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Finding Aid to the Serious Business Company Records, 1965-1983, bulk 1972-1983
BANC MSS 84/93 c  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Serious Business Company records
    Date (inclusive): 1965-1983,
    Date (bulk): bulk 1972-1983
    Collection Number: BANC MSS 84/93 c
    Creators : Bartlett, Freude, 1942-2009
    Extent: Number of containers: 8 cartons, 1 box and 1 oversize folder Linear feet: Approximately 10.6
    Repository: The Bancroft Library
    University of California, Berkeley
    Berkeley, California, 94720-6000
    Phone: (510) 642-6481
    Fax: (510) 642-7589
    Email: bancref@library.berkeley.edu
    URL: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/
    Abstract: Serious Business Company records consist of correspondence (letters, contracts and miscellany); publicity materials (brochures, programs, flyers, screening calendars, press clippings, photographs and negatives); and accounting and invoice statements from and to filmmakers. Also included are correspondence and documentation regarding film programs organized by Serious Business Company, correspondence with film programmers and organizations, and general business records.
    Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English
    Physical Location: Many of the Bancroft Library collections are stored offsite and advance notice may be required for use. For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

    Information for Researchers

    Access

    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 94720-6000. Consent is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission from the copyright owner. Such permission must be obtained from the copyright owner. See: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/reference/permissions.html. 
    Restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Serious Business Company Records, BANC MSS 84/93 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Alternate Forms Available

    There are no alternate forms of this collection.

    Related Collections

    Bruce Conner papers, 1940s-2010 (bulk 1960s-2008), BANC MSS 2000/50 c

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Serious Business Company
    Serious Business Company--Archives
    Bartlett, Freude
    Brakhage, Stan
    Broughton, James, 1913-1999
    Burkhardt, Rudy
    Clarke, Shirley, 1919-1997
    Conner, Bruce
    Cooper, Karen
    Cruikshank, Sally
    Graves, Nancy Stevenson, 1940-1995
    Hammer, Barbara
    Hutton, Peter, 1944-
    Jordan, Larry, 1934-
    Kuchar, George, 1942-
    Lyon, Danny
    Nelson, Gunvor
    O'Neill, Pat, 1939-
    Potter, Sally, 1949-
    Praunheim, Rosa von, 1942-
    Schneemann, Carolee, 1939-
    Severson, Anne
    Strand, Chick
    Animated films
    Documentary films
    Experimental films
    Feminism--United States
    Feminist films
    Homosexuality in motion pictures
    Independent films
    Lesbianism in motion pictures

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The Serious Business Company records were gifted to The Bancroft Library by Freude Bartlett on December 6, 1984.

    Accruals

    No additions are expected.

    System of Arrangement

    Arranged to the container level.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Dean Smith in 2011.

    Biographical Information

    Freude Bartlett founded Serious Business Company in 1972 to distribute independent and experimental films. Born out of her initial forays in distributing her then husband, Scott Bartlett's experimental films in the late 1960s, Serious Business, "...began...at a time when I was heavily involved in the women's movement both in terms of ideological commitment and community work. It was a high energy period personally, which was reinforced by the support and energy of the movement. I had left my husband, I had a young child, and I had just started this business."1
    Freude, who went only by her first name and known for her infamous shock of frizzy red hair, also became a major force in nurturing and distributing feminist films of the 1970s. "At the time, no major commercial distributor specialized in avant-garde films or women's film...[and over the decade]...[t]he collection grew considerably - from an initial catalog of 40 films to over 250 titles...[the] range of subject matter broadened to include anthropology and social documentary, films for children, alternative healthcare films and a very large animation collection."2 Freude took great pride in owning and operating an all-women run business. She was also a filmmaker in her own right.
    Her roster featured an extensive array of important filmmakers, e.g.: James Broughton, Bruce Conner, Shirley Clarke, Gunvor Nelson, David Pies, Chick Strand, Pat O'Neill, Sally Cruikshank and Anne Severson among many others.
    Being one of only a tiny handful of distributors specializing in independent and experimental films, Freude developed extensive networks and important relationships with many film organizations across the nation, most notably with Karen Cooper, director of Film Forum in New York.
    By the early 1980s as funding sources for the arts dried up and lab costs steadily increased, distribution costs began to rise dramatically. Serious Business, in order to stay solvent, was often forced to pay shippers and labs first before filmmakers. This unfortunate situation was greeted with a mix of understanding and outrage from the many filmmakers that Freude distributed. Having tried her best to stave off such a financially untenable situation, Freude was forced to dissolve the business in 1983 under a cloud of bankruptcy. The end of Serious Business was seen a devastating blow by filmmakers, fellow distributors and film organizations. The golden age of independent and experimental film distribution was, essentially, finished.
    In 1986, Freude earned a Masters degree in Information Sciences at UC Berkeley and went on to found the communications firm Metropolis Media, whose clients included PC World, Intel, and non-profits whose goals she supported. She died of liver failure at her home in Oakland, California in January 2009.
    1 From an interview conducted by John Hess and Chuck Kleinhans on July 6, 1982.
    2 Ibid.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Serious Business Company records consist of correspondence (letters, contracts and miscellany); publicity materials (brochures, programs, flyers, screening calendars, press clippings, photographs and negatives); and accounting and invoice statements from and to filmmakers. Also included are correspondence and documentation regarding film programs organized by Serious Business Company, correspondence with film programmers and organizations, and general business records.