Chuck Kleinhans Collection

Collection Items

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August Nights
August Nights
May 1980
[Outside the Biograph Theater]
[Outside the Biograph Theater]
Rhino BBQ
Rhino BBQ
[Camera Test with JoAnn Elam]
[Camera Test with JoAnn Elam]
circa 1978
Julia - Urbana - Apt. - Light Pattern - Leg/feet
Julia - Urbana - Apt. - Light Pattern - Leg/feet
circa 1983
Logan Square - Various
Logan Square - Various
circa 1978
Bad Boy
Bad Boy
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Items with Viewable Media
Collection Identifier
Extent of Collection
92 reels of Super-8mm film totaling approximately 17,890 feet; 11 reels of 8mm film totaling approximately 3675 feet; 9 reels of 16mm film totaling approximately 1125 feet; 3 open reel videos; and 2 DVDs.
Language Of Materials
Custodial History
The collection was stored in the home of Chuck Kleinhans and Julia Lesage; first in Evanston, IL, then in Eugene, OR.
Related Materials
Papers and ephemera related to Kleinhans' scholarly and editorial career were donated to the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research and are part of the Chuck Kleinhans and Julia Lesage Collection. Topics represented in the collection include experimental film, women/gender/sexuality in film, African American film, and much more. Additionally, the catalogs and programs in this collection, many from activist filmmaking collectives or festivals, track film culture’s intersections with social and political movements in the United States, and Kleinhans’ teaching and research materials show how scholars strived to understand and promote such films.

Kleinhans' primary source material relating to his research on pornography was donated to the Sexual Representation Collection at the Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto.
Access Restrictions
This collection is open to on-site access. Appointments must be made with Chicago Film Archives. Due to the fragile nature of the films, only video copies will be provided for on-site viewing.
Use Restrictions
CFA holds the rights to the films in this collection.
Kleinhans, Charles (was created by)
Charles "Chuck" Kleinhans (October 2, 1942–December 14, 2017) was a scholar and experimental filmmaker who long called Chicago home. Kleinhans was a highly influential film scholar, particularly in the areas of political documentary, experimental and avant-garde film, and sexual representation.

Kleinhans was born in a working-class neighborhood of Chicago. In the early 1950s, his family moved to suburban Park Ridge and he attended Maine Township High School. He earned a BA in comparative literature in 1964 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which was a ripe environment for Kleinhans to explore his burgeoning interests in film, alternative theater, and left-wing politics. After graduating, he spent two years serving in the Navy, where he often worked as a projectionist, screening popular films over and over again for the troops.

Once his service ended in 1966, he entered the comparative literature graduate program at Indiana University. While in Bloomington, Kleinhans met his partner, fellow leftist filmmaker and scholar Julia Lesage. Along with John Hess, Kleinhans and Lesage co-founded Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media in 1974. Jump Cut has continued to be published annually since, making it one of the longest-running politically engaged film journals. Featuring reportage, reviews, original research and analytical articles, Jump Cut is considered to be one of the most influential publications on the subject of film, and is emblematic of the era of the New Left.

After completing his PhD in 1973, Kleinhans returned home to Chicago where Lesage had a position at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He worked an assortment of odd jobs until he was hired to lecture in Northwestern University's Radio–TV–Film Department in 1977. He was Associate Professor of Film Studies at Northwestern for 32 years, where he taught a wide range of courses. A beloved educator, the Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS) chose Kleinhans for its very first award for outstanding pedagogical achievement in 2007.

As a filmmaker, Kleinhans had a "special interest in radical use of consumer technology." He was a friend and collaborator to 8mm filmmaker JoAnn Elam; together, they wrote the Small Gauge Manifesto, declaring "Small gauge film is not larger than life, it’s part of life." Kleinhans, Lesage, and Elam were all part of the "Logan Square Rhinos," a collective of small gauge filmmakers and friends who would gather frequently to show each other their work. Kleinhans' films and videos have been shown at Chicago Filmmakers, Artists' Space in New York, Cinema Action in London, and on various college campuses throughout the U.S.


IT'S NOT MADE BY GREAT MEN, 16mm version, color, sound, 3 min. Nov 1985.

MEN, MEN, MEN, Super 8, color, sound, 8 min. Jan 1982.

STOPPING BY THE TOLLROAD; THE NO WALKING TRIP; FUN, Super 8, color, silent, 12 min. August 1981.

IF YOU LOOK REALLY HARD..., Super 8, color, silent, 20 min. June 1981.

EVERYBODY'S TRANCE FILM, Super 8, b&w/color, 10 min. Mar 1981.

IT'S NOT MADE BY GREAT MEN, Super 8, color, sound, 3 min. Jan 1981.

FRED BARNEY TAYLOR, A PORTRAIT, Super 8, color, silent, 3 min. June 1980.

AT HOME IN LOGAN SQUARE (with Dan Curry), Super 8, color, sound, 20 min. June 1980.

AUGUST NIGHTS, Super 8, b&w, sound, 15 min. May 1980.

INTERIORS, Super 8, b&w&color, silent, 12 min. Apr 1980.

THE JERRY LEWIS LABOR DAY TELETHON (with Liz Schillinger), Super 8, color, sound, 15 min. Apr 1980.

BACK PORCH, Super 8, b&w&color, sound, 18 min. Mar 1980.

THREE LYRIC FILMS: SAPPHO'S BLUE DREAM, BEACH, MEAT, Super 8, color, silent, 12 min. Jan 1980.

THE BLIZZARD OF '79, Super 8, b&w/color, silent, 12 min. Oct 1979.

DICTATORSHIP OF THE PROLETARIAT, Super 8, color, sound, 2.5 min. Sept 1979.

THE TEN MILLION DOLLAR BASH, Super 8, b&w/color, sound, 24 min. June 1979.

SHIRLEY AND BRUCE, Super 8, b&w/color, sound, 22 min. May 1979.

SOMETIMES I ALMOST THINK I CAN SEE IT, Super 8, b&w/color, silent, 20 min.  May 1979.

PEDESTRIAN WAVELENGTH, Super 8, b&w/color, silent, 14 min. Mar 1979.

BRIDGE, Super 8, color, silent, 8 min. July 1978.

NAZI LEADER, Super 8, b&w/color, silent, 1 min. May 1978.