Jul 11, 2013

New addition to de ORPHANS MIDWEST film list

Even after several years of deep research into the documentaries, life, work, and worlds of Emile de Antonio, I admit I was surprised (and delighted) to see a trailer for his debut film Point of Order (1963) projected during Ross Lipman's presentation at the 6th Orphan Film Symposium in 2008.  [Listen to the audio recording of "Order, Disorder, and Point of Order! (The Cropping of the Spectacle)" here.] He'd seen it while restoring Point of Order  at the UCLA Film and Television Archive. Seeing it for the first time (and I've not seen it since), reminded me how much historical material remains un- and under-explored. The archive is a growing, expanding thing, often revealing more as it gets inventoried, catalogued, described, preserved, accessed, migrated, and re-examined.

Very soon the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research will make a great new resource available: a finding aid and container list for the voluminous, funky, Dada, woolly, invaluable, but 'til now imperfectly deposited materials in the Emile de Antonio "Papers"* [i.e., papers, films, audiocassettes, videotapes, LPs, photographs, ephemera, plastic knives, etc.].

Best known as a documentary filmmaker whose works date from 1963 to 1989, de Antonio (d or de to his friends) didn't begin making films until he was 43 years old. He had an amazing set of experiences prior to that and continued to live the life of a radical fabulist, raconteur, bon vivant, arts animateur, critic (of everything), political activist, military veteran, public intellectual, speaker, mentor, correspondent, interview subject, drinker, diarist, scrapbooker, and FBI target. And he kept sporadically sending much of his ephemera, paraphernalia, and impedimenta to Madison, up until the unaccessionable can of ashes left from his cremation appeared after his death in 1989.

Film historian and UW professor Vance Kepley (Director of the WCFTR) used a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission to hire project archivist Emil [as it turned out] Hoelter to process everything. They sent me a draft of the finding aid and container list Hoelter created, "a thorough intellectual arrangement of all records" in the collection.

Two items that caught my eye immediately were GA 118 and M89-414 (of course!).

GA 118  POINT OF ORDER. TrailerPhysical description: 35mm film reel 
M89-414 POINT OF ORDER. German and English trailer pre-print.Physical description: 2 35mm film reels
Our Madison colleagues quickly agreed that at the very least we could and should show some de Antonio film trailers at the Sept. 26-28 Orphan Film Symposium on Materiality and the Moving Image at Indiana University  So we've added the trailers for Point of Order trailer and the Millhouse: A White Comedy (1971) to the Hoosier mix.

The 35mm German-language trailer for Point of Order! must be seen and heard! (If it's actually in any of the cans that have arrived piecemeal from DuArt labs in New York over the years. The container list, after all, is a list de Antonio submitted with the shipments; it's not yet an inventory or catalog of everything item in the various containers. And even though DuArt has been clearing out its film storage vaults for a couple of years now, cans of film, some unlabeled, continue to find their way to WCFTR -- and other archives across the U.S.)

Here's how to get tickets to the IU Cinema screenings of the POO! trailer and a few dozen other films during "Orphans Midwest."

Meanwhile, if you need to see or hear an interview with de recorded on U-matic videotape in Austin, Texas, in 1989 -- with Afrikaans subtitles added -- you can do so here.

From the long-running access cable television series Alternative Views. Interviewer Frank Morrow. Doug Kellner (co-editor of the book Emile de Antonio: A Reader, Univ. of Minnesota Press, 2000) was the co-host, co-founder, and co-producer of the series. Produced at Austin Community Television. Alternative Views was a notable part of slacker life in the Slacker days of Austin.

* The call number for the Emile de Antonio Papers is (I kid you not): 

 U.S. Mss 117AN; Micro 988; Audio 1100A; AB 779-AB 780; CA 570-CA 573; CA 647; DC 968; DC 996-DC 997; DF 654; DF 786-789; FA 005-FA 007; FE 095-FE 097; FE 280-FE 282; FG 793-794; FH 138-142; FH 144-151; FH 236-241; FH 243-256; FH 279-281; GA 002-GA 006; GA 074; GA 096-GA 101; GA 118; GA 579; HA 001-HA 010; HA 078; HC 391-396; HC 547-562; HC 579-583; VBA 502; VBA 621; VBB 700; VBC 248-249; VBC 275-276; VDA 124; VDA 144; VDA 261; VEA 036-039; VHA 002; VHA 005; VHA 007; VHB 335; VHB 339; VHB 428-432; VTA 032-041