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Archival News
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Archival News 58.1 Fall 2018)
Edited by Rielle Navitski


 

ACQUISITIONS

Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Papers Acquired by Deutsches Filminstitut & Filmmuseum

Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Papers Acquired by Deutsches Filminstitut & Filmmuseum

Rainer Werner Fassbinder in Kamikaze 1989 (Wolf Gremm, 1982).

Source: British Film Institute.

One hundred eighty boxes of archival documents generated in the course of New German Cinema director Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s tumultuous career form the nucleus of the new Fassbinder Center in Frankfurt, slated to open its doors in April 2019. Purchased from the Rainer Werner Fassbinder Foundation (RWFF) by the Deutsches Filminstitut & Filmmuseum, the collection includes twenty-five scripts, nearly a hundred scene breakdowns and over a hundred dialogue lists, along with other creative and logistical documents. The Center will also house film and video materials, press clippings, and objects like Fassbinder’s pinball machine and couch, all on permanent loan from the RWFF. Other collections to be hosted at the site include the archives of Studiocanal and the Filmverlag der Autoren, key distributors and financiers of German cinema from the 1970s and beyond, as well as archival materials relating to over a hundred and twenty other German filmmakers. For more information on the acquisition and the Fassbinder Center, see here and here.

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Jonathan Demme’s Archives Donated to the University of Michigan

Jonathan Demme’s Archives Donated to the University of Michigan

Source: University of Michigan Libraries.

Over 700 linear feet of materials relating to Jonathan Demme’s work as a filmmaker—including scripts, letters, props, costumes, and footage from unfinished documentary projects—have been donated to the University of Michigan libraries by Demme’s family. The director’s archives will join those of figures like Robert Altman, John Sayles and Orson Welles in the Screen Arts and Mavericks Collection, and are slated to be made available digitally and for on-site consultation. Best known as the director of Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia, and Beloved, Demme passed away in 2017 at the age of 73. More on the donation is available here and here.

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PRESERVATION

Hollywood Foreign Press Association Bankrolls Restoration of Lumière Brothers Films

Hollywood Foreign Press Association Bankrolls Restoration of Lumière Brothers Films

Auguste Lumière in Baby’s Breakfast (1895); his brother Louis Lumière operated the camera. Source: Catalogue Lumière.

 

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association will help support a second phase of restoration for three hundred films by Louis and Auguste Lumière, which are currently vulnerable to further degradation. The HFPA’s financial support of the restoration—a partnership of the Institut Lumière, the Cineteca di Bologna, and France’s Centre National du Cinéma—was announced in mid-October at the Festival Lumière in Lyon. See here and here for further information on the restoration project.

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University of Jos to Launch Nigeria’s First Film Preservation Program in 2019

University of Jos to Launch Nigeria’s First Film Preservation Program in 2019

A still from Shaihu Umar, (Adamu Halilu, 1976), whose restoration helped solidify Nigerian-German partnerships that include Nigeria’s first Master’s in audiovisual preservation. Source: Goethe Universität.

 

With an eye to preserving the audiovisual heritage of “Nollywood,” currently the world’s second-largest film industry, the University of Jos has partnered with the National Film Corporation of Nigeria to develop the country’s first Master’s in moving-image preservation. The rollout of the degree—modeled on an existing program offered jointly by Frankfurt’s Goethe Universität and the Deutsches Filminstitut—will involve close collaboration with faculty and professionals from these German institutions, and is to be funded in part by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). The initiative builds on previous German-Nigerian partnerships in audiovisual preservation, including the joint restoration of Shaihu Umar (Adamu Halilu, 1976) by the National Film Corporation and Berlin’s Arsenal Institute for Film and Video Art. For more about the degree program, see here

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Deadly Wildfires in Greece Destroy Director Theo Angelopoulos’s Archives

Deadly Wildfires in Greece Destroy Director Theo Angelopoulos’s Archives

The exterior of late director Theo Angelopoulos’s home, which was consumed by flames from Greece’s July wildfires. Source: ArtDaily.com.

 
Wildfires that raged in the Athens area during Europe’s record-breaking summer heat wave, tragically claiming close to a hundred lives, also consumed the home and personal archives of late director Theo Angelopoulos. Materials destroyed include poetry and other texts by the filmmaker, as well as his personal library and correspondence. Angelopoulos, winner of the Palme d’Or at the 1998 Cannes film festival for Eternity and a Day, died accidentally in 2012 during the shooting of The Other Sea, a chronicle of the Greek debt crisis. For more information on the incident, see here and here.

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EXHIBITIONS AND FESTIVALS

Giornate del Cinema Muto in Pordenone Showcases Advertising Film, Swedish and Japanese Cinema

37th Giornate del Cinema Muto in Pordenone Showcases Advertising Film, Swedish and Japanese Cinema

Ryoichi Takeuchi, Nobuko Fushimi, and Joji Oka in the part-talkie Tokyo ondo (Hotei Nomura, Japan, 1935). Source: National Film Archive of Japan.

 

For the second year in a row, the Giornate del Cinema Muto in Pordenone, Italy delved into classic and neglected works of Swedish silent cinema as well as the saundo-ban, an idiosyncratic form of early Japanese sound film that featured sound effects and music on a pre-recorded soundtrack. Other programs included an array of advertising films from Denmark, France, Poland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States; a retrospective of silent features directed by John M. Stahl, known for his mastery of the Hollywood melodrama; and a series of screen adaptations of Honoré de Balzac’s literary works. The full festival program is available here.

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History of Queer Gaming Culture to Go on Display at Berlin’s Schwules Museum

History of Queer Gaming Culture to Go on Display at Berlin’s Schwules Museum


Berlin’s Schwules Museum (Gay Museum) will host the first-ever exhibition dedicated to the history of queer content and queer uses of videogames. Curated by LBTQ Video Game Archive curator Dr. Adrienne Shaw (Temple University), Sarah Rudolph of hertzile.org, and Jan Schnorrenberg (Schwules Museum), the exhibition spans the period from 1985 to the present. In addition to games that can be played in the exhibition space, the show will feature concept art and materials showcasing user modifications of games and practices of queer gaming communities. A successful Kickstarter campaign to fund the publication of a print and digital exhibition catalog raised close to $29,000. The show will run from mid-December 2018 to mid-May 2019. More information on the exhibit is available here and here.

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First Arcadia Film Preservation Festival Commemorates Mexico’s Student Movement

First Arcadia Film Preservation Festival Commemorates Mexico’s Student Movement

Source: Filmoteca UNAM.

 

Mexico City’s first festival devoted to film preservation and restoration, Arcadia, marked the fiftieth anniversary of Mexico’s student movement and its brutal repression in the October 2 Tlatelolco massacre in late September. Sponsored by the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, the festival opened with a screening of El grito (The Cry, Leobardo López Arretche), a document of the movement shot by a student at UNAM’s Centro Universitario de Estudios Cinematográficos. In addition to screenings of fictional films based on these traumatic events, other festival programming traced the political and social ferment of 1968 on a global scale through screenings of post-Revolutionary Cuban agit-prop newsreels by Santiago Álvarez, Jean-Luc Godard’s Ciné-tracts, and Michelangelo Antonioni’s Zabriskie Point. The festival program is available here; for coverage of the festival (in Spanish), see here and here.

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Screening Recreates International Amateur Movie Show Eight Decades Later

Screening Recreates International Amateur Movie Show Eight Decades Later


Still from the experimental anti-war film Příběh vojáka (A Soldier’s Story, Čeněk Zahradníček and Vladimír Šmejkal, 1935, Czechoslovakia), which screened at the 1938 International Movie Show. Source: Light Industry.


A 1938 program of amateur films, selected from submissions from enthusiasts across the globe, returned to the screen in October at the Light Industry screening space in Brooklyn. Attendees viewed six of the ten films from the program that originally screened at Columbia University’s Extension School under the umbrella of the Film Study program. Spanning narrative, experimental film, and travelogue, the modified program featured works from Australia, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Japan, and Scotland. Previously presented at the 2018 Toronto Film Festival, the program was coordinated and introduced by Dr. Charles Tepperman (University of Calgary), creator of the Amateur Movie Database. For more on the program, see here and here.

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ONLINE RESOURCES

Library of Congress Launches National Screening Room

Library of Congress Launches National Screening Room

Still from a 1942 installment of All-American News, the first U.S. newsreel designed for a Black audience, now available in the National Screening Room. Source: Library of Congress.

 

The Library of Congress has made nearly three hundred digitized films freely available for streaming via its National Screening Room. Films in the public domain, which account for the vast majority of the collection, are available for download, while copyrighted films displayed with permission from rightsholders are streaming-only. The National Screening Room offers a particularly wide array of early American cinema, much of it drawn from the library’s Paper Prints Collection. In addition to extensive selections from Edison and Biograph (including several works by D.W. Griffith), the National Screening Room includes a number of nontheatrical works such as amateur, industrial, and advertising film. Other works in the collection shed light on marginalized directors and communities, including Oscar Micheaux’s Within Our Gates (1920), the oldest known surviving feature directed by an African American; All-American News (1942-1945), the first U.S. newsreel produced for Black audiences; Modesta, a fiction film about feminist activism produced by Puerto Rico’s División de Educación de la Comunidad; and Ida Lupino’s The Hitchhiker (1953), a rare female-directed feature produced in the classical Hollywood era. The National Screening Room can be accessed here; for further coverage of the initiative, see here and here.

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Home Made Visible, a Repository of Home Movies by Canadians of Color, Debuts Streaming Site

Home Made Visible, a Repository of Home Movies by Canadians of Color, Debuts Streaming Site

Video footage from a birthday party hosted by the Troung/Tram family, Khmer-Krom residents of Ontario. Source: Home Made Visible.
 

Home Made Visible, an initiative to digitize and disseminate amateur and home film and video by Canadians who are indigenous or visible minorities, has released an initial selection of collection materials online through its partnership with York University. A project of the Regent Park Film Festival funded by the New Chapter Program of the Canadian Council of the Arts, Home Made Visible offers free transfers of audiovisual materials that fall within the scope of its mandate. Participants then select excerpts from the digitized materials for archiving and online streaming. Excerpts available to view online may be consulted here; subjects range from a Haitian family’s perspective on the 1971 “Storm of the Century” in Montréal to a family visit to a market to the Mahaica Market in Guyana. For more information about the project, see the press release from Home Made Visible; further coverage is available here and here.

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Internet Archive Makes Over a Thousand Vintage Arcade Games Available to Play Online

Internet Archive Makes Over a Thousand Vintage Arcade Games Available to Play Online

Launch screen for Hotdog Storm, one of the nearly 2,000 arcade games reconstructed by the Internet Arcade project. Source: Internet Archive

 Now in its fourth year, the Internet Archive’s Internet Arcade nearly tripled in size in late September with the addition of approximately 1,100 reconstructed arcade games. The project uses an emulator to recreate now-obsolete hardware and software within a present-day Internet browser. The bulk of these new additions date from the 1990s and early 2000s, a moment when competition from home gaming consoles put pressure on arcade games, even as their visuals and content became increasingly sophisticated. For more information about the additions to the Internet Arcade, see here; the new arrivals to the collection may be accessed and played here.

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Two Decades of Recordings Documenting FIAF Congresses Now Freely Available Online

Two Decades of Recordings Documenting FIAF Congresses Now Freely Available Online

Audio recordings from past FIAF conferences. Source: FIAF.

Nearly twenty years’ worth of audiotapes documenting the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF)’s annual congresses, where pivotal debates within the film preservation movement unfolded, have been released online. The Indiana University Moving Image Archive, which is storing and preserving the recordings, has digitized more than 400 tapes out of a total of nearly 650 recorded between 1975 and 2006. Recordings feature commentary from prominent archivists like Eileen Bowser, Raymond Borde, Jacques Ledoux, and David Francis. Due to privacy concerns, recordings will be made available online only after twenty-five years have passed since their creation; embargoed audiotapes may be consulted on site pending FIAF approval. The digital audio is available on Indiana University Moving Image Archive’s digital portal and on FIAF’s website, where they appear alongside conference proceedings, footage documenting the meetings, and other archival materials. Read more about the project here.

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PUBLICATIONS AND DVDS

Early Female Directors Showcased in Kino Lorber/Library of Congress Collaboration

Early Female Directors Showcased in Kino Lorber/Library of Congress Collaboration

Production still showing Violent Wong in The Curse of Quon Gwon (Marion Wong, 1916). Widely considered the first Asian American-directed feature, the film is included in a new box set dedicated to early female directors. Source: Kino Lorber.


The six-disc box set “Pioneers: First Women Filmmakers” illuminates the contributions of female creatives during cinema’s vibrant early years, when women had not yet been effectively marginalized from the emerging industry. Funded in part by a Kickstarter campaign that raised almost $50,000, the restoration and release of the films was accomplished through a partnership between Kino Lorber and the Library of Congress. The set devotes one disc each to the works of Alice Guy-Blaché—a pioneering figure of early cinema who founded her own production company, Solax, in 1910—and Lois Weber, one of Universal’s top directors during the teens. The remaining discs are organized around themes that include topical social issues, the feature film, and dynamic adventure serial and comedy stars who doubled as directors. In addition to films by figures better-known for their acting work—including Mabel Normand, Helen Holmes, Grace Cunard, and Alla Nazimova—the set includes works by relative unknowns, including Marion Wong, whose never-released feature The Curse of Quon Gwon is widely considered to be the first Asian American film. To purchase the box set, view a list of its contents, or inquire about public screenings, see here. More information on its companion screening series can be found here

 

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Previously Unidentified Films Find New Life on Second Mostly Lost Compilation

Previously Unidentified Films Find New Life on Second Mostly Lost Compilation

Comedian Snub Pollard in the recently identified film Do Me a Favor (1922). Source: Undercrank Films. 

Undercrank Productions has released a second compilation culled from films and fragments screened at the Library of Congress’s Mostly Lost festival between 2015 and 2017. At this annual event, researchers and enthusiasts gather to contribute information that might help date or otherwise identify unknown works. The disc features films from Edison and Vitagraph, as well as The Falling Arrow (1909), directed by pioneering Native American filmmaker James Young Deer. Films are accompanied by piano scores composed by Ben Model, Andrew E. Simpson and Philip Carli for the DVD release. For more on the project, see here; reviews of the disc can be consulted here and here.

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CALLS FOR PAPERS, CONFERENCES, AND WORKSHOPS

Women & Film History International Invites Papers on the Theme “Sisters” for 10th Women and the Silent Screen Conference

Women & Film History International Invites Papers on the Theme “Sisters” for 10th Women and the Silent Screen Conference

Women & Film History International solicits proposals for individual papers, pre-constituted panels or roundtables, and informal “show and tell” sessions on archival finds or individual case studies for the 10th Women and the Silent Screen conference, to be hosted by the Amsterdam’s Eye Filmmuseum from May 23-25, 2019. According to the organizers, the conference’s theme “Sisters” might be interpreted in relation to biographical sisters, film narratives of sisterhood, imagined kinship links, and feminist approaches to historiography. The deadline for proposals is November 30, 2018; the call for papers can be consulted here.

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Sensory Moving Image Archive Project Solicits Proposals for February 2019 Symposium

Sensory Moving Image Archive Project Solicits Proposals for February 2019 Symposium

The Sensory Moving Image Archive—a two-year initiative focused on generating metadata for audiovisual archives based on the sensory characteristics of media objects like color, shape, light, and movement—has issued a call for papers for a symposium to be held February 25-26 at the University of Amsterdam. Approaches of interest to the organizers include media historiography, digital humanities, heritage studies, machine learning, media archiving, and media art. The call is open through November 22, 2018; the full text is available here

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Archival News” reports recent news highlights from the media archive community for the JCMS readership. Some information in this column comes courtesy of the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) listserv, along with institutional newsletters, websites, and press releases. This column is updated quarterly. Contributions to this column are welcomed. Information should be sent to Rielle Navitski, Theatre and Film Studies, University of Georgia, Fine Arts Building, Athens, GA, 30602-3154, email: rnavitsk@uga.edu. For news and finds from online media archives, follow @archivalnews on Twitter and Instagram.

Past issues of Archival News can be found here.

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