Aug 14, 2019

Cowling's Roof of the World

In response to my previous post, "Underground," archivist-historian and Orphans veteran Paul Spehr sent a Facebook comment  about early advocacy for underground storage for film preservation.

          "In the early 1960s the LoC was presented with a collection of 35mm negatives of films shot by Herford Cowling for Burton Holmes for showing at the 1933 Chicago World Fair. Cowling had been a very early consultant on standards for storage of motion picture film --- going back to the 1920s and contributing to the establishment of the National Archives film archive in 1934-36. He was a very early advocate of stable cold temperature and RH.
           One of his very early recommendations was use of caves when proper vault space wasn't available. He had access to a cave near Luray Caverns, Virginia and had kept his films there  -- and they were in the best condition I ever experienced."
     -- Paul Spehr, Orphan Film Symposium Facebook group, Aug. 10, 2019.

As it happens, Luray Caverns is 40 miles from the bunkers that now house the LoC National Audio Visual Conservation Center's film vaults in Culpeper, Virginia.

Herford Tynes Cowling (1890-1980) was born (and died) in Virginia but traveled the world as a photographer, cinematographer, film director, producer -- and freemason!  The book 10,000 Freemasons (William R. Denslow, 1957) offers this bio: “Was chief photographer for U.S. Reclamation Service in 1906-1916 traveling extensively in U.S., Canada and Mexico. Headed cinematographic expedition to Formosa, Philippines, Indo-China, Siam, Tasmania, and South Sea islands, producing semi-educational [sic] movies in 1917. Was chief cinematographer for Paramount (Burton Holmes Travel Films). He has also been technical advisor for Eastman Kodak, official photographer of Century of Progress in Chicago, technical director for U.S. National Archives, Washington, chief of photographic services, Dept. of Labor. In 1922 was on expedition to East Africa, Uganda, Congo and The Sudan. Made movies in Tibet and was China war correspondent in 1924.”

 portrait of Herford Cowling ----  Image from Singapore Film Locations Archive,

At the 2001 Orphan Film Symposium, Buckey Grimm's talk "Early Preservation Initiatives" included further details. In 1932, the Society of Motion Picture Engineers' first Committee on the Preservation of Film included Cowling, Carl Louis Gregory, and Terry Ramsaye. In 1934, the new Motion Picture Division of the U.S. National Archives hired Cowling. "Cowling’s expertise was well documented," Grimm reported. "His career began in 1910 as chief photographer for the Interior Department. In 1916, he made a series of travelogues called See America First for Metro Pictures, then was Technical Director for Eastman Teaching Films. He was a recognized expert in storage and handling of nitrate film."

After World War II, Colonel Cowling remained in the U.S. Air Force, working at the film lab at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio -- the very location that became the Library of Congress Motion Picture Conservation Center in 1981.  The veteran filmmaker joined the Society of American Archivists in 1948. He was also a source for Hermine M. Baumhofer's essay "Motion Pictures Become Federal Records," in The American Archivist (January 1952). She recounts his work with the Interior Department. "Between 1912 and 1915 all areas set aside as national parks were photographed, the filming and editing being done by Mr. Cowling." His See America First series, he told her, were 52 one-reelers released by Metro and Gaumont, "the first Government film to be distributed in this manner" (20). Expect to read much more about this as film historian Jennifer Peterson publishes her latest research about films from the National Park Service.

What of the materials Cowling gave to the Library of Congress? Its online catalog has entries for books, films, and photographs credited to Cowling. Only four items are listed as part of a "Cowling (Herford Tynes) Collection." As Paul Spehr correctly recalls, these are gifts from Cowling dated ca. 1962, and associated with the 1933-34 Chicago fair, aka the Century of Progress International Exposition.
  • 1934: The World's Fair Black Forest / Burton Holmes Films (Kaufmann & Fabry Co., 1934)  16mm, 144 feet, ca. 4 mins.
  • 1934--Villages of the World's Fair, 16mm, 140 feet
  • A Century of Progress Exposition -- Indian village (Burton Holmes Films in assoc. with Herford T. Cowling, 1933) 16mm, 114 feet; 2 positive prints + duplicate negative.  
The fourth item stands apart: East Indian Island (Eastman Teaching Films, Inc., 1930?); Encyclopædia Britannica Films no. 1077 [ca. 1945]) 16mm, ca. 396 feet, silent b/w; + 35mm, ca. 990 feet, 2 reels, tinted, the latter an exchange copy from the George Eastman House.

However there are a couple dozen other films the LoC catalog says Cowling made and/or donated. Most are from the Century of Progress Expo, such as The World a Million Years Ago, The Fair at Night, Sally Rand [fan dancer], Faith Bacon the Fan Dancer of Hollywood, The Fair from the Air, and Around the Fair with Burton Holmes no. 1 and no. 2.

The Quarterly Journal of the Library of Congress (January 1964) mentioned only that Cowling donated a "small collection of films made in Africa, India, and Southeast Asia in the 1920's" (62).

Other pieces are incompletely catalogued portions of Cowling's nonfiction travelogue work. Several are described curiously as "book," 16mm, such as
* [Kashmir] [Motion picture] [n.p.] Herford Tynes Cowling, 1923.    
* An Indian Durbar [Motion picture] [n.p.] Burton Holmes Lectures, 1926, a silent 1,200 feet lecture version and  a later, shorter sound version. "Shows the coronation of 'Maharaja Hari Singh of Kashmir,' March 1926."

Both of those can be linked to fragments that survive elsewhere. Like other globetrotting camera operators of the era, Cowling shot footage that commercial newsreel services purchased. The University of South Carolina Moving Image Research Collections reference catalog lists Cowling as the camera operator for Fox newsreel footage described originally  as [Leopard] (three shots taken in 1923) and Coronation of the Maharajah of Kashmir (June 10, 1926). Portions of both were used in theatrical newsreel releases. In fact, the company hyped the footage in a puff piece by sales manager Fred C. Quimby: "Fox News Helps Educate the World," Exhibitors Herald, (September 11, 1926). Without naming Cowling, he boasted of his newsreel's international reach, saying "a special emissary just emerged from the Vale of the Cashmere, near the Afghan border, where he succeeded in making pictures showing the almost fabulous and barbaric beauty and wealth of the land of the Maharajah of that distant spot."  Cowling's images were widely seen even if he was not as well known as Burton Holmes.

A final note about the Library of Congress catalog's clues to Cowling's films, now orphaned or lost. The entry attributing Cowling as photographer is for 72 photographs on glass lantern slides from 1923. The assigned title is "[Tibet and Asian landscapes and people, includes mountain expeditions, travel on elephants, tiger hunting, Herford Tynes with dead tiger and posing with his camera]." These are described as unprocessed items in the Prints and Photographs Division, with the note: "Gift to MBRS [Motion Picture, Broadcasting, Recorded Sound]  from Col. Cowling. Photographs are probably associated with the filming of Burton Holmes' To the Roof of the World in Tibet. This catalog record contains preliminary data."

The note is curious in that Holmes filmographies do not include this title. The lone reference I have found is from International Photographer, April 1933.  A column authored by Herford Tynes Cowling, "Around the World," No. 1, features a page of his ten-year-old photos under the heading "To the Roof of the World in Tibet." Are some of these images also on the LoC lantern slides that have yet to be processed? Are these the only remnants of the companion motion picture? Was there a film by that title or was the footage only part of Holmes or Cowling travelogue lecture?

"This was the first moving picture expedition ever made into Tibet for the purpose of filming the people and customs of the country," Cowling claimed in 1933. He refers to "about one hundred thousand feet of film exposed which, incidentally, kept very well at the high, dry altitude" [in re: our subject of cold storage as film preservation]. "About four thousand still pictures were taken during the trip, all of which were developed en route." He adds "The people had never seen a motion picture and could only understand an ordinary photograph with considerable difficulty." 

Such a description of a Westerner’s first encounter with non-Westerners’ first encounter with movies resembles similar accounts of the period. Cowling had been doing such work since the 1910s, but this 1923 expedition came only a year after the release of Robert Flaherty’s Nanook of the North. As Flaherty and Cowling acknowledged, the communities they photographed participated in the labor of processing the films as they were shot. Cowling describes hiring dozens of Tibetans who made possible his four-month trek through the mountains. Thus the contradiction in his account that Tibetans "could only understand an ordinary photograph with considerable difficulty,” even though teams in his employ helped process 100,000 feet of 35mm motion-picture film and 4,000 still photographs.

The LoC online catalog offers only one photograph.

Cowling photo of Tibetans

The title assigned to it is [Lama with headdress and Caucasian man seated in front of nine boys and men, Tibet].  The "Caucasian" man appears to be Cowling himself. So who took the photo? or is that a shutter release cable in his right hand?

More important, what happened to the 20 hours of footage he claims to have shot in Kashmir and Tibet? and is there a film called To the Roof of the World in Tibet that might survive under different titles or within later film compilations?
The best photographic evidence comes from both the International Photographer piece and the more contemporary account in American Cinematographer (February 1924), "Photographing the Roof of the World," by "Herford Tynes Cowling, A.S.C."  The first page of this is missing from the digitized copy I accessed and the images are of low resolution. But here is some of the photo-documentation of H. T. C. at work.

Cowling in Tibet, 1923

"I believe I have secured the only existing films of this nature."

Cowling at glacier

Pages harvested from 

Cowling Tiber

Cowling Tibet 1923

According to the Exhibitors Herald, the Tibetan expedition was made possible by Sir Hari Singh, who "later commissioned Cowling to officially photograph his coronation" in Kashmir -- "though it was to rest only in Sir Hari's private archives."  ("Fame of A.S.C. Spreads," Sep. 4, 1926.")

Jul 25, 2019

Daguerreotype of Earth's moon (1840)

Sharing. In this month during which so much media archiving has helped public memory of the 50th anniversary of earthlings visiting their moon.

"Daguerreotype of Earth's moon" (1840)

attributed to John W. Draper, 
2.75 x 3.25 inches; 
in frame at University Archives, Bobst Library, NYU

The Orphans in Space DVD (2012) cover image comes from the Draper Family Collection, housed in the New York University Archives. The collection includes celestial photographs taken by John William Draper (1811-1882) and his son Henry Draper (1837-1882). Both were physicians, professors of chemistry, and amateur but innovative photographers.
The photograph derives from a 3.25" x 2.75" daguerreotype of the moon made by the father, probably on March 26, 1840. A newly-appointed professor at what was then named the University of the City of New-York, the elder Draper created the image from the rooftop of the university's main building on Washington Square (less than a block from where the collection now resides, in NYU's Bobst Library). Alongside its observatory, the rooftop featured a glass-enclosed photographic studio, where Draper and fellow faculty member Samuel F. B. Morse made some of the earliest daguerreotype portraits that year.

Rather than the first photograph of the moon taken, this image is the earliest one among those known to survive. As early as 1837, photologist John W. Draper experimented with the effects of light (including moonlight) on salted paper. In 1838-39, after Louis Daguerre invented his method of fixing photographic images on metal plates, French astronomers asked their countryman to record the moon, but his attempts failed to maintain focus as the satellite moved during his long exposure times. When knowledge of daguerreotypy reached New York, Draper used a camera literally made from a cigar box to render at least two images of the moon during the winter of 1839-40. The first, "about one-sixth of an inch in diameter," was overexposed, the silver iodide on the copper plate turning black. The second, "nearly an inch" in diameter, fixed the light of a waning gibbous moon. Draper called it "deficient in sharpness" and "confused," although the "position of the darker spots on the surface of the luminary was distinct" in this "stain."

"I placed a flat gas-burner (bat’s-wing) in a magic lantern, and received the image of one of the grotesque transparencies, on a plate three inches square: in half an hour, a very fair representation was obtained."  

("Remarks on the Daguerreotype," American Repertory of Arts, Sciences, and Manufactures, July 1840, 401-4. Reproduced here.)

On March 23, 1840, Draper reported this limited success to the New York Lyceum of Natural History. Three nights later he recorded a last-quarter moon (i.e., a visible half moon), the positive image mirror-reversed by his telescope. This detailed daguerreotype became the source from which many copies derived. So many digital copies of this 1840 image now populate the internet, subject to so many manipulations of photographic variables, that it is difficult to discern that each derives from the same source. Some reverse the image horizontally, vertically, or both. Others switch the positive-negative values. Still others reproduce the later water-damaged daguerreotype plate; others the plate after its 1960s cleaning and restoration. Digital enhancements and alterations abound. Adding to the confusion of images, son Henry Draper became a prolific astrophotographer. After building an observatory at his home in 1860, he took more than a thousand images of the moon, and later the sun, planets, comets, and stars. These were reprinted in both the popular press and scientific literature, as well as on lantern slides, stereographs, and other formats.

The provenance of the 1840 John W. Draper daguerreotype is difficult to trace. From the beginning, the scientist himself re-photographed his own photographs. "There is no difficulty in making copies of Daguerreotype pictures of any size," he wrote. In the winter of 1839-40, "I made many copies of my more fortunate proofs . . . copying views on very minute plates, with a very minute camera." Later, these were enlarged "to any required size, by means of a stationery apparatus." What became of these daguerreotypes of daguerreotypes? In what ways did subsequent reproduction technologies alter the look of the original?

In 1960, some daguerreotypes were rediscovered amid a miscellany of Draper material, stored in the attic of Gould Memorial Library at NYU's University Heights campus in the Bronx. Before an extended loan to the Smithsonian in 1962, the NYU Photo Bureau made a copy photograph, which bears a confusing label: "First known photograph of the moon was taken by John W. Draper ca. 1839-40. The spots in this photo are caused by mold and water damage on the original daguerreotype, which apparently [?] no longer exists." Since 1993, when the moon photographs returned to the University Archives, experts have concluded that the daguerreotype seen here is most likely that taken by John Draper in 1840.

If so, its survival as an object happened against the odds. The senior Dr. Draper saw much of his work destroyed by an 1844 fire. Another devastating fire in 1866 obliterated the University Medical College, of which he was president. In addition to Draper's own papers and apparatus, the invaluable collections of the Lyceum of Natural History, which NYU had taken in, were completely consumed by the flames. After the fire, the New York Evening Post, recognizing the need to protect museums and archives, wrote on May 25: "What we want in New York is a great fire-proof building, sufficiently capacious to afford shelter to all the societies which possess valuable collections.”


Dan Streible, with research contributions from Ashley Sena-Levine, Simon Baatz, Nancy Cricco [university archivist], Howard McManus, Len Walle, Deborah Jean Warner, and Gregory Wick. Special acknowledgement for Walter Forsberg, who willed the Orphans in Space DVD into being and who brought the Draper moon photograph to my attention in the first place. The medium-resolution digital copy of the framed daguerreotype is my amateur snapshot taken with an iPhone 4 when Nancy Cricco showed the original to us in 2011.

Slide show at 2014 Orphan Film Symposium, Eye Filmmuseum, Amsterdam.

Downloadable. Booklet (40 pages) for the two-DVD set Orphans in Space: Forgotten Films from the Final Frontier (NYU Orphan Film Project, 2012). Produced and edited by Walter Forsberg, Alice Moscoso, Dan Streible, and Jonah Volk. Booklet design by Kramer O'Neill.

Jul 2, 2019

Orphans in China -- - “影展与城市” 国际论坛

Orphan films in China? 

Many, of course! So at last the Orphan Film Symposium visits China.

Xiamen University invited me to talk about the symposium-as-festival (“Screening Orphan Films: Why and How?”) and to screen a sample of shorts at this week's two-part conference on festivals and archives. Most of the other works presented here also fit within the orphan rubric. We saw a variety of previously neglected, forgotten, obscure, seldom-seen, or undistributed titles: ethnographic films, a found-footage remix, video art appropriation, a propaganda drama about comradeship among Chinese and North Korean soldiers during the Korean War, home movies from Taiwan, indie Malaysian movies, and restorations of feature films from Singapore, Mexico, the Philippines, and Thailand. 

How did we get here? 

In 2018, professors Li Xiaohong and Ray Jiing first visited NYU Cinema Studies with a group of other faculty and students from Xiamen University in Fujian, China. Our NYU faculty colleague Zhang Zhen was the conduit for dialogue among our Moving Image Archiving and Preservation Program, NYU Cinema Studies, and XMU's team, who are creating a media archiving degree similar to NYU MIAP.  The  university now operates an expanding film archive and study center, guided by Professor Jiing, best known for establishing what is now the Taiwan Film Institute.

Professors Li Xiaohong (Deputy Dean of Humanities) & Ray Jiing, 井迎瑞.
This week the interactions culminated in a large conference, "影展与城市" 国际论坛 -- the International Film Festival Forum -- hosted by Xiamen University's College of Humanities and co-organized with the NYU Asian Film and Media Initiative. Part 1 (June 28-29) brought 16 speakers together for daytime presentations and evening screenings. Zhang Zhen and Sangjoon Lee conceptualized the panels.

Our generous host Prof. Li and her impressive students from the Department of Film and Drama took this commemorative photograph on day one and delivered laminated copies to each of us the next day.

Part 2 (June 30 - July 3) addressed Film Archives and Film Restoration, with a new set of presenters, led by Dr. Jiing, assembling again on the beautiful campus. MIAP Director Juana Suárez and I were the fortunate two who got to present at both, with Dina Iordanova (St. Andrews U), Hee Wai Siam (Nanyang Technological U), and Nitin Govil (University of Southern California) participating in both as well.

Most attendees were Xiamen University faculty and students, working alongside invited artists, archivists, programmers, and researchers from across China and southeast Asia -- Yunnan, Guizhou, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines. Others came from North America, Europe, and Australia, including Jan-Christopher Horak (UCLA Film and Television Archive), Howard Besser (NYU), Bono Olgado (U of California, Irvine), Miao Song (Concordia U, Montreal), and Kirsten Stevens (U of Melbourne).

We learned about the histories and practices of film festivals including the Hong Kong IFF (from Roger Garcia), Singapore IFF (Yuni Hadi), Southeast Asian FF (Sangjoon Lee), Canada China IFF (Song Miao), Japanese festivals (Ma Ran), Latin American preservation festivals (Juana Suárez), and Taiwan's Women Make Waves (Huang Yu-Shan) and Golden Harvest Award and Short Film Festival (Ming-Yeh Rawnsley).

The fact that China's Golden Rooster and Hundred Flowers Film Festival has located to Xiamen this year* was a key reason the university organized the forum on this theme. We heard from Professor Li about the founder of the Golden Rooster Awards, and from Zheng Guoqing (Xiamen U) about Taipei's Golden Horse Awards and Festival. Other topics analyzed included the marketing of festivals (Liao Gene-Fon, Taiwan U of Arts), "cities of film" (Zhang Aigong, XMU), film collecting (Zhang Jin, China Film Archive) and Lin Liang-wen (Taiwan U of Arts), and Home Movie Day (Hsieh Yu-en, Film Collectors’ Museum).

Media art and ethnographic filmmaking were given particular attention, with screenings of the Chinese-language works Miasma, Plants, Export Paintings (Wang Bo & Pan Lu, 2017) Kawa People (Tan Leshui, 1958; introduced by the filmmaker’s son), and Tail After Those Old Photos (Chen Xueli, 2015). Yunnan was also well represented by Tan, Chen, media artist Li Xin, and film rescuer Xiong Libo. They were joined by Wei Wei (Guizhou Minzu U) on the Miao series of ethnographic films from the 1970s.


Each section of the conference ended with a visit to the XMU Film Archive Studies Center, located on the top floor of the library on the larger Xiang'an campus. Shiyang Jiang led our tour of the archive. A new film scanner sits alongside an acre of projectors and old film cans -- displayed to remind us of the noted cultural heritage site, the Terracotta Army of Xi'an. There's also a lecture room set up with working 35mm projectors on the floor, which were used to good effect.

Shiyang Jiang of the XMU film archive will be entering the NYU MIAP master's program.

Photos and videos by Dan Streible, June 27, 2019. 

Ray Jiing's Archivist's Code of Ethics on display in Chinese concludes with a paragraph about the English terms "orphan films" and "public domain."  Shiyang translated. 

A special treat concluded the visit: projection of a 35mm print from the Military Collection, nothing less than a reel from Wong Kar-wai's Ashes of Time Redux (1994/2008). 

The evening screenings on the giant screen of the 700-seat theater were especially memorable. These included 

Chris Horak introduced UCLA restorations of the handsome Enamorada (Emilio Fernandez, Mexico, 1946), shot by Gabriel Figueroa, starring Maria Félix & Pedro Almendáriz; and, from Hollywood, the odd 1929 Best Picture nominee Alibi (sound version)

• Man with a Movie Camera: The Participatory Global Remake (1929/2017), January 19, 2017 edition; introduced by Howard Besser as an example of database cinema and our forum theme of cities.

• Lino Brocka's Maynila, sa mga Kuko ng LiwanagManila in the Claws of Light (Philippines, 1975), a 2013 restoration by the World Cinema Foundation, introduced by Benedict Salazar Olgado, former director of the National Film Archives of the Philippines.

• The fabulous martial arts flick 血指环 / Ring of Fury (Singapore, 1973), restored by the Asian Film Archive, with Cineric Portual solving the serious mold and color fading problems; introduced by Karen Chan.

The before-and-after demo for Ring of Fury is more striking than most.

• Santi-Vina (Thavi Na Bangchang, Thailand, 1954) 
Introduced by Sanchai Chotirosseranee of Film Archive (Public Organization), Thailand; restoration from the BFI National Archive's 35mm nitrate release print. The first Thai color feature film -- and such colors! 

My orphan shorts (small films screened on the small screen) included [Elsa and Albert Einstein at Warner Bros.- First National Studio] (US, 1931); the amateur production Na odnoi zemle / On the Same Earth (USSR, 1976); and the particularly well-received 轻骑姑娘 / Light Cavalry Girls (China, 1980) from the University of South Carolina's Chinese Film Collection. This Central Newsreel and Documentary Film Studio production by Shen Jie highlights the Chinese army’s Bayi Women Light Motorcycle Team. The XMU students were particularly intrigued by this anomalous experimental documentary. (My thanks to the researchers who rediscovered these three films: Becca Bender and Maria Vinogradova, as well as Zoe Meng Jiang, Yongli Li, and Lydia Pappas.) I was also able to screen clips from my forthcoming annotated, on-line filmography of 50 terms for newsreel  elements, including the item that serves as the frontispiece for the 2020 Orphan Film Symposium -- If the Antarctic Ice Cap Should Melt? -- outtakes (Fox Movietone News, 1929). 

Special recognition here for artist-curator Qin Dao and his presentation on the Guangzhou City cinematheque "On Kino." Here's a quintessential icon of orphan films in China, as seen on the Facebook page

My gratitude to the Xiamen University team for the hospitality all week. They gave us access to the famous local cuisine, a tour of Gulang Island (UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site), and extraordinarily friendly attention to every detail. 

Don't be surprised if there is another forum next year. 

-- Dan Streible 

p.s. Special thanks to XMU student, 华莱士 Young, my translator, problem-solver, and fellow basketball fan.

Also, it must be noted that the XMU student team of Alice, Shiyang, and Young all gave up what should have been their first day off to make sure I got through the emergency room process. 

(Total out-of-pocket cost for emergency room visit, doctor's exam, lab tests, and medications:  about $50 USD for this non-citizen.)


* Rebecca Davis, “Xiamen Woos Film Industry, Becomes New Home of Golden Rooster Festival,” Variety, June 16, 2019. 

Jun 6, 2019

Orphans - Radicals - NOW!

Gentle colleagues:

 “At last the day has came!”  

 Official greetings from the OFS, NYU, and our host ÖFM.   

If you have registered for the special edition of the NYU Orphan Film Symposium – RADICALS – at the Austrian Film Museum in Vienna, you already what needs be known about our schedule.  But attached here is a plain-text version of the program, along with the PDF that Jurij Meden sent us previously. 

At the entrance to the Filmmuseum, you and all visitors will find a paper version of the program sitting at the ticket counter.  Starting at 3:00 pm today (Thursday, June 6), you can officially register by picking up your name badge (required to get you in to all the events). 

Thursday evening consists of the 7:00 pm screening of restored Dutch experimental films from Eye Filmmuseum, followed by an 8:30 Orphans-Radicals reception in the lobby, and concluding at 9:30 pm with a very short screening and convivial introductions.

Friday and Saturday presentations begin at 9:30 am. (Doors open at 8:30 am; with coffee/croissant discount at the museum.) Lunches and coffee breaks catered for us.

Thanks to all of you who have come from far and near to be part of this special Orphans gathering.  Looking forward to it all.


Dan Streible
NYU Orphan Film Symposium

Jurij Meden, 
Kurator, Austrian Film Museum

Michael Loebenstein
Director, Austrian Film Museum 

May 12, 2019

Orphans | RADICALS | The Program

Here's the official program. Registration is open to all.  

Click here to join an international gathering of archivists, curators, scholars, artists, and others dedicated to saving, studying, and screening radically diverse types of neglected works. 

a special edition of the NYU Orphan Film Symposium

at the Austrian Film Museum in Vienna, June 6-8, 2019

Thursday, June 6
15:00 to 21:00 Registration at Filmmuseum (Augustinerstraße 1)

19:00  Movements, a program in the film series “There are no rules!” Restored and Revisited Avant-Garde Films from the Netherlands.
Introduced by curator Simona Monizza (EYE Netherlands Film Museum)

20:30 Symposium reception party at Filmmuseum lobby and bar

21:30 Film Program 0
•  A Few Drunkards at the Mars Bar (Masha Godovannaya, US, 2001, 1 min) Introduced by Masha Godovannaya as homage to Jonas Mekas.

•  tx-reverse (Martin Reinhart & Virgil Widrich, Austria, 2018, 5 min) Introduced by Martin Reinhart and Virgil Widrich.

Friday, June 7
8:30 Registration opens at Filmmuseum (coffee & croissant discount offer)

9:30 Session 0: Welcome and opening remarks
Michael Loebenstein (Austrian Film Museum), Dan Streible (NYU Cinema Studies)
Why Radicals?

10:00 Session 1
Grazia Ingravalle (Brunel University London) British or Indian Colonial Film Heritage? Towards a Decolonization of Film Archiving and Curation   
• Panorama of Calcutta, India, from the River Ganges
(Warwick Trading Co., UK, 1899, 35mm, 2 min)

Kaveh Askari (Michigan State University) & Hadi Gharabaghi (New York University) MSU and National Iranian Radio and Television’s Iran Film Series: Ancient Iran: Part 2, 3000-800 BC (Margaret Mehring and Mohammad Ali Issari, US/Iran, 1977) 

11:15 Coffee break

11:45 Session 2
Brian Meacham (Yale Film Study Center) & Josh Morton (filmmaker) Radical Theater: The Black Panthers, New Haven, and Puppet Show (Josh Morton, US, 1970, 16mm, 9 min)

Kimberly Tarr (NYU Libraries) Angela Davis Report (DDR, 1972, 16mm, 19 min) new preservation from the Communist Party of the United States of America Collection  

13:00 Lunch break

14:00 Session 3
Thomas Christensen & Katrine Madsbjerg (Danish Film Institute) Unidentified International Socialists, or: How Uncle Sam Traveled from Vienna to Copenhagen: Onkel Sams Wienerrejse (Uncle Sam's Trip to Vienna, Austria, 1931) 

Enrique Fibla-Gutierrez (Filmoteca de Catalunya) & Pablo La Parra-Pérez (Elías Querejeta Film School) The Wretched of the Spanish Earth: Fragments from Spanish Radical Film Archives, 1930s-1970s 
David Landolf & Brigitte Paulowitz (Lichtspiel / Kinemathek Bern) Amateur Filmmaking for a Greater Cause: René Betge’s Propaganda for the Lebensreform Movement “die neue zeit,” 1929-1939

15:45 Coffee break

16:15 Session 4
Tania López Espinal (Cineteca Nacional México) “Viva Cristo Rey!”: Manuel Ramos, 9.5mm Films, and the Cristero War, 1926-1929

José Miguel Palacios (Universidad Alberto Hurtado, Santiago) & Elizabeth Ramírez-Soto (San Francisco State University) Redefining Political Cinemas in Exile: Chilean Filmmakers After 1973
 Pinochet: asesino, fascista, traidor, agente del imperialismo (Sergio Castilla, Sweden, 1974, 16mm, 5 min) print courtesy of the Swedish Film Institute
•  La femme au foyer (The Housewife; Valeria Sarmiento, France, 1976, 23 min) courtesy of Groupe de Recherches et d’Essais Cinématographiques
Léa Morin (L'Atelier de l'Observatoire, Casablanca) An Unknown Moroccan Cinema: Mostafa Derkaoui’s Student Films in Poland, 1969-1971
•  Ludzie z piwnicy (People from the Vault, 1969, excerpt)
•  Gdzieś, pewnego dnia (A Day Somewhere, 1971, 35mm, 20 min)

18:00 Conference dinner at Al Caminetto da Mario (Krugerstraße 4)

20:00 Film Program 1 (open to public)
The Black and the Green (St. Clair Bourne, US, 1983, 16mm, 45 min)

Presented by Judith Bourne & Jacob Perlin (Metrograph, NYC)

Saturday, June 8
8:30 Registration opens at Filmmuseum (coffee & croissant discount offer)

9:30 Session 5
Stefanie Zingl (Austrian Film Museum / Ludwig Boltzmann Institute) The Sensation of Color: Mroz short-lived 9.5mm Color Film

Testfilm (Josef Mroz, Austria, 1930, 2 min)
Farbenfilmversuche (Josip Sliškovič, Austria, 1931-32, 5 min)
Giorgio Trumpy, Josephine Diecke, David Pfluger, & Barbara Flueckiger (University of Zurich) Reconsidering Rigid Procedures of Color Film Digitization: Case Studies in Toning, Lenticular Processes, Chromogenic Stocks, and Mroz-Farbenfilm
Sandra Ladwig (University of Applied Arts Vienna) The Amateur’s Provocation of Perception: René Tajoburg’s Irrsinn rot weiss gelb (Frenzy in Red, White, Yellow; Austria, ca. 1970, 6 min)

 10:45 Coffee break

11:15 Session 6
Rommy Albers, Simona Monizza (EYE Filmmuseum, Amsterdam) & Floris Paalmen (University of Amsterdam) Cineclub Amsterdam Freedom Films at the International Institute of Social History 

Mara Mattuschka & Hans Werner Poschauko (Maria Lassnig Foundation, Vienna) Maria Lassnig's Films in Progress: An Artist's Approach to Restoring Unfinished Works

13:00  Lunch  

14:15 Session 7
Hieyoon Kim (University of Wisconsin-Madison) Toward a New Cinema: The Seoul Film Collective and Film Activism in the 1980s, excerpts from Pannori Arirang (1982) and Surise (South Korea, 1984)

Eva Näripea (National Archives of Estonia / Estonian Academy of Arts) & Hardi Volmer (Nukufilm) Päratrust [Butt Trust] Heritage
•  Kalkar (Estonia, USSR, 1980, 11 min) a punk satire of Tarkovsky’s Stalker
Masha Godovannaya (Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna) Silent Horizon: Evgeny Yufit and Early Necrorealist Cinema

•  Lesorub (Woodcutter, USSR, 1985, 35mm, 8 min)
•  Vesna (Spring, USSR, 1987, 35mm, 10 min)

15:30 Coffee Break

16:00 Session 8
Joachim Schätz (University of Vienna) Avant-garde Mimicry

•  Mit unbekanntem Ziel (Destination Unknown; Austrian Chamber of Commerce & Institute for the Promotion of Trade, Austria, 1963, 35mm, 23 min)
Martin Reinhart (University of Applied Arts Vienna) The Data Loam Project: Challenging the Dystopia of the "Information Age"
Tara Merenda Nelson (Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, NY) Radical Collaboration: Robert Frank in Rochester

17:00 Session 9: Open discussion about Radicals

18:00 Dinner break

20:00 Film Program 2 (open to public)
•  Tsaar Muhha (Tsar of the Flies; Estonia, USSR, 1981, 3 min) Introduced by Eva Näripea.

•  Premiere screening of a 1930s nitrate iteration of Hans Richter’s Every Day (UK, 1929, 16 min) Introduced by Caroline Fournier (Cinémathèque Suisse).

•  About Us (Robert Frank & VSW students, US, 1972, 16mm, 38 min) Introduced by Tara Merenda Nelson.

21:30 Closing party at Filmmuseum lobby and bar

NB: All silent screenings will be accompanied by Filmmuseum’s resident pianist Elaine Loebenstein.

Registration is open to all.  Click here  for details. 

Feb 24, 2019

Register for RADICALS: June 6-8, 2019

Register now for RADICALS,
a special edition of the
NYU Orphan Film Symposium
at the Austrian Film Museum
in Vienna,
June 6-8, 2019.

Click here for registration
 information, with discount for early payment.

Thursday, June 6:
Symposium registration includes free admission to the 7:00 pm screening of Dutch experimental films curated by Simona Monizza (EYE Netherlands Film Museum).
An Örphans opening reception follows in the lobby and al fresco bar area (with drinks & nibbles) at das Österreichische Filmmuseum.

Here’s a first look at some of the presentations and screenings slated for RADICALS throughout Friday, June 7 & Saturday, June 8.

Kimberly Tarr (NYU Libraries)  Angela Davis Report (DDR, 1972) Premiere of new 16mm preservation from the Communist Party of the United States of America Records at NYU Tamiment Library

Rommy Albers, Simona Monizza (EYE), & Floris Paalmen (U of Amsterdam) Cineclub Amsterdam Freedom Films at the International Institute for Society History

Mara Mattuschka & Hans Werner Poschauko (Maria Lassnig Foundation) Maria Lassnig's “Films in Progress”: An Artist's Approach to Restoring Unfinished Works

Grazia Ingravalle (Brunel U London) British or Indian Colonial Film Heritage? Towards a Decolonization of Film Archiving and Curation. Panorama of Calcutta, India, from the River Ganges (Warwick Trading Co., 1899) and excerpts from Around India with a Movie Camera (Sandhya Suri, 2018)

Masha Godovannaya (media artist, QFAAG Unwanted Organization) Necrorealism in the USSR: Films and Photos by Yevgeniy Yufit: Werewolf Orderlies (1984), Woodcutter (1985), Spring (1987), and Suicide Monsters (1988)

Caroline Fournier (Cinémathèque Suisse) Debut screening of a 1930s nitrate iteration of Hans Richter’s Every Day (1929)

Joachim Schätz (Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for History and Society) Avant-garde Mimicry: Mit unbekanntem Ziel [Destination Unknown] (Austrian Chamber of Commerce & Institute for the Promotion of Trade, 1963)

Virgil Widrich & Martin Reinhart (U für angewandte Kunst Wien) Time and Space Reversed on Screen: tx-mirror at Twenty (new productions)

Martin Reinhart (U für angewandte Kunst Wien) What Is the Data Loam Project?

José Miguel Palacios (U Alberto Hurtado, Chile) & Elizabeth Ramírez-Soto (San Francisco State U) Chilean Filmmakers in Exile after 1973: La femme au foyer (Valeria Sarmiento, France, 1976), La piedra crece donde cae la gota (Patricio Castilla, Cuba, 1977), Le soulier (Jorge Fajardo, Canada, 1980)

Eva Näripea (National Archives of Estonia) & Hardi Volmer (artist) Päratrust [Butt Trust] Estonian Punk Band films, 1979-1983: Kalkar (satire of Tarkovsky’s Stalker) and Tsar of the Flies

Brian Meacham (Yale Film Study Center) & Josh Morton (filmmaker) Radical Theater: The Black Panthers, New Haven, and Puppet Show (Josh Morton, 1970)

Tania López Espinal (Cineteca Nacional México) Viva Cristo Rey! Manuel Ramos, 9.5mm Films, and the Cristero War, 1926-1929

Thomas Christensen & Katrine Madsbjerg (Danish Film Institute) Unidentified International Socialists, or: How Uncle Sam Traveled from Vienna to Copenhagen. Debut of new preservation: Onkel Sams Wienerrejse (1931)

Léa Morin (L'Atelier de l'Observatoire, Casablanca) An Unknown Moroccan Cinema: Mostafa Derkaoui’s Student Films in Poland, 1969-71

Jacob Perlin (Metrograph NYC) Saint Clair Bourne’s documentary The Black and the Green (1983)

David Landolf & Brigitte Paulowitz (Lichtspiel / Kinemathek Bern) Amateur Filmmaking for a Greater Cause: René Betge’s Propaganda Films for the Lebensreform Movement „die neue zeit,“ 1929-1939

Enrique Fibla-Gutierrez (Filmoteca de Catalunya) & Pablo La Parra-Pérez (Elías Querejeta Film School, San Sebastian) The Wretched of the Spanish Earth: Fragments from Spanish Film Archives, 1930s-1970s

Kaveh Askari (MSU) & Hadi Gharabaghi (NYU) Michigan State University and National Iranian Radio and Television’s Iran Film Series: Ancient Iran: Part 2, 3000-800 BC (Margaret Mehring and Mohammad Ali Issari, 1977). New preservation from the University Archives

Hieyoon Kim (U of Wisconsin) The Seoul Film Collective and Activism in the 1980s (excerpts from 8mm films)

Tara Merenda Nelson (Visual Studies Workshop) Robert Frank at Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, New York:  About Us (VSW, 1972)

Sandra Ladwig (U of Applied Arts Vienna) The Amateur’s Attention to the Inconspicuous: Irrsinn rot weiss gelb [Frenzy in Red, White, Yellow] (René Tajoburg, Super 8mm, ca. 1970)

Giorgio Trumpy, Josephine Diecke, David Pfluger, & Barbara Flueckiger (U of Zurich) Reconsidering Rigid Procedures of Color Film Digitization: Toning, Lenticular Processes, Chromogenic Stock, and Mroz-Farbenfilm

Stefanie Zingl (OFM) The Short Life of Mroz 9.5mm Color Amateur Film: Testfilm (Josef Mroz, 1930) and Farbenfilmversuche (Josip Sliskovic, 1931-32)

and others TBA . . .

Evening screenings curated by Jurij Meden & Michael Loebenstein (Austrian Film Museum) with Dan Streible (NYU Cinema Studies)

Jan 18, 2019

Screening Orphans at MoMA, MLK Day 2019

Orphans at MoMA
Monday, Jan. 21, 2019  (MLK Day)
6:30 pm

Museum of Modern Art (11 West 5rd Street, NYC)
To Save and Project: 16th International Festival of Film Preservation

Beloved Community:
Rarities of African American and LGBTQ Cinema—and More
highlights from the Orphan Film Symposium on Love

Piano accompaniment by Ben Model

Three American Beauties (Edison, 1906) 35mm, 1’      
MoMA’s restoration of an original hand-colored print; directed by Edwin S. Porter and Wallace McCutcheon.
Museum of Modern Art

Welcome by Josh Siegel (MoMA)
Intro by Dan Streible (NYU Cinema Studies, Orphan Film Symposium)

video greeting from Barbara Hammer
Sarah Keller
(U Mass Boston) introduces three of Barbara Hammer's earliest Super 8 films. 3’ each.

Contribution to Light (1968), Aldebaran Sees (1969), and Death of a Marriage (1969)
Electronic Arts Intermix

Something Good—Negro Kiss (Selig Polyscope, 1898) 35mm, 1'
         The film rediscovery of the year, from archivist Dino Everett (USC) and scholar Allyson Field (U of Chicago), who identifies this kiss between performers Saint Suttle and Gertie Brown as cinema’s earliest known depiction of black intimacy. The Library of Congress added it to the National Film Registry in 2018.
University of Southern California Hefner Moving Image Archive

Lan Linh Nguyen Hoai  (NYU MIAP) introduces
Fee (Walther Barth, 1929) 8’
            A charming, inventive, and intimate amateur film shot in Zschornewitz, Germany, in which Dr. Barth (an Agfa film engineer) and a companion pose for his 16mm camera amid a field of poppies near the world’s largest brown-coal-fired power station. One of 101 films in the Barth Collection, researched by Louisa Trott (University of Tennessee).
Tennessee Archive of Moving Image and Sound

Juana Suárez (NYU MIAP) introduces
Leopold Godowsky Jr. home movies (1930s-40s) mosaic by Becca Bender, 4’   
        Becca Bender, while an NYU Moving Image Archiving and Preservation student, uncovered a cache of 150 reels of 16mm film in the Lincoln Center archive. She identified them as those of Leopold Godowsky Jr. (1900-1983), noted musician and co-inventor of the Kodachrome film process. With archivist Bonnie Marie Sauer, she reunited the collection with the estate. This mosaic shows Godowsky’s father (famed concert pianist) and wife Francis Gershwin (sister of George and Ira), as well as family friends Albert Einstein, Leon Trotsky, and Arturo Toscanini.
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts Archive

Bonnie Marie Sauer (Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts)
[Elsa & Albert Einstein at Warner Bros.- First National Studio] (1931) 3’
            A lone reel of 35mm nitrate film among the Godowsky material at Lincoln Center, this never-released footage was scanned by the Library of Congress and repatriated to the Einstein Archives. (Thanks also to Cineric lab and to archivist Roni Grosz.)
Albert Einstein Archives, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Brianna Jones (NYU MIAP) Martin Luther King on Voting (WIS-TV, 1966) 35mm, 6’
           On May 9, 1966, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke in Kingstree, South Carolina, urging residents to “march on ballot boxes” in the upcoming election. Newsfilm outtakes from a Columbia television station, the 16mm original was preserved in 35mm by Monaco Film lab with audio restoration by Chace Audio for the Orphan Film Symposium.
University of South Carolina Moving Image Research Collections

Dan Streible introduces
Martin Luther King at Santa Rita [Peace Pickets, Original, fragment] (Leonard Henny, 1968) with Martin Luther King at Santa Rita (KPFA-FM, 1968) audio
          For this screening only, a 16mm silent fragment from EYE is accompanied by non-synchronized audio recorded at the same place and time by KPFA radio. On January 14, 1968, Dr. King visited Joan Baez and others arrested for anti-war protests. He spoke to those keeping vigil outside. The film ends with David Harris (Baez's husband) meeting King for the first time; KPFA captured their informal conversation at the same moment.
EYE Netherlands Film Museum & Pacifica Radio Archives

Introduction by John Klacsmann and Ina Archer  
A People’s Playhouse (American Negro Theatre, 1944) 16mm, 5’
            Ruby Dee is among those seen in this fundraising promotion for New York’s A.N.T.  Jointly preserved by the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) and Anthology Film Archives from an AFA print.
Anthology Film Archives

Claire Fox (NYU MIAP) introduces
Behind Every Good Man . . . (Nikolai Ursin, 1967) 16mm, 9’           
        This rediscovered independent short is a pioneering portrait of the everyday life of an African-American trans woman. Restored by the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project with a grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation.
UCLA Film & Television Archive

Introduction by Ina Archer (NMAAHC) DCP,  31’
* Elder Lightfoot Solomon Michaux and the Church of God (Willie P. Johnson, 1940s-1950s)
* Cab Calloway home movies (1930s-1950s)
* Ella Fitzgerald on the television show Kreisler Bandstand  (ABC, 1951)
Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

Three American Beauties (Edison, 1906) 1’
        This new digital restoration of a complete print includes the surprise ending.
National Library of Norway

The Orphan Film Symposium is a production of the NYU Tisch School of the Arts Department of Cinema Studies.