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The Essence of Cinema 16

Beginning in 1947 Cinema 16, the maverick film society directed by Amos Vogel until 1963, enlivened the New York City film scene, and in time, the national film scene, by making available to serious filmgoers a range of films that had never before been available in this country: documentaries of all kinds from around the world and a very wide range of experimental films, along with long-forgotten classics, art cinema from Europe and Asia, medical films, propaganda, many kinds of animation… Cinema 16 began with monthly presentations, but soon expanded to Wednesday evening screenings in two packed houses of 1500 people, and weekend screenings at art film theaters around the city. Cinema 16 inspired a nationwide network of film societies that imitated Vogel's programming and rented films from the Cinema 16 rental collection (Cinema 16 was among the first distributors of American and European experimental film). The HFA presents two programs of films that were of particular importance to Cinema 16 audiences, curated by Scott MacDonald, who will introduce each program, take questions afterward, and sign copies of his book, Cinema 16: Documents Toward a History of the Film Society (2002).