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The London Film Co-op


The London Film Makers Coperative was originally formed as a film distribution organization in 1966.  


At around the same time, The Arts Lab Group was becoming established as an alternative arts venue for the counter culture and was screening early experimental film works .  (Arts Lab Wikipedia).


In 1967 Malcolm Le Grice and David Curtis recognized the urgent need for production equipment for experimental film makers and proposed a merger between the two organizations. In 1968,  together with Simon Hartog, this idea was implemented.


Le Grice took the Chair of the new Co-op in 1969 and was able to purchase a Debrie Film Printing machine and Black and White Developer using £5,000  given to him  in cash by the Australian artist Arthur Boyd at a party in his Hampstead home.  (It was actually money owed by Boyd to American Arts Patron Victor Herbert, but that is a longer story).  In any case, it was the free shared use of this  equipment that  made it possible for many young film-makers to print and develop their films.  Among their number: Roger Hammond, Peter Gidal and Mike Leggett.


Le Grice continued to help run the Co-op until 1976 .    It survived and flourished through various moves between short term peppercorn rent buildings, most notably in a long term squat at a former Dairy at 13a Prince of Wales Crescent in Kentish Town (below).


During this period, and until the formation of the LUX in 1997, the Co-op was the major cultural focus for making, screening and distributing experimental film in the UK and much of Europe.  Most of the Co-op's activities became incorporated into LUX with the workshop equipment passing to a new organization Lab.


For more information on the London Film Co-op, go to Wikipedia and Lux Online

You can also follow this link here to listen to the BBC Radio 4 programme, ARTIST IN THE DIRECTOR'S CHAIR, about the formation of the Film Co-Op.

Malcolm Le Grice, Horror Film stills


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