Sep 20, 2011

Columbia University Colloquium on Helen Hill films

From: Columbia University Cultural Memory Colloquium <>
Date: Tue, Sep 20, 2011 at 12:55 PM

Dear friends,

Join us in our continuing conversations about cultural and collective memory in our contemporary world.  Our first event is to take place on Monday September 26th when we will welcome Professor Jenny Davidson from English and Comparative Literature who will be presenting on the work of filmmaker Helen Hill. Please find a further description below.  We will meet at 6PM in 754 Schermerhorn Extension.

Helen Hill, experimental animator and handmade film advocate, was shot and killed in her home in New Orleans in January 2007.  Her last film, completed posthumously by her husband Paul Gailiunas, is 'The Florestine Collection.' One Mardi Gras Day in New Orleans some years earlier, Hill found more than a hundred handmade dresses in trash bags on the curb; she set out to restore them and recover the story of the woman who had made them, a recently deceased African-American seamstress named Florestine Kinchen.  Both the dresses and the footage were seriously damaged by Katrina; the completed film includes Helen's original silhouette, cut-out, and puppet animation, as well as flood-damaged and restored home movies. Three of Hill's films will be screened - 'Madame Winger Makes a Film' (9:29), 'Mouseholes' (7:40) and 'The Florestine Collection' (31:00) - followed by a discussion by Professor Jenny Davidson that will touch on questions about memorialization and the materiality of film, the persistence and contingency of archives and the imperatives of preservation in the wake of catastrophe.