A filmmakers' co-operative is an
organisation created and run by, and for, independent
The main aim of such groups is to manage the distribution of works that do not fit into the accepted (commercial) models for cinema exhibition. The first co-op was formed in New York by Jonas Mekas and members of the New American Cinema Group in 1962.
The London Co-op, very much influenced by the New York model, developed out of discussions at informal screenings of the Cinema 65 film society in the Better Books shop on Charing Cross Road. Founder members included the poet Bob Cobbing, painter Paul Francis, filmmaker/activist Simon Hartog and the self-exiled American mystery-man Harvey Matusow.
Before the mid-1960s there was very little personal filmmaking in England. Steve Dwoskin, a real New York filmmaker recently arrived in London, was able to show what was possible, that there was an alternative to the industry. As more people took up cameras, the idea of starting a distribution agency became more necessary.