Print Page   |   Your Cart   |   Sign In   |   Register
Site-wide Search
Cinema Journal Archival News - 49.4
Share |

Archival News 49.4

Archival News 49:4




3.Institutions and Organizations


5.Oral Histories

6.On-Line Resources


George Eastman House Acquires Merchant Ivory Collection

George Eastman House International Museum of Photography & Film has announced one of the most important acquisitions in its 61-year history—the collection of Merchant Ivory Productions.This collection of 2,600 elements includes more than 40 film titles, such as Oscar®-winnersA Room With a View(1986) andHowards End(1992) and Oscar® nominees such asThe Remains of the Day(1993),Mr. and Mrs. Bridge(1990), andThe Bostonians(1984).

Film director James Ivory will be honored May 5 with the title of George Eastman Honorary Scholar—awarded for artistic achievement in motion pictures—on opening night of the 360 | 365 George Eastman House Film Festival, when he will present his new film,The City of Your Final Destination, which stars Anthony Hopkins and Laura Linney. Past recipients of this honor include Jeff Bridges, John Frankenheimer, and Ken Burns.

"Ismail Merchant’s worry for years was that all those films of ours, made in so many places, stored in so many labs around the world, would never be brought safely home and might be lost,” Ivory said. "Now the George Eastman House motion picture archive is that home, safeguarding the continuing life of Merchant Ivory's work for the next generations.”

Merchant Ivory’s extensive filmography spans more than 40 years, and the collection at Eastman House also features their early Indian films, such asShakespeare-Wallah(1965) andBombay Talkie(1970), as well as the company’s earlier American films, the experimentalSavages(1972) and the New York-setRoseland(1977). Basic elements on deposit in the George Eastman House archive include Merchant Ivory’s international successes, such asAutobiography of a Princess(1975),Quartet(1981),Heat and Dust(1983),Maurice(1987), andJefferson in Paris(1995). Films directed by Ismail Merchant are also included, such as the Oscar®-nominated shortThe Creation of Woman(1961) and an earlier documentary,The Courtesans of Bombay(1984). Merchant passed away in 2005 during the editing ofThe White Countess, which he filmed in Shanghai with Ivory.

Merchant met personally with Eastman House representatives to plan the gift, which includes original negatives, interpositives, and 35mm archive prints made from the original negatives of some of Merchant Ivory’s most admired films. According to Ivory, it was Merchant’s dream to back this original material up with his own collection of his relevant contracts, correspondence, and other business papers that give an idea of how this fiercely independent production company has operated so successfully for over four decades, on four continents. The gathering of these archival documents has been the task of James Ivory, Merchant’s surviving partner, assisted by the staffs of Merchant Ivory’s offices in New York, London, Paris and Mumbai.

The Eastman House is the archive in which many filmmakers have chosen to preserve and house their films, including Cecil B. DeMille, Spike Lee, Ken Burns, Kathryn Bigelow, and Martin Scorsese, whose personal film collection of several thousand titles is at Eastman House. In March the Eastman House announced the acquisition of the corporate archive of Technicolor.

The Eastman House motion picture archive is the third largest in the United States, alongside Museum of Modern Art and surpassed only by UCLA and Library of Congress. The Eastman House’s motion picture archive is housed on the estate of Kodak founder George Eastman, the father of popular photography and motion picture film.

"The Merchant Ivory collection is a significant treasure in the George Eastman House archive,” said Dr. Anthony Bannon, the Ron and Donna Fielding Director of George Eastman House. "The celebrated films and behind-the-scenes photographs, correspondence, and screenplays tell a complete story of filmmaking by this legendary production team, and we are honored to preserve this collection at Eastman House.”

Merchant Ivory is a collaboration of three masters from three vastly different cultures–Ismail Merchant, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, and James Ivory. Producer Merchant was born in India. Jhabvala, the screenwriter, was born in Germany and educated in England, and Ivory, the director, was born in the United States. Their partnership is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest partnership in independent cinema history. Merchant Ivory’s feature films (24 of them directed by Ivory), documentaries, and shorts have been praised for their visual beauty, their mature and intelligent themes, and the shrewd casting and fine acting from which they derive their unique power.

The diversity of Merchant Ivory’s cultural roots is evident in the range of locations in which their movies have been shot: Delhi, Mumbai, and Benares; London, Paris, and Florence; New York, Boston, Port-of-Spain in Trinidad, Shanghai, and most recently Argentina.The filmmakers capture a vital sense of place and often lyrical feeling for widely varying periods and landscapes, from Paris in the 1920s and Edwardian England, to 19th-century America and British India.

Part of this gift to Eastman House is the extensive correspondence and shared records between Merchant Ivory and film laboratories and film archives all over the world in the late 1990s, when the Merchant Ivory Foundation and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences restored nine of the greatest films of the master Indian director Satyajit Ray. These includedThe Apu Trilogy, The Music Room, The Goddess, andCharulata.

• Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Margaret Herrick Library Acquires 12 New Collections

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Margaret Herrick Library celebrated the acquisition of 12 unique and outstanding collections on Wednesday, May 19, 2010. Academy officers and governors joined donors and others affiliated with the materials at an evening reception at the Library, where selected items from each collection were on display.

"The Academy’s Herrick Library is home to an undeniably unique and important treasure trove of materials,” said Academy President Tom Sherak. "The collections being celebrated at this event are fascinating and valuable additions to the Library, each exceptional in its own way.”

"I’m delighted to be able to formally thank the donors who have generously provided the Herrick with these one-of-a-kind materials,” said Library Director Linda Mehr. "These collections are all very special, and are terrific enhancements to the vast resources the Academy makes available to students, filmmakers, scholars and others with a serious interest in motion pictures.”

The recent acquisitions are:

·Gene Allen Papers:The career papers of this production designer and past Academy President include extensive documentation on his work with director George Cukor for such films asA Star Is BornandMy Fair Lady.

·Art Directors Guild Collection:The Guild has donated hundreds of beautiful production design drawings covering multiple decades of film history from such artists as Albert Brenner, Richard Day, Ernst Fegte, Alexander Golitzen, William Horning, Boris Leven and Lyle Wheeler, to name a few.

·James L. Brooks Papers:The collection from the multiple Academy Award recipient and nominee writer/director/producer includes production and script files for films such asAs Good As It Gets, Broadcast News, Terms of Endearment, Jerry MaguireandSpanglish.

·Richard Koszarski Polish Poster Collection:This collection of truly stunning graphic poster design spans the 1950s to 1980s and contains nearly 1700 Polish posters for films produced in the United States, Poland, Russia, France, Italy and Japan.

·Joseph L. Mankiewicz Papers:The papers include the comprehensive script and production files for the post-1949 career of this multiple Academy Award honored writer/director/producer. Coverage includes such films asA Letter to Three Wives, No Way Out, Guys and Dolls, The Barefoot Contessa, The Quiet American, CleopatraandSleuth.

·Alan J. Pakula Papers:This collection spans almost fifty years of the career of this acclaimed producer and director, and includes production material and Pakula’s personal notes on such films asInside Daisy Clover, Love with the Proper Stranger, To Kill a Mockingbird, Up the Down Staircase, The Sterile Cuckoo, All the President’s MenandSophie’s Choice.

·Sydney Pollack Papers:The Pollack papers include scripts, correspondence, production documents, posters and photographs from the career of this outstanding director/producer/actor, a multiple Academy Award nominee and recipient. Among the films covered areOut of Africa, The Slender Thread, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?, The Way We Were, Absence of MaliceandTootsie.

·Jane Powell Papers:The MGM musical star of forties and fifties films donated material documenting her career, including photographs, scripts and home movies. There is coverage on such films asHoliday in Mexico, A Date with Judy, Nancy Goes to Rio, Royal WeddingandSeven Brides for Seven Brothers.

·Edward R. Pressman Papers:This extensive collection covers the career of this noted producer who has been active since the 1960s. Among the documentation is coverage on a vast number of diverse films such asBadlands, Blue Steel, Wall Street, Conan the Barbarian, To Sleep with Anger, Bad Lieutenant, Talk Radio, PlentyandReversal of Fortune.

·May Routh Costume Design Drawings:The collection includes beautiful costume drawings for such films asThe Last Remake of Beau Geste, Being There, My Favorite Year, Ronin, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club BandandGhost Story.

·Norma Talmadge Photographs:This collection includes a large quantity of extremely rare photographs covering the career of one of the leading silent stars from 1913 to 1930.

·Albert Wolsky Costume Design Drawings:The collection of multiple Academy Award nominee and recipient covers multiple decades and includes drawings forGrease, All That Jazz, Sophie’s Choice, Toys, Across the Universe, Galaxy Quest, Bugsy, Road to PerditionandThe Turning Point.

The Margaret Herrick Library, located in Beverly Hills, is the world’s preeminent cinema research facility. Holdings include more than 10 million photographs, 300,000 clipping files, 80,000 screenplays, 35,000 movie posters and 32,000 books. Devoted to the history and development of the motion picture both as an art form and as an industry, the holdings also include more than 1,000 special collections representing a wide range of giants and legends of moviemaking. The Herrick is open to the public four days a week; it is a non-circulating research facility housed in what was once a water treatment facility in Beverly Hills.

• Twitter Donates Entire Tweet Archive to Library of Congress

Twitter is donating its digital archive of public tweets to the Library of Congress. Twitter is a leading social networking service that enables users to send and receive tweets, which consist of web messages of up to 140 characters.

Twitter processes more than 50 million tweets per day from people around the world. The Library will receive all public tweets-which number in the billions-from the 2006 inception of the service to the present.

"The Twitter digital archive has extraordinary potential for research into our contemporary way of life,” said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. "This information provides detailed evidence about how technology based social networks form and evolve over time. The collection also documents a remarkable range of social trends. Anyone who wants to understand how an ever-broadening public is using social media to engage in an ongoing debate regarding social and cultural issues will have need of this material.” Billington added: "The Library looks at this as an opportunity to add new kinds of information without subtracting from our responsibility to manage our overall collection. Working with the Twitter archive will also help the Library extend its capability to provide stewardship for very large sets of born-digital materials.”

In making the donation, Greg Pass, Twitter’s vice president of engineering, said: "We are pleased and proud to make this collection available for the benefit of the American people. I am very grateful that Dr. Billington and the Library recognize the value of this information. It is something new, but it tells an amazing story that needs to be remembered.” Twitter’s own take on the donation is posted on theirblog.

A few highlights of the donated material include thefirst-ever tweetfrom Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, President Obama's tweet aboutwinning the election, and a set of two tweets from a photojournalist who was arrested in Egypt and then freed because of a series of events set into motion by his use of Twitter:Tweet 1andTweet 2.

The announcement came coincidentally on the same day the Library’s own Twitter feed (@librarycongress) crossed 50,000 followers (April 14, 2010).

"I think Twitter will be one of the most informative resources available on modern day culture, including economic, social and political trends, as well as consumer behavior and social trends,” said Margot Gerritsen, a professor with Stanford University's Department of Energy Resources Engineering and head of the Center of Excellence for Computational Approaches to Digital Stewardship, a partnership with the Library of Congress.

The archive follows in the Library’s long tradition of gathering individuals’ firsthand accounts of history, such as "man on the street” interviews after Pearl Harbor; the September 11, 2001, Documentary Project; the Veterans History Project (VHP); and StoryCorps. While the Twitter archive will not be posted online, the Library envisions posting selected content around topics or themes, similar to existing VHP presentations.

The Library has been collecting materials from the web since it began harvesting congressional and presidential campaign websites in 2000. Today the Library holds more than 167 terabytes of web-based information, including legal blogs, websites of candidates for national office and websites of Members of Congress. In addition, the Library leads the congressionally mandatedNational Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Programwhich is pursuing a national strategy to collect, preserve and make available significant digital content, especially information that is created in digital form only, for current and future generations.

• George Eastman House Acquires Kodak’s Colorama Archive

George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Kodak Colorama—the gigantic panoramic images that dominated Grand Central Terminal for 40 years, from 1950 to 1990—with an international touring exhibition titled Colorama debuting June 19, on view at Eastman House through Oct. 17, 2010. At the same time, Eastman House is announcing Eastman Kodak Company has donated its Colorama archive to the museum.

Coloramas were promoted by Kodak as "the world’s largest photographs” and called "technically remarkable” by Ansel Adams, who photographed several. The towering backlit transparencies were 18-feet high and 60-feet wide, each illuminated by more than a mile of tubing. A total of 565 Coloramas were publicly displayed, changing out every three weeks.

The archive gift from Kodak of several thousand items includes display images of all Coloramas, including ones that were intended but not featured, plus research documents, negatives, guide prints, proof prints, model releases, and digital files.This archive will join the Eastman House current holdings of high-res scans and a detailed history compiled by long-time Kodak and Colorama photographer Norman Kerr.

"We are delighted that this treasure trove of photographic history and imaging technology, which enthralled millions of people over the years, has found a home where they will be preserved for many more people to enjoy in the future,” said Kodak professional photographer Steve Kelly, himself the creator of several Coloramas. "These images were Kodak Moments of the highest order, and we at Kodak are proud to have them reside at the home of our founder so that the public can once again experience the magnificence of these images.”

When each new Colorama was unveiled, it often received ovation from New York City residents and travelers. Photographer Edward Steichen telegraphed Kodak upon viewing a Colorama in 1950, stating, "EVERYONE IN GRAND CENTRAL AGOG AND SMILING. ALL JUST FEELING GOOD.”

"These illuminated images reflected and reinforced American values and aspirations while encouraging picture-taking as an essential aspect of leisure, travel, and family,” said Dr. Alison Nordström, Eastman House curator of photographs, "The Coloramas taught us not only what to photograph, but how to see the world as though it were a photograph. They served to manifest and visualize values that even then were seen as nostalgic and in jeopardy, salvageable only through the time-defying alchemy of Kodak cameras and film.”

A constant in the first two decades of Colorama was a model using a Kodak camera, photographing family, an activity, or beautiful scene. "Coloramas resonate with nostalgia, a staple in Kodak advertising since at least 1900, reminding us to pause, via photography, in the midst of present enjoyment to record it for later remembrance,” Nordström said. In addition to Adams, well-known names associated with Colorama include photographer Elliot Porter, artist Norman Rockwell who art-directed a Colorama, and TV’s Ozzie and Harriett who appeared in several.

The Eastman House exhibition, which will travel internationally after its Rochester debut, will focus on the 1960s—featuring cowboys in the Grand Tetons, water skiers in Florida, children visiting Santa and breaking wishbones on Thanksgiving, tourists at the Taj Mahal, snowmobilers in New Hampshire, and the Junior Miss Pageant in Mobile, Alabama (at center is the 1964 winner, ABC’s Diane Sawyer). Eastman House representatives have been asked if a full-size original Colorama will be featured. Their answer is that even one is too large to display in the museum.

The Eastman House exhibition will feature 36 Coloramas, some as large as 80 inches, as well as two video presentations. "We are determined to show the Coloramas looking as vibrant as they looked when they were first presented,” Nordström said.

Colorama was a technical feat undertaken by Kodak’s advertising and photography teams. Making the exposures for each display was a full day’s work in almost total darkness. In early years the wet 20-foot transparencies were dried overnight in the swimming pool at Kodak’s employee recreation center—the only building large enough to accommodate Coloramas-in-the-making.

For those who have seen the uncropped versions of the Coloramas, witnessed are the studio lights and wooden set frames in the periphery—proof that the perfect Thanksgiving dinner or summer outing was fictional bliss. But for those passing through busy Grand Central, these scenes were a moment of escapism, as New Yorkers and tourists longed for these Kodak moments to unfold in their own worlds.

"Everyone who sees the Colorama should be able to visualize themselves as being able to make the same wonderful photo,” said Adolph Stuber, a Kodak vice president when the project was conceived, who told his staff, "Talk photography first—Kodak next.” The Colorama exhibition is being presented in honor of Waldo B. Potter, Kodak’s vice president of advertising beginning in 1958, who was director of advertising operations when the Colorama was conceived and launched.

The 1990 renovation of Grand Central Terminal to landmark condition marked the end of the Colorama. The final display was a glittering nighttime view of the New York City skyline, with an oversized red apple nestled among the buildings—the only digital enhancement ever created for the Colorama program. The accompanying copy read, "Kodak thanks the Big Apple for 40 years of friendship in Grand Central.”

"The Colorama archive is important to the study of photographic history and Kodak advertising, and this generous gift from Kodak also further enhances our comprehensive collection of color photographs and motion pictures,” said Dr. Anthony Bannon, the Ron and Donna Fielding Director of George Eastman House. The museum announced in March its acquisition of the Technicolor company archive and holds many of the earliest research documents related to color photography and color motion pictures. The Eastman House already holds the archive of Kodak’s print-advertising collection and camera technology.

In 2004 Eastman House published with Aperture a popular book titledColorama: The World’s Largest Photographs from Kodak and the George Eastman House Collection, which featured 50 Coloramas. The book launch prompted the museum to host the first-ever reunion of Colorama photographers and models, which brought together former Kodak co-workers as well as adults who had served as child models. This included a 20-year reunion of the babies from the popular "15 Babies” Colorama from 1984. The celebration was covered byCBS News Sunday Morningand televised nationally. The Colorama exhibition and tour are generously supported by the Harcourt M. and Virginia W. Sylvester Foundation, inc. in memory of former Kodak Vice President of Advertising Pete Potter’s instrumental role in bringing Colorama to life.


• Early Silent Films Return to the United States for Preservation

The New Zealand Film Archive and the National Film Preservation Foundation have announced a partnership to preserve and make available a remarkable collection of 75 American motion pictures that no longer survive in the United States—and have been unseen anywhere in decades.

Heading the list is John Ford’s full-length featureUpstream(1927), a backstage romance involving an aspiring Shakespearian actor and the daring target girl from a knife-throwing act. Only about 15% of silent-era films by the four-time Academy Award-winning director are thought to survive. The collection also includes another important Ford find—a trailer for the director’s lost featureStrong Boy(1929), starring Victor McLaglen.

"Upstreamis a major discovery that illuminates a previously lost page of John Ford’s early years at Fox,” said Matthew Bernstein, Chairman of the Emory University’s Film Studies Department and co-editor ofJohn Ford Made Westerns, "Who would believe that it would be found complete, in good condition, and with original color tints? And that is only the tip of the iceberg of this amazing New Zealand collection.”

Among the other important finds areMaytime(1923), an early feature with Clara Bow; the first surviving film directed by and starring Mabel Normand; an episode of the popular serialThe Active Life of Dolly of the Dailies, starring Mary Fuller as the unstoppable woman reporter; Westerns made in Tucson, San Antonio, and Yosemite; the only known narrative feature showcasing the Miller Brothers Wild West Show; comic shorts starring Charles Puffy, Snub Pollard, and Joe Murphy; an industrial film about the making of Stetson hats; and a number of documentaries and newsreels. The films date from as early as 1898. About 70% of the nitrate prints are virtually complete, and more than two-thirds have color tinting. Taken together, the films are a time capsule of American film production from the 1910s and 1920s.

The "lost” films will be preserved over the next three years and accessed through the five major American silent film archives: the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, George Eastman House, the Library of Congress, the Museum of Modern Art, and the UCLA Film & Television Archive, which are collaborating with the NFPF on this project. Copies of the complete films will also be publicly available in New Zealand and viewable on the NFPF Web site.

Only a fraction of the American films created during the first four decades of the motion picture still survive in the United States—probably fewer than 20%. American silent films, however, had a worldwide popularity, and many works discarded in the United States survive abroad as distribution prints that were salvaged decades ago at the end of theatrical runs. The Library of Congress has estimated that roughly one-third of American silent-era features that survive in complete form exist only in archives in other countries.

"We are delighted to collaborate with the NFPF to preserve and make available these notable films,” said Jamie Lean, Division Director of the New Zealand Film Archive. "Hundreds of American motion pictures from the silent era exist in archives outside the United States. We hope that our example will encourage other international partners who have safeguarded ‘lost’ American films for decades to share their long-unseen treasures with the world community.”

The National Film Preservation Foundationis the nonprofit charitable affiliate of the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress. Since starting operations in 1997, the NFPF has helped save more than 1,650 films at archives, libraries, and museums across 48 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.

The New Zealand Film Archive / Ngā Kaitiaki O Ngā Taonga Whitiāhua, an independent trust established in 1981, preserves and protects hundreds of thousands of moving images documenting New Zealand, from its first movies to contemporary television and cutting edge avant-garde. The NZFA runs an active screening program at its headquarters in Wellington and sites throughout New Zealand.

• National Film Preservation Foundation Awards Preservation Grants to 27 Film Archives

Billy Woodberry’s independently producedBless Their Little Hearts(1984), a portrait of an African American father struggling to support his family in Los Angeles, is among the 57 films green-lighted for preservation through National Film Preservation Foundation grants announced on June 16, 2010. The 27 award-winning institutions will receive preservation funds made available throughThe Library of Congress Sound Recording and Film Preservation Programs Reauthorization Act of 2008.

"Bless Their Little Heartshasn't yet found its rightful place as a key film in the history of cinema, but it has been a great inspiration for those who have seen it,” said Thom Anderson, who featured clips from the feature in his documentary about the portrayal of Los Angeles in film,Los Angeles Plays Itself. "Thanks to this grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation, this important work will be safeguarded and made available to the national audience it deserves.” UCLA Film & Television Archive will work with the filmmaker on the project using the original production materials.

Among the other films singled out for preservation areMoney at Work(1933), produced by the American Bankers Association to restore faith in small-town banks at the height of the Great Depression;21st Biennial Convention of the Chinese American Citizen’s Alliance(1950), showing a national civil rights organization that brought together Chinese American leaders;Twin Peaks Tunnel(1917), documenting the construction of the trolley tunnel that opened western San Francisco to commuters;In Artificial Light(1982), Curt Royston’s portrait of New York artists, including Madonna Ciccone before her break-through; shorts by the New York performance artist Stuart Sherman; George Stoney’s environmental documentaryThe Hudson Shad(1973), narrated by Pete Seeger; Kartemquin Films’The Chicago Maternity Center(1976); a 1934 portrait of a Civilian Conservation Corps camp in Indiana; and home movies showing the Flying Concellos (1937), a 1920s hunting expedition to the Arctic, and peanut picking in Georgia in the 1940s.

The NFPF preservation grants, funded through the leadership of the Library of Congress, provide support to create a film preservation master and two access copies of each work. Films saved through the NFPF programs are made available for on-site research and are seen widely through screenings, exhibits, DVDs, television broadcasts, and the Internet. Since its creation by Congress in 1996, the NFPF has supported film preservation in 214 archives, libraries, and museums across 48 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, and has helped save some 1,630 films.

The National Film Preservation Foundation is the nonprofit organization created by the U.S. Congress to help save America’s film heritage. The NFPF is the charitable affiliate of the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress. For the complete list of projects supported by the NFPF, visit theNFPF Web site.

• Pass It On: Personal Archiving Day at the Library of Congress Offered as Part of National Preservation Week

Memories should last a lifetime and be passed on to future generations. Advice on how to safeguard precious digital and traditional photos, documents, recordings and more were presented at Personal Archiving Day at the Library of Congress.

On May 10, library staff discussed practical strategies for preserving personal collections. The event was free and open to the public. The Library’s preservation experts talked directly with individuals about managing their materials in all formats – everything from e-mail to home movies to digital photographs and recorded sound. For security reasons, visitors were asked not to bring their collection materials to the Library; no appraisals were provided.

Pass It On: Personal Archiving Day at the Library of Congress celebrated the firstnational Preservation Week(May 9-15, 2010). It was sponsored by Library of Congress, the American Library Association (ALA), the Institute for Museum and Library Services and partner organizations. This joint initiative highlights libraries and other collecting institutions as good sources of preservation information. The Library of Congress’ Personal Archiving Day was co-sponsored by the Library's Office of Strategic Initiatives and Library Services.

"I am eager for the Library to work with the public in this area,” said Laura Campbell, associate librarian for Strategic Initiatives. "Many individuals have important personal digital information, and we hope this event will provide practical advice about saving it for the future. In addition to meeting with people directly, we are also using the web and social media as a way to reach interested parties.”

Deanna Marcum, associate librarian for Library Services, said "Partnering with ALA for the first national collections Preservation Week serves the Library's mission by sharing information and increasing public awareness of preservation's importance. The Library of Congress’ Library Services is pleased to collaborate in this effort to reach beyond the staff of our libraries and other cultural heritage collections, and we look forward to its future.” To learn more and to sign up for free digital preservation updates, visithere.


British Film Institute Film Center Plans Canceled

The U.K. government has pulled the plug on £45 million ($67 million) plans for the British Film Institute (BFI) Film Center in London and has also shelved plans for the £2.5 million ($3.7 million) BFI archive digital access project.

In an attempt at a silver lining to the cloud of cuts announced Thursday June 17, 2010 by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the freshly anointed government said it would still fund the building of a film store to safeguard the National Film Archive.

The Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport minister Jeremy Hunt said the cuts are part of wide-ranging plans to help reduce the fiscal deficit. "We are facing an unprecedented financial situation in this country, and it is essential that we act now to reduce the country’s debt,” Hunt said. He also said that his department looked at a slew of plans with value for money and affordability in mind, saying, "This has involved some incredibly difficult decisions, but the cultural and sporting worlds, like everyone else, urgently need the country's finances to be returned to a sustainable position.”

Creative Industries minister Ed Vaizey also said the government plans to "fundamentally reassess how the Government supports film in this country,” while admitting it simply could not commit to large scale capital investment projects such as the BFI Film Center. "I want to make sure that we are supporting the film industry so that it is ready for the challenges it will face in the decade to come, and that we make sure every pound of public money we spend gives the maximum benefit,” Vaizey said.

The reassessment will take account of the impact of Government financial support for film including National Lottery funding as well as the impact of film tax relief.

Law Library of Congress Leads Effort to Restore Haiti’s Legal Resources

As Haiti rebuilds after last January’s massive earthquake, the need for access to its statutes and other law-related materials has become paramount to the nation and its people, and organizations helping with the recovery effort.

In the interest of providing greater access to Haitian legal materials, the Law Library of Congress is embarking on a project to digitize Haitian law titles that are in the public domain. The goal of this project is to offer an easily accessible, comprehensive legal collection for Haiti.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for the Law Library of Congress to share its collections in direct support of a humanitarian effort,” said Law Librarian of Congress Roberta Shaffer. "By combining our rich collection of Haitian law with collections of law libraries all over the world, we can provide the Haitian people, other governments and nonprofit organizations with access to most of the legal materials that were lost in the devastating earthquake. As Haiti begins to rebuild, it will be building on the strong foundation of the rule of law.”

The Law Library of Congress’s collection contains more than 800 Haitian law titles that have been made available through various sources, including the Library of Congress online catalog. Public access to summaries of and related information about the Law Library’s Haitian law holdings is available through theGlobal Legal Information Network (GLIN). GLIN is a public database of official texts of laws, regulations, judicial decisions, and other complementary legal sources contributed by governmental agencies and international organizations.

To date, more than 370 Haitian legal materials have been organized and prepared for digitization.

"The Law Library looks forward to digitizing and providing global access to its entire historical Haitian legal collection,” said Mark Strattner, chief of the Law Library’s Collections Services Division.

For more than 40 years, beginning with the effort to restore the National Library in Florence following the devastating floods in that city in 1966, the Library of Congress has assisted at home and abroad in the aftermath of natural and man-made disasters. In the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Library initiated book donations, preservation and recovery efforts of library materials and a collaborative project to collect and archive websites pertaining to the events. In 2002, the Law Library helped reconstruct Afghanistan’s laws that were destroyed during the period of Taliban rule. In addition to the Law Library’s efforts in Haiti, the American Folklife Center in the Library of Congress recently digitized and repatriated to Haiti 50 hours of field recordings and six moving pictures featuring traditional Haitian culture collected by ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax in the late 1930s.

Founded in 1832, the mission of the Law Library is to make its resources available to members of Congress, the Supreme Court, other branches of the U.S. Government and the global legal community, and to sustain and preserve a universal collection of law for future generations. With more than 2.6 million volumes, the Law Library contains the world’s largest collection of law books and other resources from all countries and provides online databases and guides to legal information worldwide through itsweb site.


• The Magic Lantern Society of the US and Canada Holds Conference

The Magic Lantern Society of the United States and Canada held a conference in Bloomington, Indiana on May 20-23, 2010. The conference featured six presentation sessions, along with silent film screenings and an exhibition of magic lantern slides and projectors. For more information about the society and the conference, visit the society'swebsite.


• HistoryMakers Digital Archive of African American Oral History Interviews Now Available Online

The HistoryMakers Digital Archive of 400 African American video oral history interviews are now available online on a test basis to registered users. Founded in July 1999,The HistoryMakershas grown into the nation’s largest African American video oral history archive. Its collection includes the interviews of President Barack Obama (then an Illinois State Senator), civil rights leader Julian Bond, and children’s advocate Marion Wright Edelman, to name a few.

The HistoryMakers Digital Archive has been available at select locations since 2005, garnering rave reviews both for the richness of its searching and viewing tools and for the quality of its oral history content. The new, web-based archive may be accessed online, and offers unparalleled search capacities based on recent work performed by The HistoryMakers andCarnegie Mellon University’s Informedia Digital Video Library.

Registered users of the new web-based archive will be able to: ·

  • Search the spoken text of over 900 hours of video divided into 18,254 story segments.
  • Filter searches by geography, time period, and the gender, occupation and birth year of the interviewee.
  • View search results as 3-5 minute video story segments, each aligned with a running transcript below a Flash video player (compatible with most browsers).
  • Save video story segments of interest and return to them through web site bookmarking.
  • Search dozens of historical topics, biographical themes and interview qualities, newly coded to interview segments through thousands of hours of human indexing.

To give one example, using the interface’s new 143-term coding tree one could search for "neighborhood” stories on "finding opportunities” and view Nikki Giovanni’s story about promoting her book party at Birdland in Harlem in 1968.

The HistoryMakers Digital Archive allows searching at an unprecedented level of detail and efficiency, setting a standard for video oral history description and access. This web-based digital archive is only the second stage of testing for The HistoryMakers Digital Archive of African American oral histories; the ultimate goal is to license these oral histories to libraries nationwide. Users are encouraged to join in providing greater access to an invaluable heritage.Follow this link to join the archive >


• Silent-Era Animation Now Online from the UCLA Film & Television Archive

The UCLA Film and Television Archive has produced Silent Animation, a section of its website which offers eleven animation films from the silent era for viewing online or download. The films cover all kinds of silent animation productions, including lightning sketches (a ‘lightning’ artist filmed drawing a caricature), hand-drawn animation, stop-frame animation, cut-out animation, animated letters, and films which integrate live action with animation. Visit the websitehere:

• Library of Congress Unveils Redesigned Prints and Photographs Online Catalog

The Library of Congress’ extensivePrints and Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC)now has a new look and many new features. A dynamic redesign offers clean and visually inviting pages, with easy-to-use features for searching, browsing and sharing. The new catalog brings the pictures to the forefront of the web pages. The original version, established in 1996, was more text-oriented and in need of an upgrade.

PPOC is a heavily used resource, with more than 16 million searches conducted in 2009. The catalog provides access through group or item records to P&P’s holdings, which consist of more than 14 million pictures, including the 1.25 million digitized images.

PPOC offers access to 1.25 million digital images and to more than 600,000 records describing the collections in the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division (P&P). The search option has been improved to be available on almost every page of the catalog, allowing for easy modification of searches—no need to click back to a search page to conduct a new search. The search engine is more robust, bringing up all applicable items. There are no limits to the amount of records that can be retrieved.

Visitors can now browse by alphabetical lists of subjects, formats and creators across the entire catalog as well as for individual collections. Colorful banner images highlight the "learn more about it” essays for major collections, such as the popularRussian Empire photographsby Sergei M. Prokudin-Gorskii, which can be viewed at . The "view all” feature for major collections opens the door tointeresting visual explorations.

Viewing options, in general, are greatly expanded and now include gallery, grid and slideshow features. The gallery format displays 20 images on a page, four rows of five pictures. The grid format shows 100 images on a page, 10 rows of 10 pictures. Slideshows can be seen in two speeds, slow and fast, with an option to include item descriptions. The Works Progress Administration (WPA)posters from the Great Depressionare especially interesting in this format.

Another new feature is the share/save tool. With stable and durable URLs, the searches and images can be shared quickly with one’s social network.

The Prints and Photographs Division at the Library of Congress includes more than 14 million photographs, drawings and prints from the 15th century to the present day. International in scope, these visual collections represent a uniquely rich source of human experience, knowledge, creativity and achievement, touching on almost every realm of endeavor: science, art, invention, government and political struggle, and the recording of history. For more information about the division, For access to the catalog,

• Canyon Cinema Debuts New Website and Logo

San Francisco-based Film Distributor Canyon Cinema, Inc. has launched a new website and new logo design. Resources onwww.canyoncinema.cominclude enhanced search options, increased information available on films and filmmakers, online reservation forms, as well as filmmaker member resources. The newly redesigned web site aims to extend the reach of Canyon’s current users by serving a broad audience of filmmaker-members, curators, educators, micro-cinemas as well as and members of the general public interested in art, experimental film education, conservation, and scholarship. The redesign incorporates bold, simple graphics, an easy-to use interface with navigational tools, robust search functions as well as the opportunity to browse and discover the "hidden gems” in the collection.

In addition to a catalogue of more than 3,000 films, the new website offers users biographies of filmmakers, artist statements, film stills and artist-written film descriptions. The site is organized to provide quick and direct access to all of these resources for all audiences. If a user is not sure exactly where to look for specific information on, the newly developed site-wide search engine will help. Among the features on’s homepage, "Spotlight” provides images and information on Canyon’s Collection, generated at random on each page refresh.

Canyon Cinema’s new logo was commissioned and created by local Bay Area talent,The Small Stakes, otherwise known as Jason Munn. Canyon Cinema’s Web team consisted ofExobi Interactiveas well as a Board of Directors website committee led by Maïa Cybelle Carpenter, supported by Thad Povey, Michelle Silva, David Warren, Dominic Angerame (Executive Director), Lauren Sorensen (Assistant Director), and Canyon Cinema interns and volunteers. Image editing and data entry were provided by Meghan Curran, Ava Jancar, and Jordon Zorker. This team has been developing the new website over the past 3 years. Canyon Cinema wishes to thank Lucasfilm Foundation for their generous support of this project.

Canyon Cinema’s unrivaled collection of more than 3,000 films traces the history of the experimental and avant-garde filmmaking movement from the 1930s to the present. Canyon’s primary activity is the rental distribution of Super 8mm, 16mm, and 35mm films by independent film artists. Canyon also leases these films and hundreds of other DVDs from its member filmmakers. Independent filmmakers, unlike commercial filmmakers or studio artists, rarely receive financial compensation for their work. The money that Canyon Cinema returns to the artists helps them continue making their films.

• National Film Preservation Foundation Website Redesign Includes Films for Online Viewing

The National Film Preservation Foundation has recently redesigned its website. One of the site’s new features is a Screening Room (, which allows viewers to watch longer excerpts and complete films. Nine films have been recently added to the "Treasures DVDs” and "Saved Through the NFPF” sections, along with easy-to-read program notes. See

• Open Images Website Aims to Encourage Creative Reuse of Archival Material

The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision has launchedOpen Images, an open media platform that offers access to a selection of archive material with the aim to stimulate creative reuse. Footage from audiovisual collections can be downloaded and remixed into new works. Users of Open Images also have the opportunity to add their own material to the platform and thus expand the collection.

Access provision to the material on Open Images is based on the Creative Commons licensing model. The "open” nature of Open Images is underscored by the use of open video formats (Ogg Theora), open standards (HTML5, OAI-PHM) and open software components. The platform is based on the MMBase open source multi media publishing system. Furthermore, all software that is developed as a result from Open Images is released under an open source license.

Besides remixing archive materials, Open Images offers the possibility of interlinking with other data sources. Within the project, dozens of "Polygoon” newsreels have been added to existing textual entries of the Dutch Wikipedia. For example, in the entry about "Almere,” the textual description of the city’s history is enriched with an audiovisual illustration about its first inhabitants. In cooperation with Wikimedia Netherlands it is now being investigated how Open Images can contribute audiovisual content to Wikipedia on a more structural basis.

As the API to the data is published, Sound and Vision hopes programmers will use the data in the creation of mashups. For instance, students of INHOLLAND University are currently working on a mashup of Open Images content with the OpenStreetMap, the free editable map of the world.

Open Images offers access to over 200 "Polygoon” items from the Sound and Vision archives. The collection will grow substantially over the coming years, as new items are uploaded continuously. Everybody is more than welcome to add material to the platform: not only collection institutes and producers, but all "netizens” creating new programs based on Open Images fragments and items from other online repositories of archive material.

Open Images is an initiative of theNetherlands Institute for Sound and Visionin cooperation with theNetherlands Knowledgeland Foundation. Open Images has been developed as part of theImages for the Future project, which enables digitization and provision of audiovisual heritage on a large scale. More

Sign In

Latest News

Society for Cinema and Media Studies | 640 Parrington Oval | Wallace Old Science Hall, Room 300 | Norman, OK 73019 | 405-325-8075 |