In 1979, at the urging of Fraoncoyse Picard of the Canada Council Film Office, a group of Vancouver-based filmmakers began talking about the possibility of forming a cooperative. To begin, a small group began to meet and discuss the idea of forming an organization that could represent the interests of Vancouver-based filmmakers. Calling themselves ‘the Vancouver Un-cooperative,’ they sent filmmakers Al Razutis and Gordon Kidd to represent the West Coast at a national conference in Mont St. Marie, Quebec. When the two reported back it was agreed among a group of very differently-minded filmmakers that Vancouver would benefit from having a film co-operative that could tap into the national network of film activity.
After many arguments, conversations, and meetings, the group formed as Terminal Cine in 1980 around a co-operative membership that aimed at supporting film production and serving as a voice for West Coast-based independent filmmakers.
The late 1970s was a time of frequent collaboration among artist-run centres in Vancouver. Terminal Cine’s members had close relationships with previously established artist-run centres such as PUMPS (where Gordon Kidd lived), the Western Front (where Peg Cambell was one of Dr. Brute’s Leopard Ladies, a persona collective sited at the Front) and Video Inn (where Peg Campbell sat on the board). Many members of the collective were involved in these centres in various ways, and Video Inn is remembered as having provided a particularly formative model to use in organizing the production and distribution needs of Vancouver’s filmmakers.
The founding group of artists comprised two documentary filmmakers, Peg Campbell and Justine Bizzocchi and several experimental filmmakers, including: Byron Black, Madeline Duff, Chris Gallagher, Gordon Kidd, Peter Lipskis, Al Razutis, and David Rimmer.
Terminal Cine, named after ‘Terminal City’ in reference to the City of Vancouver, shared a space on West Pender at Richards Street with the Canadian Filmmakers’ Distribution Centre (CFMDC), which later became Canadian Filmmaker’s Distribution West (CFDW). The location housed a distribution centre in the front, a screening room in the middle, and a production studio and office in the back. In 1981, as the organization got ready to incorporate it was renamed Cineworks, a term coined by cooperative member Chris Gallagher. The name references a commitment to the role of the average working filmmaker and the purpose of the cooperative focus on the production of cinematic works. At this time co-op membership was limited to 25 people, each of whom had to have made at least one film.
Cineworks became incorporated, and after one year the film co-op applied for and received its first Canada Council grant of $30,000.
Cineworks’ first major project was organizing a West Coast Independent film package representative of members’ films called Art for Consenting Adults. A national tour of the package was arranged, and included a previously censored work by Al Razutis called A Message From Our Sponsor. The film project, assembled as a strong stance against censorship, never toured because of continued denial by the Ontario censor board, whose decision affected works travelling through all provinces. This act of censorship unified the group of filmmakers. In response to this, A Message From Our Sponsor was shown at an illegal screening, an act for which Razutis was arrested. Others in the collective actively lobbied against film censorship. Ultimately the case against Razutis was dropped.
In 1986, after years of planning, Cineworks relocated to its current location at the Pacific Cine Centre in a shared space with the Pacific Cinematheque.
Founding Artists and First Board of Directors
The date Cineworks opened
The first location of Cineworks
West Pender and Richards
in a shared building space with CFMDC West
The original objectives of Cineworks
- To provide a meeting place for filmmakers to gain information and exchange ideas.
– To assemble a post-production facility for editing independent non-commercial films.
– To hold workshops – for members to increase their filmic knowledge and critical awareness; and for the public to have an alternative place to gain film experience. These workshops will be given by our members and visiting artists.
– To form study groups for discussion and reports in areas of interest and concern to our members.
– To exhibit films, both local and international, in liason with other film co-ops, that stimulate discussion and awareness of independent film production.
Cineworks 10th Anniversary Resource Handbook (1990)
Cineworks 2000: Twenty Years of Independent Filmmaking in British Columbia (2000)
Table of Contents
Part 1: A Brief History
Cineworks Beginnings (A Personal Chronology) by Peg Campbell
Anarchy and Imagecraft in the Morbid Matrix
How about Howe?
Little Mountain, An Election from the Inside
Bridge: Cineworks Centennial Project
Regeneration: In Production
A Cineworks Premiere
Workshops: Sally Potter
It’s A Party
Pacific Cine Centre… A Reality
Closing the Gap
National Film Day
Directing Workshop: Atom Egoyan
Part 2: In THeir Own Words
It’s A Cineworks Life, by Mina Shum
Michael Apted, and 28 Up, by Russel Stephens
A Light in the Dark, by Alex MacKenzie
Paradoxical Anomalies, an interview with Oliver Hockenhull
No Budget Filmmaking, by Velcrow Ripper
Part 3: Meet the Filmmakers
Phillip M.J. Bacon
Matthew J. Blecha
Loreto (Larry) Di Stefano
Tod Van Dyk
Cees van Muiswinkel
Cineworks Films 1980 to 2000
Cineworks Members 1980 to 2000
Afterword: Fugitive Events, by Colin Browne
Cineworks has a library (an ongoing project) of approximately 600 discreet items – films on DVD, VHS, and film that is housed at their office. Members (roughly 250) are allowed to access this library for research or viewing if they are supervised. Inquiries regarding specific films are taken and investigated by the Programs Manager and Curator. Extensive materials related to the programming history of Cineworks are filed related to programming that spans 30 years of the organization’s history.