(Photo courtesy of Sticking Place Films)
Amos Vogel, the co-founder of the New York Film Festival and creator of Manhattan film club Cinema 16, died at home in New York City on Tuesday (April 24). He was 91.
Born in Vienna, Vogel left Austria with his parents in 1938 and moved to the United States. Along with his wife Marcia, he founded Cinema 16, a forum for documentary, experimental and political films. Over the years, the film club would introduce the city’s cinema goers to filmmakers such as Kenneth Anger, John Cassavetes, Maya Deren, Carlos Saura, Nagisa Oshima, Roman Polanski and Agnes Varda, among many others.
“If you’re looking for the origins of film culture in America, look no further than Amos Vogel,” said director Martin Scorsese, in a statement given to the Film Society of Lincoln Center. “Amos opened the doors to every possibility in film viewing, film exhibition, film curating, film appreciation. He was also unfailingly generous, encouraging and supportive of so many young filmmakers, including me when I was just starting to make my first pictures. No doubt about it – the man was a giant.”
In 1963, he co-founded the The New York Film Festival with Richard Roud and served as program director for its first five years. He moved into teaching and started the Annenberg Cinematheque at the University of Pennsylvania, where he also taught.
In 1974, he published Film As a Subversive Art, a collection of illustrations and essays, and also wrote the 1963 children’s book How Little Lori Visited Times Square, which featured illustrations by Maurice Sendak.
Vogel died surrounded by family in the Washington Square apartment he shared with his late wife Marcia, who passed away in 2009.