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Underground film pioneer to attend screening at West campus

January 14, 2010

The public is invited to a free screening of the documentary “It Came From Kuchar” and recent short films by legendary underground filmmaker George Kuchar, Feb. 6, at Arizona State University’s West campus. The George Kuchar Film Symposium, featuring an appearance by Kuchar, begins at 5 p.m., in the Kiva lecture hall in the Sands Classroom Building at 4701 W. Thunderbird Road in Phoenix. The films to be screened are not rated; they contain adult content.

The 90-minute documentary “It Came From Kuchar” will be screened at 5 p.m.  At 6:30 p.m., Kuchar will introduce his recent short films. Kuchar also will be available for questions and discussion with audience members.

“It Came From Kuchar,” directed by Kuchar protégé Jennifer M. Kroot, made its debut to a sold-out audience at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas, last March. In September it was selected as Best Documentary at the Chicago Underground Film Festival.

“We’re pleased to give members of the ASU community and Valley film buffs the chance to meet this pioneer who influenced filmmakers including John Waters, Buck Henry, Atom Egoyan, Guy Maddin and Wayne Wang, all of whom are interviewed in ‘It Came From Kuchar,’” says ASU student Rebecca Martos, president of the Interdisciplinary Arts and Performance (IAP) Club on the West campus. The IAP Club is sponsoring the symposium in collaboration with the Division of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies in ASU’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences. Also sponsoring the event is No Festival Required, a Phoenix-based organization dedicated to promoting and supporting independent film programming.

George Kuchar and his twin brother, Mike Kuchar, began making films at the age of 12, recording with their aunt’s 8mm camera, using family and friends as actors and their Bronx neighborhood as their set. In the early 1960s, alongside Andy Warhol, the Kuchar brothers shaped the New York underground film scene. The two became known as the “8mm Mozarts.” Their films were noticeably different from other underground films of the time. The Kuchars’ films were wildly funny, but also human and vulnerable.

Since 1971, George Kuchar has taught in the film department of the San Francisco Art Institute. “It Came From Kuchar” director Kroot met Kuchar when she attended the school, and he became her mentor.

According to a review in Variety, “‘It Came From Kuchar’ gleefully piles on everything anyone could want in a documentary on the fabulous Kuchar brothers, whose deliriously campy zero-budget melodramas enlivened many otherwise somber evenings of ‘60s underground cinema. Critics and aficionados seek to distill the essence of the twins’ work, while clips from the films in question unspool in a fever dream of compelling non sequiturs.” The Austin Chronicle describes “It Came From Kuchar” as “wickedly engrossing.”

Additional information about the documentary is available at

The IAP Club on ASU’s West campus is planning two additional film events during the Spring 2010 semester; details are forthcoming. Call (602) 543-2787 for more information.