Amos Vogel, champion of American film culture and co-founder of the New York Film Festival, died Tuesday in New York City. He was 91. The Vienna native moved to the United States with his parents in 1938. He and his late wife Marcia founded Cinema 16, a forum for documentary, experimental and political films. The avant garde film club introduced Manhattan movie lovers to the likes of Kenneth Anger, John Cassavetes, Maya Deren, Carlos Saura, Nagisa Oshima, Roman Polanski and Agnes Varda as well as many others. “If you’re looking for the origins of film culture in America, look no further than Amos Vogel,” said director Martin Scorsese, in a statement to the Film Society of Lincoln Center. “Amos opened the doors to every possibility in film viewing, film exhibition, film curating, film appreciation. He was also unfailingly generous, encouraging and supportive of so many young filmmakers, including me when I was just starting to make my first pictures. No doubt about it – the man was a giant.” Vogel in 1963 co-founded the New York Film Festival with Richard Roud, serving as program director during its first five years. He shifted to teaching and launched the Annenberg Cinematheque at the University of Pennsylvania. He published Film As a Subversive Art, a collection of illustrations and essays, in 1974. He also wrote the 1963 children’s book How Little Lori Visited Times Square, which featured illustrations by Maurice Sendak. Vogel died surrounded by family in the Washington Square apartment he shared with his wife who died in 2009.
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