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Creative Film Society

Distributor

History

The Creative Film Society (CFS) was formed in 1957 by Robert Pike primarily to distribute independent and experimental short films, with an emphasis on filmmakers in the Southern California region. Well-known filmmakers whose works were distributed by CFS included Scott Bartlett, Stan Brakhage, Mary Ellen Bute, Charles and Ray Eames, Len Lye, Stan Vaderbeek, and John Whitney, as well as a number of student filmmakers from the Los Angeles area. CFS also distributed a number of entertainment films, including Betty Boop cartoons by Max Fleischer, silent comedies by Mack Sennett, and films featuring Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, W.C. Fields, and Abbott and Costello. Classic feature films distributed by CFS included The battleship Potemkin (1925), The Blue Angel (1930), The General (1927), The gold rush (1925), The last laugh (1924), Metropolis (1927), The phantom of the Opera (1925), and Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928). After Robert Pike's death in 1974, his widow, Angeline Pike, continued to operate Creative Film Society until 1999, when she stopped distributing films and donated the bulk of the CFS library to the UCLA Film & Television Archive. In most cases, Mrs. Pike was able to donate two prints of each title, one for use and one for conservation. [Source Creative Film Society Collection Finding Aid, UCLA Film and Television Archive] The Creative Film Society was formed in 1957 by Robert Pike, as an informal affiliation of West Coast filmartists dedicated to the promotion of film as an art form. Our primary function was the rental and sale distribution of the 16mm motion pictures produced by our members. But as rental and sale interest increased through the years for film-art shorts, it became necessary for us to similarly increase the concept of our distribution function to meet the needs of our customers. For this reason, we added to out rental library classic examples of all types of creative short subjects, as well as several historically important feature films. At the same time, we invited filmartists from other areas, both in this country and abroad, to allow us to represent the best examples of their work, in addition to any distributions representation they might already have. As a result, today the CFS has the most comprehensive 16mm. rental library of film-art shorts in this country, ranging in style from old-time comedy classics to the most sophisticated examples of pure film-art, and ranging in time from the earliest works of Edison, Melies, and Cohl to the latest film-art shorts produced in the 1974. Originally, the CFS film rental library was designed to meet the needs of college and private film societies, as those organizations were the basic customers for film-art shorts. However, in recent years, with an ever-increasing emphasis being placed on the motion picture medium as the primary vehicle for the communication of ideas and information, we have found that most of the films in our rental library are equally useful to religious groups, public schools, and classes in film history and appreciation. Therefore, from he over nine hundred 16mm films listed in this catalogue, we are proud to state that virtually every type of organization can find material to fit its needs. Moreover, out films are continually being reviewed in such publications as: The Booklist, Media & Methods, The Christian Advocate, Landers Film Reviews, Filmmakers Newsletter, Media for Christian Formation, as well as the regular film-art magazines and books. Wherever possible, we have quoted from these reviews in the catalogue descriptions as an aid to your selection decision. However, should any customer wish further clarification as to whether a specific film is suitable for his use, he need only write or phone us, and we will be happy to discuss the selection of appropriate films to fit his needs. We do not, however, accept collect phone calls. [Source Creative Film Society Catalog, 1975] According to historian David James, CFS played 'a major role in publicizing experimental film and in bringing the Los Angeles avant-garde film communities together,' and helped lay the groundwork for later organizations like the Los Angeles Independent Film Oasis and, of course, Los Angeles Filmforum. [Source Los Angeles Filmforum Notes, June 15, 2009]

Screening Venues

Los Angeles, CA

People

Exhibitions and Screening

Links