Orphans at MoMA
The Inner Whirled of Orphan Films
Saturday, November 19, 2016
4:15 p.m [tickets here]
Museum of Modern Art, Titus Theater 2
11 W. 53rd Street, New York
Part of To Save and Project: The 14th MoMA International Festival of Film Preservation
Combining highlights from NYU’s 10th Orphan Film Symposium and its theme of sound with even newer rediscoveries, this eclectic program of short films is inspired by the creativity and experimentation found among works not made for theaters. "The Inner Whirled" is more than an allusion to the whirling of sound and of film projectors. The word play is also from experimental film maestro Ken Jacobs, who called his quartet of short films with Jack Smith The Whirled (1956-63). In 1969, Jacobs and filmmaker Larry Gottheim founded the Department of Cinema at SUNY Binghamton, where an avant garde film culture flourished. Among the eclectic mix of movies that entered the classroom there was an outlier that captivated Gottheim, the educational film The Inner World of Aphasia (1968), from Cleveland-based Edward Feil Productions.
We've just learned that the creative team of Ed and Naomi Feil will make their way from Eugene, Orgeon, to New York for this special screening. Ed began making films in World War II and went on to make dozens of nonfiction films -- documentary, educational, scientific, technical, industrial. When he and Naomi married in 1964, they began collaborating on scripts, editing, and soundtracks. She gives a powerful performance as the protagonist of The Inner World of Aphasia.
Katie Trainor (MoMA) & Dan Streible (NYU MIAP)
Welcome & introductions
John Klacsmann (Anthology Film Archives)
“Jiffy” Film: SMPTE P16-PP-C (197?) 5 min.
Produced for the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers.
Anthology's archivist introduces its rare vintage 16mm print of a test film meant to be seen and heard only by projectionists.
James Irsay (WBAI-FM)
Der Bajazzo: Duett der Nedda (ca. 1908) 3 min.
Produced by Deutsche Bioscop, Germany. Cast unknown.
Vocal by Emilie Herzog and Baptist Hoffmann. Gramophone Monarch Record, 1907.
Restored by DIF - Deutsches Filminstitut, Anke Mebold.
The host of WBAI's "Morning Irsay," pianist, music historian, and raconteur sets the context for this recent recoupling of a 1907 phonograph recording (a duet from Pagliacci) and a 1908ish German motion picture meant to be projected (more or less in synch) with the sound.
Deutsches Filminstitut - DIF Cinémathèque français
Produced by Gaumont-Petersen-Poulsen, France. 4 min.
Restored by Cinémathèque Française, Céline Ruivo.
Irsay also contextualizes this newly restored film of pianist Gille (1884-1964)
Robert Anen (NYU MIAP) & Rachael Stoeltje (Indiana University Libraries)
[NY Fair 1964-1965]
Home movie filmed by Edward Feil. 11 min.
Preserved by Indiana University Libraries Moving Image Archive (IULMIA).
The director of IULMIA and the NYU student-intern explain how the Edward and Naomi Feil Collection came to Indiana this year and how a home movie reel found there helped the Library of Congress reassemble the parts of of a multi-screen Eames production at the World's Fair.
Frames from Feil fair film.
Left: Naomi, Ed, and his camera captured in reflection; right, in IBM's Ovoid Theater for the Eames multi-screen Think.
George Willeman (Library of Congress)
Think (1964) 10 min.
Directed by Ray Eames and Charles Eames for the IBM Pavilion, New York World's Fair. Reconstructed in 2016 by Amy Gallick at the Library of Congress.
|Popular Science, July 1964.|
The Ovoid, where Think was projected and in which Feil filmed some of it in black-and-white 16mm.
Ken Feil (Emerson College) with special guests Ed & Naomi Feil
The Inner World of Aphasia (1968) 24 min.
Filmed, directed, and edited by Edward R. Feil.
Written by Naomi Feil. Cast: Naomi Feil as Marge Nelson. Named to the National Film Registry in 2015. Indiana University Libraries Moving Image Archive.
|End credits. Naomi Feil (right) as nurse Marge Nelson.|
EPH 4/27/16 (1979) 26 min.
Directed by Ephraim Horowitz.
Scanned by Colorlab for Fandor and the NYU Orphan Film Symposium’s Amateur Cinema Project. Named one of the Ten Best amateur productions of 1979.
|Frame from the opening sequence of EPH 4/27/16.|
Ephraim Horowitz also appears in a short documentary: Amanda Murray's World Fair (2013), viewable at worldfairfilm.com. It begins with Horowitz's 1939-40 footage, with him talking in the 2000s. We see him at home and among the objects he lays hands on is a can of 16mm film labeled "64/65 Fair." Compare to the label on the can of film Robert Anen saw in the Indiana University archive while processing the Feil Collection this summer. (Here's that story as told in the New York Times earlier this week.)
|Top: Horowitz's hands as seen in a frame from Amanda Murray's World Fair. |
Bottom: Snapshot of Ed Feil's labeled can. (See Anen's IULMIA blog post of August 5.)
As with the 2014 Orphans at MoMA program -- An Amateur Cinema League of Nations -- this showcase is the culmination of years of collaboration among archivists, curators, scholars, and students dedicated to finding and saving these orphan films. In addition to the students and alumni of NYU's Moving Image Archiving and Preservation master's degree program, others who have been working on the history of amateur films include Charles Tepperman, University of Calgary professor and architect of a grant-funded three-year project, "Mapping an Alternative Film History: A Database of Significant Amateur Films (1928-1971)."
Home movies and amateur films have always been part of the Orphan Film Symposium. As it happens, the "Orphans" origin story includes a tangential connection to the 1964 New York World's Fair. The final dinner reception at the first symposium in 1999 took place atop the University of South Carolina's Capstone House. The dining space called the Top of Carolina is a rotating restaurant with grand views of the campus and the city of Columbia. It was too novel not to put to use at the conclusion of the four-day soiree. The novelty proved a hit. People began to put notes to one another on the window sill, whose rotation carried them to neighboring tables. Funny, even flirtatious, notes and totems multiplied as the evening went on. The symposium finale returned to this space a couple more times, with some visiting New Yorkers choosing to disbelieve the placard noting that the entire golden rotating restaurant had been moved from its original site in Queens at the 1964-65 World's Fair.
Here's what the University of South Carolina website says.
In 2011, I caught a short glimpse of the rotating restaurant in a home movie shot at the '64 fair and shown at the Queens Museum during Home Movie Day. Several NYU MIAP students co-organized that event, which transpired during the time when Karan Sheldon (Northeast Historic Film) was working with the museum and George Eastman House on a grand-funded project to document and preserve amateur films shot at the 1939-40 World's Fair.
Ephraim Horowitz, who passed in 2012, was a long-time member of the Queens Museum [of Art]. And it wouldn't be surprising if his Flushing fair films wound up in its permanent collection.
-- Dan Streible
Director, NYU Moving Image Archiving and Preservation Program
Director, the Orphan Film Symposium