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Los Angeles Independent Film Oasis
“Amy (Halpern) said let's call ourselves Oasis, we'll be the film oasis in this desert, in this film desert. And if we can find a space, we'll have a screening.”
The Los Angeles Independent Film Oasis was a collaboratively run experimental film exhibitor during the late 1970s. The organization was founded by local artists affiliated with Cal Arts and the Otis Arts Institute and intended to screen new and rarely seen cinema. The original members include: Morgan Fisher, Roberta Friedman, Amy Halpern, Beverly O’Neill, Pat O’Neill, Susan Rosenfeld, Grahame Weinbren, David Wilson and Diana Wilson.
The organization was run democratically with multiple members contributing to management and curatorship. On March 7, 1976, Oasis hosted its first screening at the Haymarket, a socialist bookstore. Jonas Mekas’ REMINISCENCES OF A JOURNEY TO LITHUANIA (1972) was screened to a packed house of over two-hundred Lithuanian expatriates. The organization switched venues multiple times over the following years, moving to USC, LAICA and eventually to downtown Los Angeles. Screenings were chosen from an eclectic variety of living filmmakers which included Bruce Bailey, Hollis Frampton, Jean Pierre Gorin, and Yvonne Rainer. Though Oasis was a screening rather than a filmmaking collective, about one third of the films shown were made by Oasis members. Still its members consciously resisted exhibiting a single filmmaking style and worked hard to exhibit a diverse array of works.
Many of the Oasis members worked on the periphery of Hollywood and founder Pat O’Neill contributed special effects work on the landmark blockbuster STAR WARS. In 1980 Oasis received $8,000 in funding from the NEA but its primary source of income, ticket sales, remained unstable and the organization faced financial hardship. In 1981, after nearly one-hundred fifty screenings, Oasis hosted its final screening: a program of films by Pat O’Neill.
[Contributor: Gamliel Wernick]
Founders Hall USC
- Jules Engle
- Morgan Fisher
- Roberta Friedman
- Amy Halpern
- Beverly O'Neill
- Pat O'Neill
- Tim Shepard
- Grahame Weinbren
- Diana Wilson
- David Wilson