George Kuchar, Experimental Filmmaker, Dies at 69

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Kuchar's low-budget, camp films are said to have inspired John Waters and Andy Warhol.

Experimental filmmaker George Kuchar died of prostate cancer Tuesday. He was 69.

Kuchar made more than 500 films and video, often alongside his twin brother, Mike, with whom he lived in San Francisco's Mission District for more than 30 years. They moved from New York City's The Bronx in 1971, when Kuchar became a teacher at the San Francisco Art Institute.

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"Without my brother, it's going to be strange," his sole survivor, Mike, tells the San Francisco Chronicle.  "But he acted in his later productions, so in some ways his image and spirit and soul is still very much alive."

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Kuchar asked that there be no service, preferring to say his goodbyes while in hospice care, the Chronicle reports. Cinematic retrospectives are being planned throughout the Bay Area.

Kuchar's films, often shot with little to no budget, are said to have inspired John Waters and Andy Warhol. They include I Was a Teenage Rumpot (1960), Hold Me While I'm Naked (1966), The Devil's Cleavage (1975) and Insanitorium (1987).

"George's movies were funny, but if you looked deep enough you'd recognize the upsetting things we all deal with as humans," San Francisco documentary filmmaker Jennifer Kroot tells the Chronicle.

"George would just make pictures about how he felt and how he interpreted things around him and although they have an element of camp, it was not yet an appreciated art form," adds his brother Mike.

George and Mike Kuchar were honored with a lifetime achievement award at the San Francisco Frameline Festival in 2009.

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