Evolution of NAMAC (1997)

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National Alliance of Media Arts and Culture

  • Chronology
  • To visit the NAMAC website

Stanford Report
Organization and Location of the American Film Institute, or the Stanford Report published. This was a research study assembled before the creation of the American Film Institute, and addressing questions about this soon-to-be-created AFI. "The authors of the report had little interest in either the non-feature-length film (a prejudice they acknowledged) or the possibility of encouraging regional development of film activity. " (Report 1979: NAMAC, published by FIVF). The model of a centrally located center for film study and education was adopted; the AFI was located in Los Angeles, with a second operation in Washington, DC. A structural model using satellite or regional affiliates was rejected. The AFI was to be the most visible and public entity in the film and media field.

Media arts centers are founded across the US.

The Mohonk Conference
Officially titled the Conference on Regional Development of Film Centers and Services, the Mohonk Conference was organized by the Museum of Modern Art and the Pacific Film Archives. A national conference held February 1973 at Mohonk, NY, attended by about 30 directors of regional media programs. About 33% of participants represented organizations which were not in existence at the time of the writing of the Stanford Report (1967). Most of the participants represented foundations, universities museums and governmental entities; the alternative spaces were not represented.

Conference support from Rockefeller Foundation, the John and Mary Markle Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. The report "The Independent Film Community" was published in 1977.

The Independent Film Community published.
This report was generated by the Mohonk Conference. The report suggested that there were common areas of concern shared by all media centers; these included issues of visibility, funding, communications and publication of efforts and programs. National leadership wasidentified as a shared need; advocacy on a national level and public education about the activities of all media centers, including the "alternative" centers, was important to advancement of the field.

Pittsburgh Conference
In June 1978 Pittsburgh Filmmakers convened a meeting to address issues raised by the Mohonk Conference and the publication of "The Independent Film Community". It was generally felt that the general public was unaware of the activities of the independent media community, and that national organizations, such as the AFI, did not address their concerns or needs. Conference attendance by 23 of the largest media centers; the conference was not representative of the field as a whole. It was perceived that national and unified actions were needed in order to represent the needs of media artists, emerging media institutions and the rapidly evolving film and video arts. Because the conference attendance did not represent the diversity of the field and was rather limited, national goals or a clear mission were not defined. A Steering Committee was formed which called the 1979 Minewaska Conference. This committee represented the Rocky Mountain Film Center, the Northwest Film Study Center, the Bay Area Video Coalition, Pittsburgh Filmmakers, Boston Film/Video Foundation and AIVF.

Minnewaska Conference
National Conference of Media Arts Centers hosted by the Foundation for Independent Video and Film at Lake Minnewaska, NY April 25-27, 1979. Known as the Minnewaska Conference. Funding provided by the Rockefeller Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Steering Committee: Virgil Grillo (Rocky Mountain Film Center), Alan Jacobs (Foundation for Independent Video and Film), Robert Sitton (Northwest Film Study Center), Gail Waldron (Bay Area Video Coalition), Susan Woll (Boston Film/Video Foundation), Stan Woodward (South Carolina Arts Commission), Robert Haller (Pittsburgh Filmmakers). Representatives of 47 organizations and 12 governmental agencies attended; at the preceeding Pittsburgh Conference it was felt that attendance was limited to larger institutions. This meeting included smaller organizations previously not represented. About 20% of attendees at Minnewaska were from artist-based organizations. The Steering Committee devised a selection process for attendees to keep total attendance to 63 and represent national activity. The issues addressed at the conference included: theatrical and commerical distribution of independent works; new technologies including satellite and video disc and what theres offer independent media makers; cooperative bookings and tours emphasizing information sharing models such as the Carnegie Institute Film and Videomakers Travel Sheet; the continued development of media arts centers and their role in the field; access to television broadcast; relationships with the AFI to promote national advocacy efforts on behalf of the independent community; legislative needs to expand independently produced works on PBS; creation of corporate funding center for media; increase the visibility of the media arts. The Conference resulted in a clearly stated need to national action; a Steering Committee was charged with forming the coalition. This Committee proposed a national coalition composed of organizations from 11 geographic zones in the US. Regional meetings were held during March, April and May of 1980. Membership was limited to organizations. By October 1980 this was modified with a mechanism for individual representation.

Report: The 1979 National Conference of Media Arts Centers. Published by Foundation of Independent Video and Film. This conference was also known as the Minnewaska Conference. Includes papers by Virgil Grillo "A Proposal for Audience Development"; "A Proposal for NEA Small Grants Provision to be Distributed by Media Arts Centers"; "Touring Artists and Cooperative Bookings". Robert Haller "Payment to Artists for Exhibitions of Their Work"; "Media Arts Organizations 1966-1978". Alan Jacobs "A Proposal for a National Advocacy Newsletter". Jonas Mekas "Notes on the Preservation of Independently Made Films". Robert Sitton "A National Center for Independent Feature Film?". Susan Woll "Three Proposals for Supporting and Facilitating Production".

An Alliance for the Media Arts in America. Founding conference for National Alliance of Media Arts Centers in Boulder, CO. May 29-31, 1980. Conference report published by the Rocky Mountain Film Center.

Over 130 participants from the field. By -laws were approved for NAMAC's organizational structure, and 17 distinct projects were identified. The 1980-81 Board of Directors Chair was Robert Haller (Anthology Film Archives). The staff Director for the Boulder conference was Virgil Grillo (Rocky Mountain Film Center). NYS member organizations included AIVF, American Federation of Arts, Anthology Film Archives, Astoria Studios, Chamba Educational Film Services, Collective for Living Cinema, Film Forum, The Film Fund, Film Society of Lincoln Center, Global Village, Independent Feature Project, The Kitchen, Media Study/Buffalo, Millennium, Museum of Modern Art, New COmmunity Cinema, New Medium, Non-Theatrical Film Distributors, Portable Channel, Synapse, Third World Newsreel, TV Lab at WNET, Whitney Museum, Women's Interart Center, Women Make Movies, Young Filmmakers. NAMAC's objectives recognized the needs for the field to act in concert on a national level to achieve an advocacy for the diversity of the media arts, to increase communications and information sharing across all regions, to develop programs which mutually assist members, and to advocate and inform the public about the value of the independent media arts. The 17 project areas defined at the conference included: feasibility study for a media arts center computer network; a survey of postproduction needs; a sruvey of filmmaker's lab needs; model national touring project; feasibility of a NAMAC marketplace; touring exhibitions of film and video; information exchange; state arts council funding of media; mailing list exchange; study of media arts activity; newsletter; study of educational issues.

An Alliance for the Media Arts in America. A Report on the formation of the National Alliance of Media Arts Centers and its founding conference in Boulder Colorado May 29-31, 1980. Text by Robert Haller and Virgil Grillo. Report published by the Rocky Mountain Film Center.

Group Name: 
National Association of Media Arts Centers
Group Dates: 
1980 - present
Group Location: 
Boulder, Colorado and other U.S. locations