Film/Video Arts has come a long way since its founding in 1968 when educators Rodger Larson and Lynne Hofer in collaboration with filmmaker Jaime Barrios introduced 16mm motion picture equipment to Latino youth on the Lower East Side. Operating out of a storefront just off the Bowery, the teenagers were soon making highly personal films, mostly concerned with growing up in the neighborhood.
In 1968, the organization was officially incorporated as the Young Filmakers Foundation, to encourage filmmaking as an artistic, educational and vocational experience for young people. A major grant in 1970 made it possible for Young Filmakers to stabilize and expand its programs citywide.
In 1971, in collaboration with the New York State Council on the Arts, Young Filmakers established the first public media equipment access center in a basement on West 53rd Street. Known as Media Equipment Resource Center (MERC), this program served film and video makers of all ages with production and postproduction services free of charge. In 1973, the activities of the organization were consolidated in a loft building at 4 Rivington Street. By 1978, Young Filmakers had introduced modest fees and redirected its focus to adults.
In 1985, Young Filmakers changed its name to Film/Video Arts and relocated to 817 Broadway. The new location and major equipment upgrades enabled the organization to evolve from a set of experimental programs to an established service institution.
In 1997, Film/Video Arts built the Digital Studio and initiated the Digital Arts Certificate Program. Consequently, a new generation of digital media producers were emerging from Film/Video Arts with the benefit of having equal access to necessary resources.
In 2001, Film/Video Arts relocated to its present address at 462 Broadway (corner of Grand Street). The future of the Film/Video Arts at its new location holds forth many possibilities as the organization continues to grow with the emergence of newer technologies.
Drawing from its rich history Film/Video Arts has steadily evolved, all the time maintaining its staunch commitment to supporting the needs of independent film, video and digital media producers. The founder's mission, to make the tools and skills of the media arts available to those who might otherwise not have access to them, remains the guiding force behind all Film/Video Arts' activities and programs.