Back in 1953, American photographer Bob Mizer began making short physique films to supplement his growing photo studio called Athletic Model Guild. These films, and the thousands that would follow, would eventually become the largest archive of moving images by a single artist in the world. The films range from posing films to short story and fantasy films to full length features by the 1970s. They span genres from westerns to sci-fi to teen melodramas to wrestling, with characters ranging from gladiators, bandits, scientists, doctors, magicians, to juvenile delinquents. Within a few years of his launch, he had his own Hollywood type studio system, and created a demand for beefcake films that hundreds of other photographers would soon copy.
Our Past Kickstarter
Almost two years ago, we at the Bob Mizer Foundation launched a Kickstarter project that was about archiving a portion of the million still photographs and negatives that Mizer created in his lifetime. With that funding, we were able to acquire needed supplies to hold this vast amount of material. In doing so, shocking discoveries were made about the models, the work, and about Bob. These discoveries are currently on exhibit at New York University’s 80 Washington Square East gallery [80WSE], along with nearly 400,000 negatives that are being archived by NYU interns and volunteers as part of the installation. A piece in the New York Times says, “the exhibit of 45 photographs works rather as a corrective to the idea of Mizer as only a beefcakemonger. It makes a good case as an artist with interests and imagination considerably more expansive than what his popular reputation suggests." Looking deep into Mizer’s work, we discover that limiting his output to only that of a gay pornographer insults his greater vision and legacy.
Our Next Kickstarter
It’s your contributions to the past Kickstarter that made all this possible. Now, as we move on to the next phase of the archiving effort, our new project focuses on Mizer’s film work. Mizer produced and shot about 3000 short films and 2500 3-hour videos in his lifetime. That amounts to over 8000 hours of film. It would take just short of a full year watching them nonstop to see everything. Mizer used tongue-in-cheek titles such as Sailor Ala Carte, Slave at the Roman Bath, Street Fight, Soldier & the Yogi, Surfer & The Hodad and Strongman and the Farm Boys, just to pull a few titles from the “S” catalog.
This project will produce a series of 10 DVD compilations to become part of the Bob Mizer Foundation Film Archive, by digitizing and remastering a number of films that will equal approximately 15 hours of footage, or about 90 minutes per DVD. This will create new permanent master digital negatives for the Foundation, and also make these films available to the public for the first time in decades.
The original film negatives are still in the same film cans where Mizer stored them, tucked away in his original tomato boxes, although now in a climate controlled environment. The films were last made available to the public over 40 years ago as 8mm copies, but our remastering from the original 16mm negatives far surpasses that in quality. From Mizer's original 3000 titles, there are approximately 10,000-15,000 actual film reels at the Foundation. These reels range from original 16mm camera negatives to 8mm and 16mm stock prints, to production internegatives, audio tapes and hundreds of boxes of short clips that were edited out of the final films. We will remaster and produce new digital negatives from the best source available.
Where does the money go?
Monies raised will go directly to pay for the digital capture of the films by Movette Film Transfer, a master lab in San Francisco that we have used for earlier DVD compilations that specializes in handing archival film footage. The budget also allows for a purchase of modern archival cans for these film reels, and Mizer's original cans will be retired after half a century of use. We have volunteers and interns that are eager to assist in the actual remastering and DVD authoring, and no money will pay for labor. All funds will be used directly to preserve these films. Future proceeds from the DVDs go back into the Mizer Foundation, to be available to remaster future films.
Our posted goal will not remaster all 3000 film titles. But it will fund the digitization and remastering of about 150 of them, ranging in length from 5 - 25 minutes in length. While it would be amazing to raise the entire amount needed to archive Mizer's entire catalog, we believe that amount is currently below our social media and support level. But our posted goal will allow us to get a broad selection completed and available to the public, and then we can perhaps do another KickStarter to get another chunk done.
What your money will be going towards:
- High Definition digital capture using state of the art technology.
- New Tuscan or Stil brand film cans, breathable and archival to hold the film cores for another 100+ years.
- DVD pressing replication
If we go over our goal, we will simply archive and remaster more films. We calculate it could eventually take nearly $200,000 to remaster all the titles properly. Right now, we are taking this in smaller bites. With your funding help through KickStarter, we’ll be able to move forward on the entirety of this project with less of a funding hurdle.
How can I help? Hit the green button on the upper right corner of the page. Simple as that. Select your donation amount and the page will take you to the Amazon checkout page. The Amazon checkout must be completed for the donation to be recorded.
Bob Mizer Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, so you know what that means regarding your donation....pssst, it's tax deductible...
What else can I do? Tell everyone you know! Like us on Facebook, retweet us on Twitter! Even if you cannot donate, let us in on your social media network. The greatest strength you have is the people you know. Help us spread the word.
How can I find out more? For a deeper understanding of who Bob Mizer and Athletic Model Guild are, and so we don't have to repeat ourselves, please see our website and our 2012 KickStarter page from this link: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/den-bell/the-1000000-photos-of-bob-mizers-athletic-model-gu Everything you want to know is there.
Here's a little more info on the REWARDS:
- $40 --- You'd be rewarded with at least one of the new DVD compilations at at the tax-deductible $40 level. These new titles retail at $49.95. Here is a photo of other titles currently in the Foundation Film Archive series.
- $500 --- You'd be rewarded with at one of the original film cans at the tax-deductible $500 level, as see in the video, along with a Certificate of Authenticity from the Mizer Foundation. As the films are moved to new cans, the old cans will be retired, but will remain with the Foundation as Mizer's artifacts. These will rarely be released to the public, but will certainly take part in future museum exhibitions.
- $1000 --- You'd be rewarded with dinner with Dennis Bell, Foundation President, and volunteers involved in the archiving process at the at the tax-deductible $1000 level. You'd need to come to the San Francisco Bay Area for this. In addition, you'll receive a tour of Mizer's photographic archive and have the choice to spend the day with us archiving Mizer's negatives.
- $5000 --- In addition to everything above, you'll receive a limited edition Foundation print that was exhibited in New York's Invisible-Exports Gallery in 2013 at the tax-deductable $5000 level. These are the most beautiful prints that have ever been produced from a Mizer negative. Griffin Editions, a premier custom lab in New York produces these prints for top photographers around the country like Nan Goldin, Bruce Weber and others to make a very strong client list. The prints were exhibited in New York in January 2013, and we still have a few higher level editions left. See more on that show at the Invisible-Exports website.
- $10000 --- It would be amazing to reach our goal in one tax-deductable donation. Think of how much further this archiving effort will proceed! For this, not only will you have our eternal gratitude and an exhibition print from the Invisible-Export show, you'll receive a one-of-kind Mizer catalog board from the 1950s/60s. Two of these were recently purchased acquired by the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, to become part of the exhibition "Bob Mizer & Tom of Finland" at LA MOCA. This is a rare chance to own a piece of Mizer, something that will surely rise in value in the coming years.
See what the Bob Mizer Foundation has been doing:
New York Magazine: http://www.vulture.com/2013/10/bob-mizer-photographs-in-new-exhibits.html
LA Museum of Contemporary Art:http://www.moca.org/museum/exhibitiondetail.php?&id=487
Out Magazine: http://www.out.com/bob-mizer
Mousse Magazine: http://moussemagazine.it/bob-mizer-80wse/#more-44228
Risks and challenges
Every project has its risks. Films are notorious for them and this one is no different. But we are confident that risks, if any should appear, would be minimal as we have already produced 15 compilation DVDs of Mizer's films and we have established a confident workflow. It's only the funding for the digitizing/remastering process that is lacking.
Take a look at our past DVD compilations, which are on sale during this KickStarter for only $10 each, so you can better see our end result.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (60 days)