Nov 23, 2016

Huérfanos del cine: the Orphan Film Symposium at the Mar del Plata Film Festival

It's holiday time in the United States, but it's also the week of the 31º Festival Internacional de Cine de Mar del Plata, in Argentina. Programmer Fernando Peña invited two programs from the NYU Orphan Film Symposium as part of the festival's "Revisiones" section.  And the Museo del Cine de Buenos, thanks to museum director Paula Félix-Didier (NYU MIAP graduate), is co-presenting the screening. In particular, she will translate English to Spanish as needed -- and tweet!




The PDF of both programs pops up here.

The Friday program, "Amateurs & Animateurs," mixes home movies and amateur films (from Canada, the U.S., Uruguay, and the Soviet Union) with animation by DIY filmmaker Helen Hill (including Rain Dance her 1990 student film restored in 2007 by NYU Moving Image Archiving and Preservation students with Bill Brand and Paul Gailiunas).

The Saturday lineup, "Nontheatrical Nonfiction" consists of nine pieces, from Albanian, China, and the U.S., including a musical performance recorded in 1928 in Argentina. This Fox Movietone News outtakes, from the University of South Carolina Moving Image Research Collections, has never been publicly screened before.

Exciting!


--
Dan Streible
Orphan Film Symposium director
NYU Cinema Studies / MIAP Program

Nov 5, 2016

Nov. 19 Screening: THE INNER WHIRLED OF ORPHAN FILMS

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
Premier Nocturne en fa # majeur de Chopin, Interprété par Victor Gille (1928)
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.
Genevieve Havemeyer-King (New York Public Library; NYU MIAP '15)
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. 
The 1964-65 New York World's Fair, constructed at Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens, may not have had the cultural impact of the 1939 World's Fair, but it was a touchstone for many of its 50 million visitors. Thousands shot home movies there, Horowitz as well as Feil. Ephraim Horowitz began his lifelong hobby of filmmaking in the 1930s and shot beautiful color 16mm film at the '39-40 fair. His movie club friend Richard Post told me recently that Eph lived and worked near the fairgrounds -- and therefore frequently lunched there during '64-65. These World's Fairs became part of his identity, including that side of him that was a collector of memorabilia. Shots of his collectibles -- coins, photographs, films, ephemera -- constitute much 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 described in my blog post on Horowitz's 100th birthday, EPH 4/27/16 caught the interest of we amateur film history researchers and seekers because it was on the filmography "The 'Ten Best' Winners, 1930-1994 from the Amateur Cinema League and American International Film & Video Festival," published in Alan D. Kattelle's "The Amateur Cinema League and Its Films," Film History 15, no. 2 (2003). The whereabouts of surviving prints of those more than 600 titles are almost entirely unknown. Seeing a film from the Ten Best list is rare. The blog post of 4/27/2016 also describes Genevieve Havemeyer's success in tracking down the Horowitz films some three years after her fellow NYU MIAP graduate Kimberly Tarr told me about this unique filmmaker.

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.

"Housing the first, and only, revolving restaurant in North and South Carolina, Capstone gave the area an attraction comparable to those in several major cities. The rotating platform and mechanism were acquired from an exhibit at the [1964] New York World's Fair and were gifts of a South Carolina manufacturer, Robert G. Wilson."

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



Nov 1, 2016

Lost Snippets of Film History Need a Lot of Helping Hands to Get Found-- and Preserved.


It's not every day that a major news outlet runs a film preservation story that doesn't focus on restoring a classic feature film or rediscovered silent-era motion picture. So I would be remiss if I didn't relay here this New York Times story:  "A Lost Snippet of Film History, Found in a Home Movie Shot in 1964," October 30, 2016."

James Estrin / The New York Times
 It's part of writer James Barron's "Grace Notes: A bimonthly column that captures the essence of the people and places of New York."

The report is well written and entirely accurate, so no need to recap it here. As Mike Mashon of the Library of Congress said in related post, "Sometimes it really does take a village." The films mentioned in the Times piece -- a home movie shot by professional filmmaker Ed Feil, Ray and Charles Eames's Think (1964), and Feil's The Inner World of Aphasia (1968) -- involved many mutually supportive institutions and people.

Two not mentioned in the story who deserve much credit are Rachael Stoeltje and Andy Uhrich of Indiana University Libraries Moving Image Archive. As IULMIA Director, she acquired the Feil Collection and got the processing work underway earlier this year. As Film Archivist, he led the work and also mentored Robert Anen during his summer internship for his NYU degree. There's double continuity there, since Uhrich is a graduate of that same NYU MIAP master's program and a board member of the Center for Home Movies.

The Times page does not link to the 18-minute home movie, so here it is, streaming from the Indiana University site.




See it "live," as part of To Save and Project: The 14th MoMA International Festival of Film Preservation.


Orphans at MoMA
Sound: The Inner Whirled of Orphan Films
Saturday, November 19, 2016, 4:15 p.m.
Museum of Modern Art, Titus Theater 2
11 W. 53rd Street, New York

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 artful and creative flair found among works not made for theaters. Sound and vision serendipitously connect the work of two couples – partners creative and marital: the acclaimed designers Ray and Charles Eames and the prolific but little known Naomi and Edward Feil. Added to the National Film Registry this year, The Inner World of Aphasia (1968) is the Feils’ empathic medical education film, directed with poetic dimensions and a powerful lead performance by. When Ed Feil shot home movies at the World’s Fair of 1964-65, he captured a rare look at the multi-screen installation Think, which the Eameses created for the IBM pavilion – and which the Library of Congress now unveils as a single-screen reconstruction. Also newly restored, and in time for the filmmaker’s centennial, is EPH 4/27/16, Ephraim Horowitz’s sophisticated, wry Super 8 memoir, named one of the Ten Best amateur films of 1979. Rounding out the program with panache are a seldom-seen projection test, a 1908 German film synched to a 1907 opera record, and the Cinémathèque Française’s superb restoration of an early synchronous-sound film of pianist Victor Gille performing Chopin.  


Katie Trainor (MoMA, Film Collections Manager) Welcome
+
Dan Streible (NYU MIAP) Opening remarks: The Sounds of Orphan Films

  
John Klacsmann (Anthology Film Archives) 
“Jiffy” Film: SMPTE P16-PP-C (197?) 
Produced for the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers. Vintage 16mm print from Anthology Film Archives. 5 min. 

James Irsay (WBAI-FM) introduces to classical music films
Der Bajazzo: Duett der Nedda (ca. 1908)
Produced by Deutsche Bioscop, Germany. Cast unknown. 
Soundtrack: Vocal by Emilie Herzog and Baptist Hoffmann; conductor Bruno Seidler-Winkler, from Gramophone Monarch Record 044064 II (disc), 1907. 
Restored by DIF - Deutsches Filminstitut, Anke Mebold. DCP. from 35mm. 3 min. 
     
Premier Nocturne en fa # majeur de Chopin, Interprété par Victor Gille (1928) 
Produced by Gaumont-Petersen-Poulsen, France. 
Restored by Cinémathèque Française, Céline Ruivo. DCP from 35mm. 4 min.

Robert Anen (NYU MIAP)
[NY Fair 1964-1965] 
Home movie filmed by Edward Feil. Preserved by Indiana University Libraries Moving Image Archive. Digital from 16mm. 11 min. 

George Willeman (Library of Congress)
Think (1964) 
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. Digital. 10 min. 

Ken Feil (Emerson College) and Rachael Stoeltje (Indiana University)
The Inner World of Aphasia (1968) 
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. 16mm print from Indiana University Libraries Moving Image Archives. 24 min.

Genevieve Havemeyer-King (New York Public Library; NYU MIAP '15)
EPH 4/27/16  (1979) 
Directed by Ephraim Horowitz. 
Super 8 film scanned by Colorlab for Fandor and the NYU Orphan Film Symposium’s’ Amateur Film Project. 26 min.