Apr 2, 2011

Time Travel and Dreams of a Better Life (in Wisconsin)

April 2, 2011 
(Madison, Wisconsin)

Today moviegoers at the sold-out University of Wisconsin Cinematheque screening of orphan films also read the following notes.

The Orphan Film Project is an ongoing, international, collaborative endeavor to save, study, and screen neglected moving images. Media archivists, artists, scholars, technical experts, lab owners, curators, collectors, students, and other self-identified orphanistas contribute to the project, gathering for the biennial Orphan Film Symposium now adopted by the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University (and formerly by the University of South Carolina, 1999-2006). NYU Cinema Studies and its Moving Image Archiving and Preservation master’s program integrate the concept and practice into coursework.

The Wisconsin Film Festival presents a program of films curated by symposium organizer Dan Streible (NYU associate professor of cinema studies) and emceed by Walter Forsberg (NYU MIAP alum, independent documentarian, NY Libraries Research Fellow, snipe collector, and co-founder of l’Atelier-National du Manitoba).

The newly preserved film prints, selected from ten archives, range in time from A Trip Down Market Street Before the Fire (1906) to Helen Hill’s dreamlike Scratch and Crow (1995) -- both recently added to the National Film Registry. Other travels include a newsreel camera van’s drive down Manhattan’s Radio Row in NYC Street Scenes and Noises (1929), the imaginative USIA propaganda short A Letter from Colombia (1963) and its previously unseen contemporary, Ed Emshwiller’s March on Washington (1963). The enigmatic, anonymous found-film Madison News Reel (ca. 1932), the intuitive verité Sunday (1961) by teenager Dan Drasin, and the I Ching-inspired 11 thru 12 (Andrea Callard, 1977) make for unconventional time travel -- as will the premiere restoration screening of Galaxies (1974), a mindbender by pioneering computer artist Lillian Schwartz. 

* * * *
UW Cinematheque
April 2, 2011, 1:30pm

[pre-show 35mm snipes reel courtesy of Walter Forsberg]
Orphan Films:
Time Travel and Dreams of a Better Life

Presenter: Walter Forsberg (NYU Libraries)

Beyond the Images in This Dark Box (Russell Sheaffer and Jim Bittl, 2010)
Trailer for the 7th Orphan Film Symposium.

National Film Registry
Scratch and Crow (Helen Hill, 1995) 16mm,  4ʼ 
Source:  Harvard Film Archive. Preserved by Colorlab.

National Film Registry
A Study in Reds (Miriam Bennett, 1933) 16mm, b/w, silent, 24’ (DVD excerpt)
Source:  Wisconsin Historical Society

Campus Smiles (1920) 35mm, b/w, silent, 5’
Source:  Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research

Madison News Reel (unknown, ca. 1932) 35mm, b/w, silent, 3’
Source:  Northeast Historic Film (Bucksport, Maine)  

National Film Registry
A Trip Down Market Street Before the Fire (Miles Bros., 1906) 35mm, b/w, 12’
Score by Agatha Kasprzyk and Rafael Leloup (NYU Film Scoring Program, 2010)
Source:  Prelinger Archives

NYC Street Scenes and Noises (Fox Movietone News, 1929) 35mm, b/w, 12’
Source:  Univ. of South Carolina, Moving Image Research Collections. Preserved by Cinetech.

Sunday (Dan Drasin, 1961) 16mm to 35mm, b/w, 17’
Source:  UCLA Film and Television Archive.
Preserved for the Orphan Film Symposium with funding from The Film Foundation.

March on Washington (Ed Emshwiller, 1963) 16mm, silent, 9’
Source:  Anthology Film Archives. Preserved by Cineric.

A Letter from Colombia (James Blue, USIA, 1963) 35mm, b/w, 10’
Source:  National Archives and Records Administration

first-ever screening of the newly preserved
Galaxies (Lillian Schwartz, 1974) 16mm, 5’
Source:  Ohio State University Rare Books and Manuscripts Library (thanks to Lisa Iacobellis). Preserved by BB Optics and Colorlab.

11 thru 12 (Andrea Callard, 1977) original Super 8 (mag. sd.) to 16mm (opt. sd.), 11’
Source:  NYU Fales Library and Special Collections 

Unannounced finale
[Andy Warhol EPI at RISC] (WJAR-TV, April 1, 1967) 2' 
Source:  Oddball Film + Video (Stephen Parr).


The next Orphan Film Symposium -- "Made to Persuade" -- happens next year, April 11-14, 2012, at the renovated and expanded Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens, New York.