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At the Academy

A found-footage film made entirely from the countdown leader that is normally used to cue the start of films.

Animation & Artists Moving Image 1974 5 mins


This film makes use of found footage that has been manipulated by hand on a simple home-made contact printer, and processed in a kitchen sink. The same film strip was superimposed and re-printed several times over to create a complex layering of both image and sound. Its raw material and only imagery is the countdown that usually cues the beginning of a film, widely known as Academy leader. At The Academy is representative of the emphasis on film material and process in early films produced at the LFMC, where Guy Sherwin ran the film workshop in the mid-1970s.

Founded in 1966, the London Film-Makers’ Co-operative started life at Better Books, a counter-culture bookshop on Charing Cross Road, where a group led by poet Bob Cobbing and filmmakers Stephen Dwoskin and Jeff Keen met to screen films. Initially inspired by the activities of the New American Cinema Group in New York, the London Co-op grew into a pioneering organisation that incorporated a film workshop, cinema space and distribution office. During its four-decade history, the Co-op played a crucial role in establishing film as an art form in the UK and participated in a vibrant international film scene. This BFI Player collection brings together new scans of films distributed by and/or produced at the London Co-op.