Fifth Estate # 16, October 16-31, 1966

Maybe film was only playing possum. It sure looked dead, though… Nothing was happening. The few people I had managed to find that were interested in film were leaving town. Most of the good theaters were closing. There was obviously no hope. Then I wrote a couple columns for The Fifth Estate and BHANG, the floodgates opened. Things started happening. So many things that I can’t really cover them in depth, because of a lack of space and information; I just haven’t had time to learn all that I want to learn about them. All I can do is mention them and promise to elaborate sometime in the future.

First there’s The Midwest Film Society. I have been predicting it’s demise for the last few months now. I’m happy to say that it appears that I was wrong. They’re going through some re-organization and relocation changes, but they’ve picked up some new members and it looks like they’re going to be able to pull themselves back up to their previous peak, and possibly transcend it.

Also, as you may recall, I mentioned in the last issue of The Fifth Estate [FE #15, October 1-15, 1966] that I was thinking of trying to find some people and get another film group started. That too looks as if it may come to pass. The need for such a group is, I think, apparent. The MFS, as good as it is, is primarily a viewing society, with an interest in standard feature films. The group that I would like to see started would center around production, getting people, ideas, and equipment together so that we could get some kind of regular production going on in the city.

I’ve talked to John Sinclair about such a group and asked what he thought about it being incorporated into the Artists’ Workshop structure, and he was very excited over the possibility. I’ve also talked to a few friends, who have at one time or another expressed an interest in the film, and they too were interested. So, if all goes well, I hope to get about ten people together in a few weeks and start laying the groundwork for such a group. I hope, as the thing develops, to keep you all informed on what’s happening.

Another thing that I mentioned in the last issue was that I had heard of a filmmaker in the area named Larry Weiner, and that I wanted to get in touch with him. I contacted him just before that article came out and found him to be very active in film-making. He has completed a couple of films, and has a few others in various stages of production. His primary project at this moment is a film he’s been working on for sometime called: LOLLIPOP MEETS THE WOLFMAN UNDER THE COKEMACHINE AT DAWN or OUR MAN SAM for short. That’s about all I know about what he’s doing now, since, due to conflicting schedules, we haven’t been able to really get together and talk. As soon as we do, though, I’d like to devote the better part of a column to telling exactly what he’s doing and what he’s done. In fact I’d like to do that with any other film-makers in the area that I may find.

As far as the actual viewing of films is concerned, there’s not much improvement. There are, however, a couple of things going on that deserve mentioning, and attendance. The American Civil Liberties Union is sponsoring a couple of programs of films as part of their Fall Fund Festival. On October 21st they’ll be showing some of the highlights of last year’s Ann Arbor Film Festival. The films will be shown in the Masonic Temple Scottish Rites Theater at 8:30. Then, at the Detroit Institute of Arts small auditorium, on November 4th, they’ll be having the premiere of THE CULVERT, a film done by Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul, and Mary. Along with the CULVERT will be L’HISTOIRE DU SOLDAT by George Manupelli. Tickets are two dollars and can be obtained from the ACLU, The Fifth Estate Bookstore or the box office on the night of the performances.

The University Center for Adult Education is having a program of films too. These are being held on Saturday nights at 8:00 at different locations around the Wayne Campus area. Admission is $1.00 and 75 cents for students. The program is made up of films by Kurosawa, Claire, and Bresson. The program has been running for the last couple of weeks and will be on through December 3rd. For information call the UCAE at 831-4310.

You know for a town in which film appeared so dead, there’s quite a few things happening. Not enough, perhaps, but that can be changed.