Nov 27, 2011

UPDATE: ∆ • Perceptions of the Heider-Simmel Film • ∆

Here's a followup to the posting of May 2008 about Experimental Study of Apparent Behavior: The Moving Film (1943), aka the Heider-Simmel film.

At the time, I was unable to find out much about psychologist Fritz Heider's student, co-investigator, co-author, and, presumably, co-filmmaker, Marianne L. Simmel. But her obituary reveals she would have been 20 years old when the film was made (about the same age as the experiment's movie-viewing subjects). Turns out she was still alive when I first wrote about the film, but only the appearance of her online obituary alerted me to the fact that she died in 2010.

"In Memoriam - Marianne Simmel," Cape Cod Modern House Trust blog, April 9, 2010,

Here we read that Simmel "survived the Holocaust in Europe, grew up on Manhattan's Lower East Side, went to Smith College, got a PhD at Harvard, and taught psychology for many years at Brandies University." Many readers will perhaps be amused to learn that, "getting fed up with the academic life," she moved on to a successful career in textile design. Simmel "produced a large body of designs, in some cases informed by her previous work in human perception and the brain."

Simmel's later work as a designer indicates she was probably responsible for the animation produced for the Heider study of apparent behavior.

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Below: Simmel design in her online obit.




Above: cel from the 1943 film. (From American Journal of Psychology)
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The Simmel textile rediscovery rhymes well with the fact that it is animator Jodie Mack who has done, with her Dartmouth students, a 2011 color film remake of Experimental Study of Apparent Behavior. Here are some frames she scanned from the 16mm. 

Professor Mack too is fond of textiles and geometric forms. Here's a sampler of frames from four Mack films. 

And if there were any doubt about Jodie Mack's fondness for geometry, here she is in costume. 
While the Orphan Film Project looks to the University of South Carolina's Moving Image Research Collections to preserve the Heider-Simmel film, it turns out that the Cape Cod Modern House Trust has the same interest in Marianne Simmel's orphaned art.

The blog post concludes:

After searching unsuccessfully for an institution interested in preserving her work CCMHT has arranged to archive her art work and textile designs which will be stored at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum in its secure art storage facility. We hope to exhibit her work in the future and preserve if for scholars and admirers.
Looking forward to seeing the Heider-Simmel film and its progeny, when admirers at the Orphan Film Symposium honor Fritz Heider's son Karl in April 2012.

Nov 25, 2011

Second draft of the 2012 Orphan Film Symposium lineup

Symposium registration is open and online. Seats sell quickly, so register for the April 2012 Orphan Film Symposium before 2011 is over. 
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•  Michael Aronson & Elizabeth Peterson (U of Oregon) "You Are Getting Sleepy/Hungry/Horny...": The Life and Times of Lester Beck, Filmmaking Psychologist; with screenings of the newly-preserved, pioneering sex education film Human Growth (Sy Wexler, 1948), and the sole Kodachrome print of Adaptive Behavior of Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrels (Beck, 1942)
Yvonne Zimmermann (U of Zurich / NYU) Sponsored Films by Hans Richter: Die Börse als Barometer der Wirtschaftslage [The Stock Market] (Swiss Exchange Zurich, 1939) restored by la Cinémathèque suisse
Making Films at AT&T/Bell Labs, 1967-1974: filmmakers Lillian Schwartz, Nell Cox, and Bill Brand screening newly preserved 16mm works: including Schwartz's UFOs, Galaxies, Pixillation, Enigma, and Googolplex, Brand’s Touch Tone Phone Film (1973), as well as Cox and Leacock's Operator (1969)

 Other Orphans: Fugitives, Bastards, and Test-Tube Babies
            * Anna McCarthy (The Citizen Machine), Pushing on the Analogy
            * Tina Campt (Columbia U) Orphan Photos, Fugitive Images: Family Photography and the African Diaspora in Europe
          * Hadi Gharabhagi (NYU) The Bastard Files: State "Terrorism" and the Press in the USIS's News of Iran (1954)
Sunniva O’Flynn (Irish Film Archive) curates a program from the IFA collections
David Schwartz (Museum of the Moving Image) The Living Room Candidate: Presidential Campaign ads
Anke Mebold (Deutsches Filminstitut) newly restored feature: Die Hochbahnkatastrophe, aka Elevated Train Catastrophe: 16th Sensational Adventure of Master Detective Harry Hill (Germany, 1921), introduced by Tom Gunning (U of Chicago)
Jon Gartenberg & Jeff Capp (GME) Tassilo Adam: Moving Image Adventures in Indonesia

Karl Heider mini-tribute: [Experimental Study of Apparent Behavior: The Moving Film(1943, Fritz Heider and Marianne Simmel), with remakes of the Heider-Simmel film by University of South Carolina students of Simon Tarr (in digital video) and by Dartmouth College students of Jodie Mack (in color 16mm)

Julia Noordegraaf (U of Amsterdam) on Joop Geesink’s Dollywood Advertising Films
• Mona Jimenez (APEX Ghana) and Manthia Diawara (NYU) on finding Hamile: The Tongo Hamlet (1964, Ghana Film Industry Corporation) 
Susan Courtney (U of South Carolina) on how orphan films impact media scholarship
• Nico de Klerk on The Hands of a Stranger (Richard Heffron, 1965) documentary about a hospital in South Vietnam; appropriated by Friends of Vietnam (Belgium)
Yongli Li (Beijing Film Academy & U of South Carolina) introduces Light Cavalry Girl (Jie Shen, Central Newsreel and Documentary Film Studio, Beijing, 1980)  

Light Cavalry Girl (1980), Chinese Film Collection, USC Moving Image Research Collections

• Ivan von Sauer (BBC Worldwide) and Craig Kridel (U of South Carolina) on School: A Film about Progressive Education (1939, Lee Dick)
Dan Friedlaender (Temple U) & Adrianne Finelli (U Mich) Men and Dust (1940, Lee Dick) labor advocacy film about diseases plaguing zinc and lead miners
Sergei Kapterev (Moscow Research Institute of Film Art) Soviet space films, including Flight to a Thousand Suns (1963)
Alice Lovejoy (University of Minnesota) Czechoslovak Army Films and Excess of Persuasion, with filmmaker Vojtěch Jasný
       * Opportunity (Vojtěch Jasný, 1957) agitational drama warning soldiers about infidelity
       * Crooked Mirror (Karel Kachyňa, 1958) on proper military dress
       * Army Newsreel 3/65 (Karel Vachek, 1965) liberation of Ostrava
       * Metrum (Ivan Balad’a, 1967) transportation in Moscow
Mark G. Cooper (U of South Carolina MIRC) Roman Vishniac microcinematography
Mark J. Williams (Dartmouth) television newsfilm from KTLA, et al.
Mark Quigley (UCLA) One Friday (Rolf Forsberg, 1973) classroom discussion film imagines an all-out race war in the U.S.
One Friday (1973) courtesy of Rolf Forsberg and UCLA Film and Television Archives
Allyson Nadia Field (UCLA) and Jacqueline Stewart (Northwestern) The L.A. Rebellion Project: Daydream Therapy (Bernard Nicolas, 1980)
Walter Forsberg (NYU Libraries) A Second Date: Let’s All Go to the Lobby (195?) and Snipe History
Jaime Partsch (Universidad del Este, Puerto Rico) Films by Governor Jesús T. Piñero <ñero_Collection>

Martin L. Johnson (U of North Carolina) Booster films and the Paragon Feature Film Company: The Lumberjack (Wausau, 1914), Past and Present in the Cradle of Dixie (Montgomery, 1914), and The Blissveldt Romance (Grand Rapids, 1915)
Catherine Jurca (CalTech) The “Motion Pictures’ Greatest Year” Campaign: The World Is Ours (MPPDA, 1938)
Irene Lusztig (UC Santa Cruz) The Motherhood Archives (work in progress) documentary essay film on the construction of motherhood and an archival history of maternal education films
from Best-Fed Baby (U.S. Children's Bureau, 1925)
Jennifer Horne (Catholic U) Welcome to the Nanny State: Carlyle Ellis and the U.S. Children’s Bureau, 1919-1926. Screening Best-Fed Baby (1925) neo-natal health hygiene

Larry A. Jones (Seattle Disability Law; the Arc of Washington State) Children Limited (1951, Children's Benevolent League) advocacy film about children with developmental disabilities and their families; rediscovered in 2011 at the Library of Congress

Helen Hill Media Education Center fundraising video (Whispering Statues, 2011)
Jeanne Burkhardt and Snowden Becker (Center for Home Movies) [Francena Feeding the Chickens] (Charles Camp, 1905) and Muggins the Cow Horse (Colorado roundup footage, 1904)

"What happens if you eat watermelon seeds?"  (Helen Hill, 1997)
James Bittl (HBO) introduces “Fast Facts” and "Gross Facts,” Helen Hill’s interstitial animations for Street Sense (1997-98, CBC-TV)
• Helen Hill Award recipient films, TBA
The Florestine Collection (2011) a film by Helen Hill, completed by Paul Gailiunas

and more . . . .