Aug 20, 2009

Sept 16 films at SVA Theater grand opening

Here's the word from the SVA

School of the Visual Arts Celebrates the Opening and Dedication of the SVA Theatre
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
333 West 23 Street
New York City

Following top-to-bottom renovations that transformed a former first-run movie house into a state-of-the-art facility for artist talks, film screenings and other cultural events, the School of Visual Arts (SVA) will celebrate the opening of the SVA Theatre on Wednesday, September 16, 2009. The theater’s new design is the work of world-renowned designer Milton Glaser and features what may be the city’s largest kinetic sculpture atop the theater’s marquee.

Glaser, who is best known as the creator of the “I♥NY” logo and co-founder of New Yorkmagazine, based his design for the 18-feet-high structure on Tatlin’s Tower, the iconic monument to the Russian Revolution proposed by visionary architect Vladimir Tatlin in 1920 and now considered one of the great objects of Russian Constructivism. Glaser’s colorful homage consists of three metal cylinders that sit atop the marquee and rotate at hourly intervals like an abstract timepiece. Expanding on the theme of time, the marquee is ringed by a zipper sign that will display quotations about the passage of time by historic figures from Albert Einstein to Ronald Reagan.

The opening festivities pay tribute to Tatlin and the artistic movements of the early 20th century with a program of film masterworks by Yakov Protazanov, Dziga Vertov, H.G. Wells, Fernand Leger and Man Ray. The screenings will take place from 12 - 5pm; admission is free and open to the public. The SVA Theatre is located at 333 West 23 Street in New York City.

There will be a presentation, dedication ceremony--featuring the lighting of the marquee sculpture--and reception for invited guests from 7 - 9:30pm. Press seats are available at 212.592.2010.

Film Screenings
Times are approximate.

Things to Come (William Cameron Menzies, 1936; 100 minutes)
One of the earliest science fiction films dealing with the then-future world of the late of the 20th Century, featuring a script on which H.G. Wells collaborated and dazzling Constructivist design.

Man with a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, 1929; 68 minutes)
Directed by the most famous realist filmmaker of his era, a silent heavily influenced by Soviet montage which presents a remarkable picture of everyday life in the newly-created Soviet state.

Aelita: Queen of Mars (Yakov Protazanov, 1927; 100 minutes)
A landmark early silent Soviet science-fiction film made in the Constructivist style, which tells the story of a Russian scientist who travels to Mars and aids in a workers revolution on the “Red” planet.

A selection of shorts by Fernand Leger and Man Ray
During the silent era, France produced a remarkable body of short experimental films which mirrored artistic movements of the time. Many were made by the same artists who led those movements and in the same spirit as the Soviet Constructivist films.

The SVA Theatre is a state-of-the-art facility for the presentation of lectures, film screenings and performances at the School of Visual Arts, New York. In addition to class meetings and cultural programs organized by the College, the theater hosts myriad events produced by cultural organizations and community groups whose work is consistent with the College’s mission. The 20,000-square-foot space houses two separate auditoriums, one with 480 seats and the other with 265, that are equipped with the latest in lighting, sound and projection capabilities.

School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York City is an established leader and innovator in the education of artists. From its inception in 1947, the faculty has been comprised of professionals working in the arts and art-related fields. SVA provides an environment that nurtures creativity, inventiveness and experimentation, enabling students to develop a strong sense of identity and a clear direction of purpose.

Media Contact: For more information, please contact Michael Grant, director of communication, at 212.592.2011 or e-mail

Aug 17, 2009

Inside the Visual Arts Theater

Here's a sneak peek at the SVA Theater (formerly the Chelsea West cinema and originally the RKO 23rd Street theater). Photos courtesy of Gene Stavis.

Inside the 280267-seat theater, with screen covered by curtain. Lots of performance space.

There's actually a "wet bar" in the lobby.

The SVA Theater lobby as seen from behind the bar.


A not-too-old image of 333 W. 23rd Street, when it was still the Chelsea West Clearview Cinema. The facade is being completely made over. The apartment towers in the background and the green space to the right are part of Penn South, a progressive, nonprofit housing cooperative.
(Screen shot taken from Google maps, street view.)

The site Cinema Treasures chronicles the theater's history. Turns out that the Clearview ceased operations there a month before the 2008 Orphan Film Symposium, the SVA Theater held its first screening four days after Orphans '08.

Aug 16, 2009

New York readopts

It's true. The 7th Orphan Film Symposium (April 7-10, 2010) will not be in fair Culpeper, Virginia, as originally announced. New York City is taking the baby back. It's an NYU production, but we will be using the School of Visual Arts Theater.

The Orphan Film Symposium marks its seventh biennial gathering of archivists, scholars, curators, collectors, and media artists devoted to saving, studying, and screening neglected moving images. NYU Cinema Studies is pleased to partner with the School of Visual Arts in Chelsea. All
sessions will take place in its new, state-of-the-art cinema space at 333 W. 23rd Street: the Visual Arts Theater.

Registration is limited to 280 seats.
30 hours of programming in 4 nights and 3 days
40 speakers and presenters

THEME of Orphans 7:

Moving Pictures Around the World

Following on the internationalism evident at the 2008 Orphan Film Symposium (at which 18 nations were represented), Orphans 7 focuses on transnational and global issues. How

have moving images circulated across national and other boundaries? How are neglected archival materials accessed and used across and within borders?

More than 40 presenters will address topics including: film repatriation; mobility and travel; regional and transnational cinemas
; issues of migration and global/local dynamics; heritage, cultural property, and developing nations; the World-Wide Web as de facto archive; the work of international associations in media preservation and access; and the many forms of neglected archival material that shed light on globalism or the transnational aspects of history and archiving. See and hear new works by media artists, including the recipient of the 2010 Helen Hill Award, given to innovative, independent filmmakers.

Proposals are still being accepted, though much of the content is already selected. The program will be posted here by October 1.

scheduled highlights
▲ NYU's two Audio-Visual Preservation Exchange projects, with newly preserved films from Ghana's Dept of Information Services and from the Museo del Cine de Buenos Aires
  • NFPF's repatriation of American silent films from the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia

  • • ▲ Paolo Cherchi Usai (Haghefilm Foundation) the history of film repatriation
  • Film ist. A Girl and a Gun (2009) Gustav Deutsch & Hanna Schimek, Vienna
  • ▲ NYU Library's rediscovery of With the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in Spain (1938), the first film by Henri Cartier-Bresson[!]
  • ▲ David Francis & Joss March on magic lanternry
  • ▲ Vanessa Toulmin (Univ of Sheffield) Edison films, 1894-95, repatriated from the UK
  • ▲ Bill Brand, Andrew Lampert, and Mark Toscano on experimental restorations
  • ▲ women amateur filmmakers in New Zealand/Aotearoa, India, China, Egypt, Algeria, Japan, the Philippines
  • ▲ new Fox Movietone newsreel preservation from the University of South Carolina's Moving Image Research Collections & Library of Congress
  • The Augustas (1957-58) an amateur film by Scott Nixon, presented by Mark G. Cooper and Heidi Rae Cooley (U of South Carolina)
  • Another Pilgrim (1968) Elaine Summer's sponsored film for the World Council of Churches
  • El Colégio Nacional de Buenos Aires (1923) filmed by Pablo Ducrós, later founder of the Museo del Cine
  • ▲ Stefan Drössler (Munich Filmmuseum) with Orson Welles Sketchbook (1955)
  • ▲ Sergei Kapterev on 2 rediscovered reels (from Gosfilmofon) of Mikhail Kalatozov’s Georgian documentary Their Kingdom (1928)
  • ▲ Nico de Klerk (Nederlands Filmmuseum) and Julia Noordegraaf (Univ of Amsterdam) city promotion films
  • ▲ Center for Home Movies preservations: Wallace Kelly's Kodachrome film of Mt. Rushmore, 1938; Helen Hill's New Orleans
  • ▲ Jiří Horníček, Národní Filmový Archiv films
  • ▲ Terri Francis (Yale) the Jamaica Film Unit's Parables, 1951-1957
  • Origin of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata (Edison, 1909)
  • One Tenth of a Nation (1940) introduced by Carol Radovich (Rockefeller Archive Center) and Julie Hubbert (University of South Carolina)
  • ▲ restorations of 17.5mm films from Europe (Haghefilm, Nederlands Filmmuseum, & Martina Roepke) and the U.S. (Colorlab and Michael Rothschild)
  • ▲ much more . . .

  • Aug 15, 2009

    Orphans in Chelsea

    The 7th Orphan Film Symposium will not be at the Library of Congress; it will be at the new superb venue in Chelsea NYC -- the School of Visual Arts Theater, 333 W. 23rd St.

    Here's part of the exterior, with kinetic sculpture, designed by Milton Glaser.
    Officially opening on September 16, the former Chelsea West cinema has two auditoriums. The Orphan Film Symposium will be in the 280-seater, replete with 35/16mm variable speed projection and digital projection. Installation by James Bond, Full Aperture Systems.

    Thanks to film historian Gene Stavis, Director of the SVA Theater (and former American rep of Henri Langlois!), Orphans 7 has found a swell home for 2010.