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The Films of Baum & Lo and Orphan Films from the Center Cinema Co-op

The Films of Baum & Lo and Orphan Films from the Center Cinema Co-op

The Buzzard, by Stephen Bezark

Los Angeles Filmforum presents

The Films of Baum & Lo and Orphan Films from the Center Cinema Co-op

Sunday, January 20, 2019, 7:30 pm

At the Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028

Los Angeles premieres, with Thomas Baum and Josh B Mabe in person!

In 1968 Tom Palazzolo, Ron Nameth, Jeff Begun, and Larry Janiak founded the Center Cinema Co-op in Chicago, IL to distribute artist films and promote independent filmmaking throughout the Midwest. Its history overlaps with so many other Chicago institutions and notables. The co-op grew from connections with Second City and the legendary Aardvark Theater. Barbara Scharres, Director of Programming at the Siskel Film Center, ran the co-op for many years. The list of members includes the founders of basically every important film institution in Chicago. In 1978 the co-op closed and the films that could not be returned to the filmmakers themselves ended up in various offices and back rooms.

In 2015, while working as Program Director of Chicago Filmmakers, Josh B Mabe found a stash of those left-behind films and became enamored with the collection, which had happily survived many years in a storage room of that invaluable institution. He put together one free screening of the material, and tried in vain to locate any of the filmmakers represented. Years later, by one of those weird accidents of the internet-age, he located Thomas Baum, co-director of the 3 of the films in that served as the heart of that screening. Baum’s films, co-directed with Dennis Lo, were singled out as the highlights by the critics who had covered the screening. Baum & Lo made these 3 films in their 20s in New York City while working in the ad department at NBC. Inspired by Andrew Sarris, Film Culture Magazine, and the independent filmmaking scene in New York in the late 60s, the duo made the films in parties, dance clubs, and borrowed office spaces with their friends (including Betty Aberlin of Mr. Rogers staring in their first film) and significant others. Dennis went on to his own art practice and to teach photography. Thomas went on to a successful Hollywood career as a film and television writer.

The other films in this program contain similar mysteries that hopefully will end as happily. Some of the filmmakers have been found and their families reached out to. Richard Greenberg went on to a massively successful career as a credits and title designer. His film in this screening is an early bright and melodic animation. Stephen Bezark went on to work in documentary film and was a beloved teacher. His film in this screening is a funky black-and-white student film. Many of the other films might remain mysteries forever, with only a few mentions in student newspapers or co-op financial records as clues.

Tickets: $10 general; $6 for students/seniors; free for Filmforum members. Available in advance from Brown Paper Tickets at or at the door.

For more information: or 323-377-7238.


Baum & Lo, Kansas City Gork
16mm, 9 minutes

Baum & Lo, Come Dance With Me
16mm, 5 minutes

Baum & Lo, The Catman In His Own Recollection Of The Primal Scene
16mm, 12m

Stephen Bezark, The Buzzard
16mm, 3 minutes

Richard Greenberg, George
16mm, 5 minutes

Lawrence Lewis, The Matchseller
16mm, 15 minutes

Maurice Amar, Ragadoll
16mm, 6 minutes

Gerald Moeller, Bath
16mm, 7 minutes

HJ Roman, Black Window
16mm, 10 minutes