A LITTLE ABOUT OUR HISTORY
The Film program was founded in 1941 by Hans Richter, a revolutionary artist who was a major force in redefining art and film in the 20th century. He was best known for his contributions to Dadaism, Surrealism, and New American Cinema Movement. Richter was author of a first-hand account of the Dada movement entitled Dada: Art and Anti-Art.
Born in Berlin, Hans Richter moved to Switzerland, where he was associated with the founding of the Dada movement. During the 1920s, he created the breakthrough abstract animated film “Rhythmus 21,” followed by the Dada classic “Ghosts Before Breakfast.” After the Nazis forced him out of Europe in 1941, Richter came to the United States and served as director of the newly formed Institute of Film Techniques, the first film school in the United States. Over the next 17 years teaching at City College, Richter influenced generations of American filmmakers by opening their eyes to documentary, experimental and European art films. The Institute of Film Techniques eventually developed into our current BFA Program in Film/Video.
In 1999, the Master of Fine Arts program was founded to promote diverse voices in documentary and fiction filmmaking. The program distinguishes itself by its faculty, comprised entirely of working filmmakers, and its emphasis on cultivating independent and original visual story-tellers. Within six years we had our first Oscar-winning film, with several more Oscars and Emmys to follow, quite an achievement for a small program with only 25 students per graduating class.
Voice of Hans Richter, excerpted from the film Hans Richter: Everything Turns–Everything Revolves by CCNY faculty member Dave Davidson.