A Retrospective of Restored and Preserved Films
Detailing the Unknown Accomplishments of
American Pioneer Filmmakers

Unseen Cinema: Early American Avant-Garde Film 1893-1941 premieres a comprehensive 20-program retrospective of the pre-Maya Deren inspired avant-garde film movement in America. Over 160 films in newly preserved and restored 35mm and 16mm film prints survey the hitherto unknown accomplishments of pioneer filmmakers working in the United States and abroad during the formative period of American film. The series postulates an innovative and often controversial view of experimental cinema as a product of avant-garde artists, of Hollywood directors, and of amateur movie-makers working collectively and as individuals at all levels of film production during the last decade of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century.

Anthology Film Archives working in collaboration with 60 of the world's leading film archive collections including British Film Institute, George Eastman House, The Library of Congress, and The Museum of Modern Art, among many others, prepared preservation and restorations masters of these rare art films. Many of the films have not been available since their creation over a century ago, some have never been screened in public, and almost all have been unavailable in pristine projection prints until now.

Unseen Cinema film retrospective had its world premiere at the 23rd Moscow International Film Festival in June 2001 and its United States premiere at The Whitney Museum of American Art (July-September 2001). The films have been seen at museums, archives, universities, and theaters around the world. Over 500 venues have featured the touring programs making it one of the largest and perhaps the most viewed film retrospectives in history.

The films are available for worldwide exhibition as a complete 20 program retrospective or as individually selected single programs tailored to meet the needs of less ambitious presentations.

Sponsored by Anthology Film Archives, New York, and Deutsches Filmmuseum, Frankfurt am Main.

Made possible in part by Cineric, Inc., Eastman Kodak Company, Film Preservation Associates, Inc.

Film preservation, exhibition, and catalog made possible through the generous support of Cineric, Inc., New York.

Curated by Bruce Posner

Produced for DVD by David Shepard

Film Programs

Tour Schedule

Press Reviews

Whitney Museum

Harry Ransom Center

Nederlands Filmmuseum


"Seeing is Believing" by Steven Anderson, The Independent, July 2001

"Unseen Cinema" by Pat Dowell, Morning Edition, NPR, July 31, 2001

"Screen Gems Rediscovered" by David Sterritt, Christian Science Monitor, August 24, 2001

"Revisiting the Dawn of Avant-Garde Films" by Susan King, Los Angeles Times, February 14, 2002

"The Radical Context" by Rachel Proctor May, The Austin Chronicle, February 13, 2004

"Hidden Wonders" by Keith Harris, City Pages, February 6, 2002

"Unseen Cinema: An Interview with Bruce Posner" by John Conomos & Bill Mousoulis, Senses of Cinema, June 18, 2002

"Als die Bilder stolpern lernten" by Urs Richter,, 2003

"Moving Pictures: Uniting Music & Film: The Ballet Mécanique" by Paul D. Lehrman, Sound on Sound, September 2002

"A Conversation with David Shepard" by Mark Zimmer, Digitally Obsessed

"Saving Lost Films and Making Them Look New" by Robert Haller

Museum of the Moving Image, October 15 & 16, 2005