The origin story of Austin’s contemporary film culture can be found in the history of a little-known 1960s campus film society. With a name derived from the famous New York City post-war avant garde group Cinema 16 (adapted to celebrate the University of Texas’ iconic 40 acres), the Cinema 40 was part of the student counter-cultural movement of the mid-1960s. Through their tireless commitment, Cinema 40 members lobbied the University of Texas to start a film department, introduced students and the Austin community to great works of avant garde and classic Hollywood cinema, hosted luminaries on campus including Jean-Luc Godard and Jonas Mekas, started a filmmakers collective to share resources and make their own experimental films, established ties with the Warhol Factory, and founded a UT-published film culture quarterly, Harbinger Magazine, that featured original essays by Susan Sontag, Ernest Callenbach, and others. For the first time, the history of Cinema 40 will be celebrated in an AFS retrospective featuring introductions by the organization’s founder, Gregg Barrios, an award-winning San Antonio-based playwright, poet, journalist and filmmaker. The films presented in the series played a critical role in the Cinema 40’s history and activities.
Commemorative zines will be available during the series featuring content from Harbinger Magazine, an underground publication run by Cinema 40 members. 44 pages, risograph printed, featuring an interview with Jean-Luc Godard, an essay about Godard by Susan Sontag, an article about Andy Warhol’s BIKE BOY by Cinema 40 founder Gregg Barrios, and a conversation between Warhol, Jonas Mekas, and others during the filming of EMPIRE.