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,
The mission of the Nontheatrical Film & Media SIG consists of the following
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
- 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.
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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