The American Genre Film Archive (AGFA) is located in Austin, Texas. AGFA exists to preserve the legacy of genre movies through collection, conservation, and distribution.
Formed in 2009, AGFA focuses on outlaw exploitation movies that were produced from the 1960s through the 1990s. From manic hicksploitation epics to bloodthirsty shoestring goreblasts, each title in AGFA's collection is a celebration of culture that should never be forgotten. Housing over six thousand 35mm film prints and trailers, our non-profit archive counts among its board members and advisors Alamo Drafthouse founders Tim and Karrie League, filmmakers Nicolas Winding Refn and Paul Thomas Anderson, and Austin area film programmers and movie fans.
Mike Vraney founded Something Weird Video in 1990. Sadly, he passed away in 2014 after a long, heroic battle with lung cancer. Legendary exploitation warlock David F. Friedman deemed Vraney "the forty-first thief," which was the ultimate compliment to this exploiteer. Vraney dedicated his life to unearthing and preserving the most radically insane exploitation and horror movies of all time. He introduced multiple generations to the works of Herschell Gordon Lewis, Doris Wishman, David F. Friedman, Barry Mahon, Michael and Roberta Findlay, and Fredric C. Hobbs. Vraney's contribution to preserving the world's most deranged cultural milestones can never be overstated. Something Weird Video changed the way that we understand movies.
Now it's our turn to give something back.
AGFA has started working with Something Weird’s Lisa Petrucci, Mike Vraney’s widow and partner, to redistribute titles from the massive 35mm film collection.
Vraney’s hard work should never be forgotten. And access is a crucial part of preservation. The movies that Something Weird unearthed are meant to be played. These movies come to life when audiences enjoy them. Each year, AGFA loans hundreds of prints to arthouse institutions, film societies, festivals, libraries, and universities. A fundamental component of our mission is to make sure that people watch these movies. But film prints have a limited lifespan. Like human beings, all prints are inevitably headed to the dumpster. However, with proper storage and care, we can prolong the lives of these prints and ensure that the movies themselves endure the ravages of time. In order to share these treasures, AGFA is undertaking a new initiative.
Our mission is to raise completion funds for a 4K film scanner to digitally transfer original film elements from the Something Weird collection, as well as one-of-a-kind obscurities in the AGFA archive.
AGFA will partner with Drafthouse Films -- the distribution arm of the Alamo Drafthouse -- to share these movies in theaters, on home video, and on VOD platforms. While AGFA is dedicated to 35mm preservation, we also want to make sure that these movies are accessible to as many people as possible.
The first title that AGFA will preserve from the Something Weird collection is Tom Hanson's THE ZODIAC KILLER. Released in 1971, the movie was made in hopes of capturing the real-life Zodiac Killer. The plan didn’t work. Instead, we got the most outrageous and compelling “tabloid horror” vortex in the history of planet Earth. And beyond.
Did you know that the Zodiac Killer wore Groucho glasses while stalking his victims? Did you know that the Zodiac’s pet rabbits commanded him to kill during black mass rituals? Did you also know that the Zodiac might have been a man named Grover who attempted to kidnap his daughter while brandishing a hand saw? You won’t get insight like this by watching a David Fincher movie. But you will get it while watching THE ZODIAC KILLER.
Balancing cinéma vérité grimness with outta-this-world absurdity, THE ZODIAC KILLER is an ultra-bizarro time capsule and a crown jewel in the Something Weird treasure chest. It is AGFA's duty to preserve incredible works like this. THE ZODIAC KILLER is peerless. It deserves to be seen. Forever.
To make this happen, we need your help.
The American Genre Film Archive exists because of a tangible need. AGFA has saved 35mm film prints from landfills, incinerators, and from being literally tossed into the ocean. Every act of heroism that goes into the maintenance of the collection is done by people who believe in AGFA and the future of exploitation film preservation. All of the work at AGFA happens on a shoestring -- or no-shoestring -- budget. If you love movies, you love AGFA . . . even if you've never heard of it. If you recognize the inherent fun of movies, AGFA is probably the only archive out there that feels the same way.
So step forward, fellow weirdos!
NOW IS THE TIME TO ACT!
Help AGFA keep the legacy of Something Weird Video alive for all eternity! Or at least the next few hundred years.
Risks and challenges
We have no doubt that the support of likeminded genre movie enthusiasts will allow us to actualize this labor of love. The film elements are in-house and the passion is in our hearts -- all hands are on deck to make it a reality.
Welcoming a 4K film scanner to the AGFA archive is a new undertaking. But no matter how large the learning curve, we are prepared to conquer it and begin sharing newly preserved titles from the Something Weird collection in 2016.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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