09.24.19 - 09.30.19

THE GATE THEATER FILM FESTIVAL 1966/2019 is a week-long, 16mm-film festival comprising a selection of films that were featured at the historic The Gate Theater. Located on the Lower East Side of New York City, across the street from St. Marks Church-in-the-Bowery, The Gate Theater was a leading venue for independent films between 1966 and 1968. This artist-run cinema was managed by Elsa Tambellini, below The Black Gate Theater—New York’s first electromedia-performance space, founded by Aldo Tambellini.

The Festival includes projections of rarely displayed archival film prints by Bruce Baillie, Paul Bartel, David Bienstock, Abbe Borov, Stan Brakhage, Bob Cowan, Storm De Hirsch, Maya Deren, Robert Downey Sr., Peter E. Goldman, Ed Emshwiller, Peter Gessner, Takahiko Iimura, Stanton Kaye, George Kuchar, Mike Kuchar, Willard Maas, Marie Menken, Ron Rice, José Rodríguez-Soltero, Mark Sadan, Jack Smith, Yoichi Takabayashi, Aldo Tambellini, Stan VanDerBeek, and Jud Yalkut.

Many of the films included in THE GATE THEATER FILM FESTIVAL 1966/2019 were part of The Gate Theater’s New Visions Festival, organized in protest against the exclusion of independent filmmakers from the 4th New York Film Festival. Together these films represent the beginning of a new era, when 16mm film and recording equipment became accessible to self-producing artists who worked in experimental ways to express transgressive ideas—regarding gender, politics, and sexuality—that were culturally censored in the 1960s. Thus, The Gate Theater was critically recognized by filmmakers such as Jonas Mekas and John Waters.

THE GATE THEATER FILM FESTIVAL 1966/2019 is presented by curator and writer AMELIA ISHMAEL, as a tendril from her book manuscript The Black Gate Theater: Aldo Tambellini, Independent Film and Intermedia Performance in New York City’s Lower East Side 1965-1968; A Historic Revaluation of Experimental Arts Venues, Including The Bridge Theater and The Gate Theater.

THE GATE THEATER FILM FESTIVAL 1966/2019 is partially supported by an Individual Artists Program Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, as well as a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency, a state agency through federal funds provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. Projection and 16 mm equipment supplied by Chicago Film Society. Archival film prints are from the Film-makers’ Coop, Harvard Film Archives, and Janus Films.


A World Half-Consumed in the Heat of Its Own Desire (4 films, 103 min)

Jack Smith, NO PRESIDENT (1967), 45 min
Ron Rice, CHUMLUM (1964), 26 min
José Rodríguez-Soltero, JEROVI (1965), 12 min
Mike Kuchar, GREEN DESIRE (1966), 20 min


Walk the Streets at Night, Looking for Love (4 films, 100 min)

Stanton Kaye, GEORG (1964), 55 min
Stan Brakhage, REFLECTIONS ON BLACK (1955), 12min
Peter E. Goldman, NIGHT CRAWLERS (1964), 4min
Willard Maas, IMAGE IN THE SNOW (1948), 29min


Don’t Look Now, There’s a Camera Behind You (3 films, 96 min)

Robert Downey, CHAFED ELBOWS (1966), 57 min, digital
Paul Bartel, THE SECRET CINEMA (1966), 28 min
Stan Brakhage, BLUE MOSES (1952), 11 min


The Hero Is Left with His Own Uncertainty and Fears (3 films, 94 min)

George Kuchar, CORRUPTION OF THE DAMNED (1965), 55min
Mike Kuchar, THE SECRET OF WENDEL SAMSON (1966), 34 min
Bob Cowan, MODDLE TODDLE (1967), 5 min


Protest, as an Expression of Patriotic Duty (4 films, 88 min)

Bruce Baillie, QUIXOTE (1965), 45 min
Abbe Borov, LET IT SHINE (1968), 22 min
Peter Gessner, TIME OF THE LOCUST (1966), 12 min
Aldo Tambellini, BLACK PLUS-X (1966), 9 min 


Going Inward Is Not Withdrawing (5 films, 60 min)

Ed Emshwiller, TOTEM (1963), 16min
Stan VanDerBeek, SPHERICAL SPACE NO. 1 (1967), 5 min
Takahiko Iimura, ANMA / THE MASSEUR (1963), 13 min
Mark Sadan, ROSEBUD (1966), 5 min
David Bienstock, NOTHING HAPPENED THIS MORNING (1965), 21 min


The Underworld of Sensory Derangement (6 films, 57 min)

Maya Deren, THE VERY EYE OF THE NIGHT (1958), 16 min
Jud Yalkut, LE PARC (1966), 4 min
Aldo Tambellini, BLACK IS (1965), 4 min 
Storm De Hirsch, PEYOTE QUEEN (1965), 9 min
Yoichi Takabayashi, MUSASHINO (1965), 15 min
Marie Menken, HURRY! HURRY! (1957), 3 min