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Breathdeath By Stan Vanderbeek

7 October 2017 6:02 PM, PDT

Breathdeath by Stan Vanderbeek (1963).

At the Exprmntl 3 film competition at Knokke-le-Zoute, Belgium in 1963, Breathdeath tied for 2nd place with Gregory Markopoulos‘s Twice a Man. Both men took home $2,000 in prize money.

In An Introduction to the American Underground Film, Sheldon Renan classifies Breathdeath as a “protest film,” which was a minority of underground film genre at the time. Renan also describes Breathdeath as a “collage of film technique” and considers it Vanderbeek’s best film. Throughout the book, Renan gives different completion years, both 1963-64 and just 1964. Although, in the film’s on-screen text, Vanderbeek gave the film a 1963 copyright. (See below.) (Stephen Dwoskin’s Film Is also gives Breathdeath a completion year of 1964; as does the film’s listing on the Film-makers’ Coop website.)

According to a document published in Scott MacDonald’s Canyon Cinema, in 1970, Breathdeath was one of five films acquired by the Australian National Library’s study collection. »

- Mike Everleth

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