoid of people, various readouts and calculations suggest that humankind is not altogether compatible with the grand scheme of the universe.

    • Now That the Buffalo's Gone (1967) by Burton Gershfield Now That the Buffalo's Gone (1967) by Burton Gershfield

      Now That the Buffalo's Gone (1967, 16mm, color, sound, 6min.)
      Directed by Burton Gershfield

      Restored print from the Academy Film Archive!

      A powerful New American Cinema protest against the decline and fall of the American Indian, using quasi-three dimensional color techniques as part of its overall structure. 'This beautiful little film uses fast-moving positive-negative color images to recall how the American Indian was displaced from the land. From the colorful past of the buffalo hunt to the less than perfect life of present day reservations this sympathetic protest film shows why even Indians on television can never really win. This film is recommended for discussion with Junior highs through adults and for worship services built around a theme of concern for the American Indian.' - Media for Christian Formation.  -  Creative Film Society Catalogue, 1975

    • Sanctus (1967) by David Lebrun Sanctus (1967) by David Lebrun

      Sanctus (1967, 16mm, b/w, sound, 18min.)
      Directed by David Lebrun

      Print courtesy of David Lebrun and the Academy Film Archive.

      A New American Cinepoem in which three individual ritual ceremonies in Mexico are filmically interrelated: (1) a Catholic High Mass, (2) a bullfight, (3) the sacred mushroom ceremony of the Mazatec Indians.  Creative Film Society Catalogue, 1972