Mike Kuchar Biography


Over the course of more than thirty years San Francisco based Mike Kuchar and his brother George have succeeded in creating their own perverse universe. The present nature of each brother's career is a staggering testament to independent filmmaking. Even with hundreds of films and videos between them, the consistency and continuity of their work is clear. Inspired by the Hollywood B movies of Roger Corman and the melodramas of Douglas Sirk, they have in turn inspired countless other filmmakers including such diverse Hollywood directors as John Waters, Tim Burton, Paul Morrisey, and Paul Bartell. Kuchar's successful technique of mixing no-budget filmmaking with no-talent acting and low-tech filmmaking is tied together with his unrelenting sense of humor.

Mike Kuchar and his twin brother George grew up together and became interested in film at the same time when, for their 12th birthday, they received a camera. It has always been an interest to Mike, and he and his brother have always related to movies. He and his brother would put on their own little stories with an 8mm camera. One time Mike and his brother took some home movies and glued them and edited them for the family to see. That is how Mike got into editing, by experimenting on his aunt's home movies, putting them together and making little sequences that follow logic. That was the early beginnings of it. They had closets of films by the time they were asked to publicly show them. Mike always shot 8mm films until he found out about the 16mm camera. He started to shoot 16mm in 1963 or 1964. Mike was working in the commercial field doing photo retouching for fashion ads when he got a Christmas bonus of 400 dollars. So he invested in a brand new 16mm Bolex camera.

With so many 8mm films he needed a change. In some of Mike's films he does the set designing and painting. It has been a hobby of his for a while. He does the artwork and whatever mattes and backgrounds are required. "I love doing it and I love doing film, so it's like incorporating all that together."

At 56 years old now these days, Mike Kuchar's movies rarely cost more than $100 to make. Along with his twin brother, George, he's something of a legend in certain circles.

Mike Kuchar