Kuchars, Kenneth Anger Works To Be Restored Through Avant-Garde Masters Grants

by Wendy Mitchell

UCLA Film and Television Archive will preserve Kenneth Anger's "Rabbit's Moon" (pictured) through an Avant-Garde Masters Grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation. Photo courtesy of Anthology Film Archives.

The Film Foundation and the National Film Preservation Foundation have established a new grant that aims to save the work of avant-garde masters. The first grant recipients are New York's Anthology Film Archives, which will preserve nine 8mm 1958-1963 Hollywood parodies by George and Mike Kuchar, and the UCLA Film and Television Archive, which will preserve Kenneth Anger's "Rabbit's Moon," the filmmaker's only work originally shot on 35mm nitrate. The institutions, which are splitting the $50,000 grant, will work with the directors on the restorations.

The Kuchars' 8mm works that poked fun at Hollywood melodrama include "A Woman Distressed" and "I Was a Teenage Rumpot." Anthology hopes to transfer the works to 16mm and upgrade the 1/4-inch sound tapes to a more stable format. As for Anger's "Rabbit's Moon," it is a suicide story told as poetic fable, shot in 1950 in Jean-Pierre Melville's studio. Anger worked on a 16mm version in 1970 but he has never released the film in 35mm; UCLA will work to preserve the film from the original nitrate camera negative.

"Archives have been a safe haven for American films, and particularly for independent filmmakers," said Margaret Bodde, executive director of The Film Foundation, in a prepared statement. "We hope that, as news of these new grants spread, more filmmakers will step forward to collaborate with archives to save their work for future generations. The foundation plans to offer the avant-garde masters grants again in 2004.

[For more information, please visit: http://www.filmpreservation.org.