University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

Cinema Archive


The Golda Meir Archive of Experimental Film

In 1986 the UWM Golda Meir Library and the University's Department of Film embarked upon a common project. Realizing that many important works in the history of experimental film were being neglected by libraries, they set about to create a living archive, a collection that would both chart the development of independent expression in film and also provide a working resource for teachers and students of the medium.

The UWM Cinema Archive now contains over 200 essential works from the history of experimental cinema in the Cinema Arts Collection. Some are Soviet classics such as Dziga Vertov's Man with a Movie Camera; others are groundbreaking works, like Robert Nelson's The Great Blondino - a film synonymous with the development of the New American Cinema movement of the early 1960's. Independent African-American films, such as Charles Burnett's early masterpiece, Killer of Sheep, can be found here, and younger filmmakers' work is to be found in the Archive as well, thus representing a commitment to the present and future of the medium in addition to its past.

Programs of films from the Archive are screened publicly every semester in the Film Department's excellently maintained 100-seat cinema. Great care is taken with the films, with each having no more than two screenings in one year. All films are housed in the Golda Meir Library, with maintenance provided by technicians from Media Services; nearly all are also available in videotape format. The collection grows by about 10 films per year and will soon be one of the largest collections of independent film in the world VHS copies of most of the films are available from the Media Services window in the Reserve Section, East Wing, of the Golda Meir Library for students to view and study.