Berkeley's Pacific Film Archive Celebrates the Cult of George and Mike Kuchar


San Francisco underground filmmakers George and Mike Kuchar, longtime champions of B-movie sleaze and campy, made-on-the-cheap melodrama, have influenced cutting-edge auteurs as stylistically diverse as John Waters, Andy Warhol and Atom Egoyan.

Beginning Friday and running through Saturday, June 25, the twins and their winking parodies of horror and sci-fi will take center stage at the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley, where the Cult of the Kuchars will feature roughly two-dozen productions culled from more than half a century of their wonderfully strange cinematic endeavors.

It was in 1954, at age 12, that the Kuchars first picked up a camera and began shooting 8mm shorts inspired by the B-movie schlock they took in at their neighborhood theater in the Bronx. A decade later, they would find themselves at the forefront of the burgeoning underground New York cinema scene, best known for 16mm productions including the futuristic sci-fi fantasy Sins of the Fleshapoids (1965) and the 15-minute camp comedy classic Hold Me While I'm Naked (1966).

Although the twins ultimately went their separate ways, Mike staying to build a modest but significant cinematic empire in New York and George accepting a teaching position at the San Francisco Art Institute, they have been reunited on the West Coast since 2007. Both will be in attendance to present an eclectic mix of their films, from their earliest experiments to last year's Tummy Ache Time. Also featured:

Friday, June 10
Sins of the Fleshapoids (1965)
7 p.m. (with Mike Kuchar; preceded by 1962's Night of the Bomb)
Saturday, June 11
The Devil’s Cleavage (1973)
6 p.m. (with George Kuchar)

George Kuchar Selects: Burlesk King (1999)
8:35 p.m.
Wednesday, June 15
Beyond Melodrama: Short Films by George and Mike Kuchar
7 p.m. (with George and Mike Kuchar)

Sunday, June 19
Artist Friends: Videos by George and Mike Kuchar
4:30 p.m. (with George and Mike Kuchar)

Mike Kuchar Selects: Empty Canvas (1963)
6:50 p.m. (preceded by Mike Kuchar's short films Tryst and Dumped)
8mm Films by George and Mike Kuchar
7 p.m. (screening followed by George and Mike Kuchar in conversation with Gene Youngblood)
Saturday, June 25
Weather Diary 1 (1986)
6 p.m. (introduced by Gene Youngblood
, with George Kuchar in person; preceded by his 1992 short Award)

The Cult of the Kuchars is part of the Pacific Film Archive's ongoing series Afterimage: Filmmakers and Critics in Conversation. For more information, visit the Archive's official site.

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