Sep 20, 2013

Material Connection: IU + NYU = Orphan Film|Video|Digital

The program for NYU’s 2012 Orphan Film Symposium noted the biennial gathering had morphed into a “collaborative year-round research and preservation initiative,” and hinted: “Plans are afoot for the Midwest and Europe.” When Rachael Stoeltje, representing Indiana University Libraries Film Archive, stepped forward at the final screening to introduce Chucky Lou: Story of a Woodchuck (IU Audio-Visual Center, 1948) she also announced what we had confirmed with Jon Vickers at Indiana University Cinema and Greg Waller, IU professor in Department of Communication and Culture’s Film and Media Studies Program: Bloomington would host a special alternate-year version of the symposia in 2013. This being the first Orphan Film event not held on the East or West Coast, the nickname “Orphans Midwest” stuck. Our theme, materiality, emerged when we gathered on campus with four more orphanistas. Archivist Brian Graney, a veteran of several symposiums, was now at IU’s Black Film Center/Archive. IU PhD students Andy Uhrich, Noelle Griffis, and Russell Sheaffer were co-producers of the 2010 Orphan Film Symposium while earning master’s degrees at NYU Cinema Studies.

Materiality has become a keyword for the study and use of moving images. The physical characteristics of film, magnetic tape, and digital files help define our movie experiences. The logistics of media migration, preservation, projection, storage, and retrieval require us to understand moving images as objects, not just expressive works. Watching Chucky Lou at last year’s Orphan Film Symposium reminded us of this fact. When the last replacement bulb in the 16mm projector gave up the ghost midway through the show, we quickly switched to IU Libraries streaming video to enjoy the storied rodent. Both the old print and the new file were available only because the university has made a commitment to preserving its legacy materials.

Chucky Lou

With its Media Preservation Initiative, state of the art IU Cinema, libraries of rich audiovisual collections, innovative Film Archive, editorial home for the journal Film History, and the intellectual resources of its faculty and students, Indiana University is an ideal site for this symposium. My colleagues at NYU Cinema Studies and I are thrilled about this collaboration and thankful for the generosity of those at IU who made Orphans Midwest possible.

-- Dan Streible

"Indiana University Bloomington is home to at least 3 million sound and moving image recordings, photos, documents, and artifacts. Well over half a million of these special holdings are part of audio, video, and film collections, and a large number of them are one of a kind."  CLICK HERE TO GO THERE -->.


• Indiana University Bloomington (IUB)
• IU Cinema (IUC)
• IU Libraries (IUL)
• IUL Film Archive (IUFLA)& (blog) & (digitized)
• IU Media Preservation Initiative (MPI)
• IU Dept of Communication and Culture (CMCL)
• IU Film and Media Studies Program (FMS)
• IU Black Film Center/Archive (BFC/A)
• IU Kinsey Institute Film Archive (KFV)
• IU Archives of Traditional Music (ATM
• IU Lilly Library (LL) + film-related mss collections (Finding Aid), including:
  • David S. Bradley Film Collection (DB)
  • John Ford Collection (JF)
  • Peter Bogdanovich Collection (PB)
  • Orson Welles Collection (OW)
  • Will H. Hays (czar)
  • Paul V. McNutt (Mc)
  • Luis Buñuel - Zachary Scott (WTF!)
• The Hoagy Carmichael Collection (HC
Hoagy & Ruth