Ron Rice (born Charles Ronald Rice; 1935 in New York City – 1964 in Acapulco, Mexico) was an American experimental filmmaker, whose free-form style influenced experimental filmmakers in New York and California during the early 1960s.
Rice twice collaborated with future Warhol star Taylor Mead, including Rice's first and best-known film, The Flower Thief (1960). Created in 1959 for less than $1,000, it used World War II aerial gunnery 16mm film cartridges donated to Rice by Hollywood producer Sam Katzman. In 1962, it was seen by a large New York audience as a selection of Amos Vogel's Cinema 16.
Rice commented on his inventive approach:
In 2005, after muffled dialogue was restored by the Anthology Film Archives, Ed Halter reviewed the film for the Village Voice :
The 28-minute Senseless print was silent, but it played at New York's Charles Theater with Béla Bartók music. This was not planned; it just happened to be one of the few LP records in the projection booth. Each showing was slightly different since the record was never synched with the start of the film at the same place. Cary Collins provided background on the production:
"The film describes, poetically, a way of living. The film is a protest which is violent, childish, and sincere—a protest against an industrial world based on the cycle of production and consumption." — Alberto Moravia, L'espresso
Rice also worked with underground filmmaker Jack Smith, who appears in Queen of Sheba Meets the Atom Man with Taylor Mead, and in Chumlum . Rice was inspired to make Chumlum while working with Smith on the props for Smith's Normal Love . Chumlum also stars Mario Montez, who appeared in both of Smith's films, as well as several of Andy Warhol's films. Warhol superstar Gerard Malanga also has a role in Chumlum.
Rice's films can still be rented from the Filmmaker's Cooperative. His work paved the way for other experimental filmmakers of the 1960s, including the Kuchar brothers. All but forgotten today, Rice was a major figure of the New American Cinema, and his deeply personal, anarchic films are the work of a true cinematic visionary.
Rice was 29 when he died of pneumonia in Mexico in 1964.
Rice's Senseless was the winner of the 1962 Filmmaker's Award at New York's showcase of experimental cinema, the Charles Theater. The panel of judges included Variety columnist Herman G. Weinberg and actor Darren McGavin.
Chumlum was selected as one of the 330 films in Anthology Film Archives' Essential Cinema Repertory Collection as chosen by the selection committee of Stan Brakhage, James Broughton, Ken Kelman, Peter Kubelka, Jonas Mekas and P. Adams Sitney. 
Batman Dracula is a 1964 black and white American superhero fan film produced and directed by Andy Warhol without the permission of DC Comics, who owns the character Batman.
Jonas Mekas was a Lithuanian-American filmmaker, poet, and artist who has been called "the godfather of American avant-garde cinema" on many occasions. His work has been exhibited in museums and at festivals worldwide.
An underground film is a film that is out of the mainstream either in its style, genre, or financing.
Experimental film, experimental cinema, or avant-garde cinema is a mode of filmmaking that rigorously re-evaluates cinematic conventions and explores non-narrative forms or alternatives to traditional narratives or methods of working. Many experimental films, particularly early ones, relate to arts in other disciplines: painting, dance, literature and poetry, or arise from research and development of new technical resources.
Empire is a 1965 American black-and-white silent art film by Andy Warhol. When projected according to Warhol's specifications, it consists of eight hours and five minutes of slow motion footage of an unchanging view of New York City's Empire State Building. The film does not have conventional narrative or characters, and largely reduces the experience of cinema to the passing of time. Warhol stated that the purpose of the film was "to see time go by."
Anthology Film Archives is an international center for the preservation, study, and exhibition of film and video, with a particular focus on independent, experimental, and avant-garde cinema. The film archive and theater is located at 32 Second Avenue on the southeast corner of East 2nd Street, in a New York City historic district in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan.
Jack Smith was an American filmmaker, actor, and pioneer of underground cinema. He is generally acclaimed as a founding father of American performance art, and has been critically recognized as a master photographer, though his photographic works are rare and remain largely unknown.
René Rivera,, known professionally as Mario Montez, was one of the Warhol superstars, appearing in thirteen of Andy Warhol's underground films from 1964 to 1966. He took his name as a male homage to the actress Maria Montez, an important gay icon in the 1950s and 1960s. Before appearing in Warhol's films, he appeared in Jack Smith's important underground films Flaming Creatures and Normal Love. Montez also stars in the Ron Rice film Chumlum, made in 1964. Mario Montez, was "a staple in the New York underground scene of the 1960s and '70s."
Flaming Creatures is a 1963 American experimental film directed by Jack Smith. The film shows performers dressed in elaborate drag for several disconnected scenes, including a lipstick commercial, an orgy, and an earthquake. It premiered April 29, 1963 at the Bleecker Street Cinema in New York City.
Willard Maas was an American experimental filmmaker and poet.
Robert Marion Stewart, known as Bhob Stewart was an American writer, editor, cartoonist, filmmaker, and active fan who contributed to a variety of publications over a span of five decades. His articles and reviews appeared in TV Guide, Publishers Weekly, and other publications, along with online contributions to Allmovie, the Collecting Channel, and other sites. In 1980, he became the regular film columnist for Heavy Metal.
Taylor Mead was an American writer, actor and performer. Mead appeared in several of Andy Warhol's underground films filmed at Warhol's Factory, including Tarzan and Jane Regained... Sort of (1963) and Taylor Mead's Ass (1964).
A no-budget film is a film made with very little or no money. Actors and technicians are often employed in these films without remuneration. A no-budget film is typically made at the beginning of a filmmaker's career, with the intention of either exploring creative ideas, testing their filmmaking abilities, or for use as a professional "calling card" when seeking creative employment. No-budget films are commonly submitted to film festivals, the intention being to raise widespread interest in the film.
The Queen of Sheba Meets the Atom Man is a 1963 American experimental film directed by Ron Rice. It stars Winifred Bryan as the Queen of Sheba and Taylor Mead as the Atom Man. Featured players are Ron Rice, Julian Beck, Judith Malina, Jack Smith, and Jonas Mekas.
Beverly Grant was an actress and filmmaker who appeared in films by Andy Warhol, Jack Smith, Gregory Markopoulos, Ira Cohen, Ron Rice, and Stephen Dwoskin, on the off-off Broadway stage in works by Ronald Tavel and LeRoi Jones, as well as collaborated with her one-time husband, experimental filmmaker and musician, Tony Conrad. Smith, the avant-garde filmmaker of Flaming Creatures and Normal Love, in which Grant appeared, called her "the queen of the underground – both undergrounds."
Barbara Rubin (1945–1980) was an American filmmaker and performance artist. She is best known for her landmark 1963 underground film Christmas on Earth.
Jerry Jofen (1925–1993) was an American painter, collagist, and experimental filmmaker.
Piero Heliczer was an Italian-American poet, publisher, actor and filmmaker associated with the New American Cinema.
Normal Love is an experimental film project by American director Jack Smith. It shows the adventures of an ensemble of glamorously dressed monsters. Smith filmed the project in 1963 and began screening the work in pieces in 1964.
Chumlum is a 1963 American experimental short film directed by Ron Rice.
More information about Ron Rice's work can be found in Wheeler Winston Dixon's book The Exploding Eye, a history of experimental film in the 1960s.