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Nontheatrical Film and Media Scholarly Interest Group (Founded 2007)
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The past decade has seen a flowering of scholarship in the previously untapped area of nontheatrical film and media, which includes institutions and sites such as schools, libraries, homes, universities, galleries, and museums, that fall outside of the domain of conventional cinemas. While such films cover a wide range of subjects, including both fictional and nonfictional forms, this heterogeneous realm of film history is united by a set of research challenges that pose unique methodological issues for film scholars. Unlike films that have been preserved and archived for their entertainment (and thus, economic) value, or films that have been preserved for their artistic value, most nontheatrical films (and later, videos) were created to serve particular – and fleeting - research, educational, or rhetorical purposes, and consequently, when their effectiveness or accuracy seemed to expire, so did the institutional mandate to care for them. As a result, the vast majority of these films were not preserved in traditional archives, and records of their production, distribution, and exhibition were often seen as valueless and destroyed.

The study of nontheatrical film and media is in a period of consolidation and growth, aided in no small part to the increasing availability of material via such digital and internet practices as eBay, online archiving, entrepreneurial recycling, and the collector’s market for 16mm educational and sponsored films. The Nontheatrical Film & Media SIG provides a setting for scholars working in this area to collaborate, share research tips, and debate methodological issues. Moreover, this SIG acts as another connection between the academic and archival worlds, and between other SIGs and committees within SCMS, such as the Media Archives Committee. The mission of the Nontheatrical Film & Media Scholarly Interest Group is to facilitate discussion, consolidation, outreach, and inclusion.

The mission of the Nontheatrical Film & Media SIG consists of the following objectives:
  • To provide a forum in which nontheatrical film and media scholars can discuss their work, organize panels and workshops for each year's conference, and work together to accomplish the goals and objectives of the group.
  • To schedule a yearly meeting at the SCMS conference where we can gather to formulate more specific programs and plans.
  • To work with the Executive Committee and each year's Conference Program Committee as a source of nontheatrical film and media-related expertise.
  • To support Cinema Journal and other publications and to encourage their inclusion of nontheatrical film and media-related scholarship.
  • To work with other SCMS groups, such as the various caucuses and issues groups, and to bring a nontheatrical film and media-specific orientation to such ongoing SCMS issues as preservation of and access to archival materials, encouragement and support of minority work, and others.
  • To take on special projects, such as specially designated panels, joint conferences, plenary participation, or workshops.
  • To maintain a nontheatrical film and media website, which can serve as a resource for interested scholars.
  • To encourage international membership and participation in SCMS for nontheatrical film and media scholars in other countries, since the issues we address are of relevance everywhere, and to resist the insularity of much of American media studies.

View members' group page/Join Now >


Co-Chair: Joseph Clark - terms ends June 2020
Co-Chair: Hongwei Thorn Chen - term ends June 2022
Graduate Student Rep: Sophia Gräfe - term ends June 2021


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Society for Cinema and Media Studies
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