AFS Viewfinders

AFS Viewfinders is a film culture website with information, resources and opinions designed to deepen and broaden appreciation of film.

Watch This: The Shattering Legacy of Ella Fitzgerald

In the ’70s when home cassette decks were just hitting the scene, one manufacturer of the palm-sized magnetic miracles had a brilliant idea for an ad campaign. The great singer Ella Fitzgerald was enlisted to make a television commercial in which she sang a note at the exact pitch that would shatter glass and then […]

Celebrate the Centennial of Japanese Cinema Great Setsuko Hara

Setsuko Hara (born on June 17 1920) did not have an especially long acting career. Even though she lived to the age of 95, she retired from the screen in 1962, and became something of a recluse, even as the world became more and more aware of her special gifts during the decades that followed. […]

Streamers: David Zellner Shares Some Obscure Streaming Faves

In collaboration with his brother Nathan Zellner, David Zellner has made some of the most fascinating and unusual films of the past decade plus. From their absurdist comedy short films to the narrative features (GOLIATH, KID-THING, KUMIKO THE TREASURE HUNTER, DAMSEL) that have made them major figures on the independent film stage, their output has […]

50 Years Ago: Dock Ellis’ LSD-Fueled No-Hitter

One of the most astonishing feats in sports history happened on June 12, 1970. The Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team played the San Diego Padres at San Diego Stadium. The starting pitcher for the Pirates, the mercurial and idiosyncratic Dock Ellis, had forgotten that it was his day to pitch and had taken LSD at around […]

Watch This: Judy Garland Sings a Song of National Healing

Judy Garland (born June 10, 1922) has been gone for over fifty years now, but her legacy lives on in her films, her recordings and in the cultural values she represented – particularly to the gay community. Stonewall coincided with her funeral. The rainbow Pride flag, designed by Gilbert Baker, is likely, in part, a […]

Listen Here: Spike Lee’s 2007 Master Class with John Pierson

In anticipation of Spike Lee’s newest film DA 5 BLOODS, which premieres this Friday on Netflix, we were hunting around for some classic Spike interviews. At this point, we probably all know how much power Lee can put into his films, but he also brings a showman’s flair to his interviews, and shares perspective that […]

Streamers: Historian Evan Purchell Presents Hidden Queer CInema

Austin’s Evan Purchell is a film historian and archivist whose popular and acclaimed (it was a 2018 Artforum Best) Instagram account Ask Any Buddy documents gay adult film and video history through contemporaneous print sources. It’s fascinating. Additionally he has branched into filmmaking with his film ASK ANY BUDDY, of which the BFI says, “This […]

Watch This: A 1970 Public Television Segment on Spiritual Jazz Giant Alice Coltrane

The last decade or so has been a golden age of online archiving and digitization of our heritage as preserved in moving images. Within the online collection of videos shared by the National Museum of African American History are some real treasures – including the short film you will see below, which was produced as […]

Josephine Baker, Antifascist Freedom Fighter, Born on this Date

Most people reading this probably have at least a rudimentary idea of who Josephine Baker (born on June 3, 1906) was. A black American entertainer from St. Louis, given a chance to join a singing and dancing revue that traveled to Paris in 1925, who then became the toast of the City Of Light, finding […]

Now Streaming: Confronting Racism Through Film

“The precise role of the artist, then, is to illuminate that darkness, blaze roads through that vast forest, so that we will not, in all our doing, lose sight of its purpose, which is, after all, to make the world a more human dwelling place.” – James Baldwin. Film is not only the great empathy […]

Listen Here: Kelly Reichardt & Olivier Assayas In Conversation

Here’s an interview that you may have missed when it was released straight into the vortex of the initial stage of Covid panic back in March – a mere 2,000 months ago – or that’s how it feels anyway. The actual conversation that we hear took place a number of months earlier (and that’s when […]

Introducing The Lone Star Slate: Stream Texas Films & Support Filmmakers

The Austin Film Society was established to support a community of filmmakers based in Texas. The scene blossomed from a few DIY filmmakers scattered across the state to a booming independent film community, featuring artists of all backgrounds, with diverse influences and practices. AFS has directly funded over 500 independent film projects by Texas filmmakers, […]

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