To mark the close of this year’s 50th anniversary of the London Film-makers’ Co-operative at the BFI/National Film Theatre and Real to Reel at Tate Modern, we take a look at Montez Press grant recipient Anna Thew’s 16mm films, Broken Pieces for the Co-operative (double screen 1985-2001) and LFMC Demolition (2004). These films document the demolition of the old Gloucester Avenue railway building, which occurred the same year that the LFMC was tragically forced to the wall. These reels revel in Co-op film-making, in underground Super 8, 16mm and 35mm film, in Co-op Cinema and Archive as an act of resistance. Here are some words from the artist:
Though the LFMC was destroyed as a limited company and registered charity in 1999/2000, its funding cruelly withdrawn and its donated equipment and precious film collection wrongfully appropriated, the LFMC as a Co-operative was never ever legally dissolved by choice of its members; film-makers with films in the Co-op archive. Therefore, the LFMC as a co-operative still exists by virtue of its open constitution. Its members and life members are still in contact with one another. Dedicated Co-op film-makers still exist. Therefore, if young film-makers and artists want the LFMC to exist for them, the Co-op spirit and its concept are indestructible (See 1978 Constitution). The LFMC can simply revitalize.
The LFMC Facebook page was launched this year with the initiative of finding filmmakers and artists who support the continuation of the LFMC. This site is meant to serve as a platform where films can be uploaded and pledged to the collection, as well as a place in which lobbying to save the disappearing collection of precious avant garde film can be organized.
So the spirit of the underground lives on…and on. The peeling screen, demolished doorways, the old café and film archive are a pile of rubble haunted by a mirage of flickering frames.