Nov 25, 2015

Orphans at MoMA: Animation and Activism. The final program looked likethis.

Orphans at MoMA: Animation and Activism
Ten Rediscoveries from the Orphan Film Symposium
To Save and Project
The 13th MoMA International Festival of Film Preservation
Museum of Modern Art,  11 W. 53rd St. NYC
November 24, 2015, 7:00 pm

Katie Trainor (MoMA) Welcome

Dan Streible (NYU Cinema Studies, Moving Image Archiving and Preservation)
1. Edison Kinetoscopic Record of a Sneeze, Jan. 7, 1894 (W. K-L. Dickson, 1894) aka Fred Ott’s Sneeze, 10 sec., si., b/w, DCP. Restored by the Library of Congress.
2. [Fred Ott Holding a Bird] (Dickson, Edison, 1894) 8 sec., si., b/w, MOV
            Lobster Films (Paris) made a 2K scan of the 16mm negative held at the Academy Film Archive in the Blackhawk Film Collection. Merci Serge Bromberg et David Shepard.

John Canemaker (NYU Kanbar Institute of Film and Television, Animation Area)
3. [Roaring Richard logo] (John McIntyre, ca. 1985) 8 sec. color, MOV

Canemaker offered the following about "Roaring Richard" in his Orphans at MoMA tribute: "The little film recalls the great affection and admiration that students and colleagues of Richard held for him, his films, and the animation program, which he established in the late 1970s at NYU. The short was screened at NYU’s annual Spring Animation Showcase in June 1985.  Six years later, Richard Protovin succumbed to AIDS at the tragically young age of 46."

The whereabouts of the original film is unknown. (John McIntyre verified it is not in his garage.) At some point the 16mm film was transferred to Beta SP or 3/4" U-matic videotape, which was dubbed to a VHS cassette ("Richard Protovin Animation Retrospective  5/4/1993") which Canemaker donated to the NYU George Amberg Memorial Film Study Center in 2015). The Study Center digitized the VHS and created a DVD-R copy, from which I ripped an MPEG-4 file, used to create the QuickTime movie seen here.  4. Straw Pib (Richard Protovin, 1979) 8 min. 16mm, color, NYPL for the Performing Arts 5. Fan Film (Richard Protovin, 1985) 12 min. 35mm, color, MoMA Film Study Center Kimberly Tarr (NYU Libraries) & Kate Donovan (Tamiment Library)
6. [Photographic Unit of the 15th International Brigade] (Harry Randall, 1937–38) 12 min., 16mm, silent, b/w; with audio interview of Randall, 2002.
Three reels of 16mm film were preserved with the support of Rickard Jorgensen and Carol-Jeanette Jorgensen. The Harry Randall: Fifteenth International Brigade Films and Photographs Collection is part of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives at NYU. Charles Musser (Yale) & Walter Forsberg (Smithsonian NMAAHC)
7. Count Us In (Union Films, 1948) 10 min. 16mm, b/w
The Pearl Bowser Collection, National Museum of African American History and Culture             A Young Progressives of America presentation of a Union Films Production. Produced by Carl Marzani. Directed by Max Glandbard. Written and music by Bob Claiborne and Adrienne Claiborne. Camera: Vic Komow, Jack Gottlieb, Leroy Silvers. Sound: Richard Patton [Andy Cusick?]. With Bob Claiborne, Henry Wallace, Pete Seeger, Paul Robeson.

Henry Wallace’s presidential campaign on the Progressive Party ticket in 1948 included a series of films produced by Marzani. Several were filmed in Philadelphia during the party convention. Bob Claiborne’s on-camera introduction was shot in New York, at the Union Films studio on West 88th Street.
Walter Forsberg (National Museum of African American History and Culture)
8. [Bedford-Stuyvesant Youth In Action] (unknown, 1967) 6 min. 16mm, silent, b/w
            Amateur footage from the Pearl Bowser Collection, preserved in 16mm. Associated with filmmaking workshops by Brooklyn-based Hortense "Tee" Sie Beveridge (1924-1993), the unedited footage has recently been found to have companions. About an hour of silent 16mm film, much of it in color, documenting Youth in Action, also resides in the Bowser Collection. Tee Beveridge attended NYU School of Film in the early 1950s, became a professional editor and the first woman of color to join the cinema technicians' union. (Her husband Pete joined us at the MoMA screening. See his memoir about their life together: Lowell P. Beveridge Jr., Domestic Diversity and Other Subversive ActivitiesMill City Press, 2009.)
Tee & Pete, in Domestic Diversity
Blake McDowell (Smithsonian NMAAHC / NYU MIAP)
9. Venus and Adonis (Harry Dunham & Jules Bucher, 1935) 10 min. MOV, b/w Cast: Anne Miracle, Victor Kraft, Eric[k] Hawkins. Music: Paul Bowles.
Victor Kraft and Erick Hawkins. Movie Makers magazine, Aug.1935.
            An amateur production by two filmmakers who went on to significant careers in documentary. For this screening, the Library of Congress made a 2K scan of MoMA’s 16mm sound print.  The next step in the restoration of Venus and Adonis involves the Library scanning a silent print from its Aaron Copland Collection, which has superior visual qualities, and marrying that to the MoMA soundtrack.            Joining us at the screening was Mr. Van Bucher, son of two filmmakers, Jules Bucher and Miriam Bell Bucher. 
Tanya Goldman (NYU Cinema Studies) 10. Men and Dust (Lee Dick, Inc. 1940) 16 min. 35mm, b/w Direction: Lee Dick and Sheldon Dick. Commentary and photography: Sheldon Dick. Narration: Storrs Haynes, Will Geer, Eric Walz, Robert Porterfield. Music: Fred Stewart. Editing and Montage: Jules V. D. Bucher. Assoc. Editor: Edward Anhalt. Based on the findings of the Tri-State Survey Committee, this aesthetically ambitious labor advocacy film exposes the plight of lead and zinc miners afflicted with silicosis in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Kansas. Although seldom scene, it was added to the National Film Registry in 2013. Preserved in 35mm by the National Archives and Records Administration.  
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NYU hosts the 10th Orphan Film Symposium at the Library of Congress National Audio-Visual Conservation Center April 6-9, 2016. Register at

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Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of NYU Tisch School of the Arts

Nov 23, 2015

Orphans at MoMA: bonus film -- "Fred Ott Holding a Bird"!

New addition to the Orphans at MoMA screening, Tuesday, November 24, 7:00 p.m.

Ott with owlet. West Orange, New Jersey, 1894.

Orphans at MoMA: bonus film -- "Fred Ott Holding a Bird"!

New addition to the Orphans at MoMA screening, Tuesday, November 24, 7:00 p.m.

Ott with owlet. West Orange, New Jersey, 1894.

Nov 20, 2015

Updates to the 10th Orphan Film Symposium

NYU and LOC convene 
Orphans X : Sound
April 6-9, 2016 at the Library of Congress
Packard Campus for Audio-Visual Conservation
Culpeper, Virginia

New York University Cinema Studies and its Moving Image Archiving and Preservation Program join with the Library of Congress National Audio-Visual Conservation Center for the tenth international gathering of archivists, scholars, preservationists, curators, technical experts, and media artists devoted to orphan films -- an eclectic variety of neglected moving images and sounds. The theme of “Orphans X” is SOUND, broadly conceived.

Among the many presentations:

Anke Mebold (Deutsches Filminstitut) Tonbilder from the Neumayer Collection, 1908-09: Synchronizing Discs and Films from Deutsche Bioscop and Alfred Duskes

Céline Ruivo (Cinémathèque française) Restoration of Premier nocturne en fa dièse majeur de Chopin (Gaumont-Petersen-Poulsen, 1928) with pianist Victor Gille

Hilde D'haeyere (University College Ghent, Belgium) "Cannibals of the Deep”: Mack Sennett's The Trail of the Swordfish (1931)

Stephen Bottomore (independent researcher) The Selsior System Dance Films: [Ernest Belcher/Dorothy Edwards dancing] (Boris Sagal, 1913-14)

Margaret A. Compton (U of Georgia) A Mute Talkie Meets the Digital Humanities: Wedding on the Volga (1929) Yiddish theater star Mark Schweid’s directorial debut

Gregory Zinman (Georgia Tech) The Archival Silences of Nam June Paik’s Etude (1967-68), "one of the earliest digital artworks ever created by an artist who was not first trained as a computer engineer." + a screening of Paik's Electronic Opera #1 (1969)

Viviana García Besné, Paulina Suárez-Hesketh, & Michael Ramos Araizaga, Morelos Mezcla: The collective of Permanencia Voluntaria Archivo Cinematográfico presents fragments of Mexican cinema (1930s-70s)

Sound and Color: Parallels and Intersections, Technology and Aesthetics
Joshua Yumibe (Michigan State U) Color Film and the Coming of Sound
Ulrich Ruedel (U of Applied Sciences, Berlin) Film Sound and Color since 1929
Heather Heckman (U of South Carolina) Continuous Monochrome: The Problem of the Soundtrack in Chromogenic Color Printing

The Radio Preservation Task Force: New Histories of Radio
Josh Shepperd (Catholic U), Stephanie Sapienza (Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities), Shawn VanCour (NYU), Jenny Doctor (Syracuse U), Alan Gevinson (American Archive of Public Broadcasting), Brian DeShazor and Joseph Gallucci (Pacifica Radio Archives)

Nico de Klerk, Joachim Schätz, & Katalin Teller (Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for History and Society, Vienna) Travel Lecture Films of Colin Ross ‘mit ohne Sound’. Screenings to include Achtung Australien! Achtung Asien! Das Doppelkontinent des Ostens (Attention Australia! Attention Asia! The Twin Continents of the East, 1930)

Genevieve Havemeyer-King (Wildlife Conservation Society, NDSR) and Pamela Vizner Oyarce (Second Run Media Preservation, Santiago) Audio Reconstruction for Andrea Callard's Super 8 Film Some Food May Be Found in the Desert (1977)

Bill Brand (BB Optics) Preserving Reflections (Madeline Tourtelot, 1955; music by Ed Bland) for the Flaherty Film Seminar, Chicago Film Archives, and NYU MIAP Program

Jeff Martin (New Art Trust) Recorded Voice of Lt. Edward W. Stewart (1943): Amateur Recordings Short-Wave Broadcasts from Japanese POW Camps
Matt Barton (LOC) U.S. Marine Corps Combat Recordings, 1943-1945
Melissa Dollman (Media Research Archivist) Listening to 175 Rosies: Audio from the Records of The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter Project, 1974-1980

Dan Einstein & Mark Quigley (UCLA Film & Television Archive) Preserving (presumably lost episodes of) The Goldbergs: 600 original vinyl transcription disks

Walter Forsberg (Smithsonian National Museum for African American History and Culture) & Charles Musser (Yale U) Music in the Henry Wallace Campaign of ’48: Count Us In (Union Films, 1948)

Blake McDowell (Smithsonian NMAAHC) Paul Bowles Film Scores; and the amateur film, Venus and Adonis (Harry Dunham and Jules V. D. Bucher, 1935)

David Gibson (LOC) The Question of Abandonware in Video Game Preservation

Rick Prelinger (UC Santa Cruz) Silences within Moving Image Archival Practice

Josephine McRobbie (NCSU) with Andy Uhrich (Indiana U) New Sounds for Old Films about Sound, video remix and live performance of educational films about sound

Mona Jimenez (NYU APEX Ghana) Seprewa Discoveries - Access In Action (2015, Seth Paris and Fidelia Serwaa Ametewee) music from the JH.K. Nketia Archives, U of Ghana

Academy Film Archive, The Sound Man (1950) and Walter Damrosch Visits Schenectady and Sees Picture of Sound (1929)

EYE Film Museum, Guy Sherwin, Optical Sound Films (1971-2007)

+ the filmmaker receiving the 2016 Helen Hill Award, TBA

+ the state of and stakes in Orphan Works legislation and copyright reform.

Nov 7, 2015

NOV. 24: "Orphans at MoMA" 2015: 9 film redisccoveries, 9 rediscoverers, in 99 minutes.

Orphans at MoMA: Animation & Activism
Screening at the Museum of Modern Art (11 W 53rd St. NYC)
Tuesday, November 24, 7:00 pm, Titus 2 Theater

“Orphans at MoMA” is the affectionate name for the NYU Orphan Film Symposium screening the Museum includes in its film preservation festival, To Save and Project. The 13th edition of TSAP runs now through November 25, 2015. 

This year the annual collaboration between the Museum and the Symposium also celebrates the 50th anniversary of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. Several Tisch programs -- Cinema Studies, Film & TV, Animation, and Moving Image Archiving and Preservation (MIAP) -- are represented by alumni, students, and faculty. 

Academy Award–winning filmmaker John Canemaker, who heads NYU's Animation

Caricature of Richard Protovin,
courtesy of Tisch alum John McIntyre.
program introduces two films by his unit's founder, Richard Protovin (1945-1991): Straw Pib (1979), preserved in 16mm by the New York Public Library, and Fan Film (1985), a 35mm print from MoMA's collection. 

Kimberly Tarr* (NYU Libraries, Media Preservation Unit) and Kate Donovan (Tamiment Library) present photos and newly-preserved 16mm films (1937-38) shot behind the lines during the Spanish Civil War by Sgt. Harry W. Randall Jr., an American volunteer in the storied Abraham Lincoln Battalion and head of the photographic unit for the anti-fascist 15th International Brigade. The remarkable footage was preserved with the support of Rickard Jorgensen and Carol-Jeanette Jorgensen. The collection of Harry Randall: Fifteenth International Brigade Films and Photographs is part of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA) at NYU. 

Harry Randall, standing, left.
15th International Brigade Photographs Collection, Tamiment Library, NYU.

The Smithsonian's new National Museum of African American History and Culture premieres two 16mm restorations. Eminent film historian and NYU Cinema Studies alumnus Charles Musser (Yale) and Walter Forsberg* (NMAAHC media archivist) introduce the recently uncovered Count Us In (1948), a presidential campaign short for the Progressive Party, produced by Carl Marzani's leftist collective Union Films. (The Marzani Papers are housed at NYU, but Count Us In comes from the Pearl Bowser Collection at NMAAHC.)
filmmaker unknown. Frame courtesy of NMAAHC.

Also from the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Rhea L. Combs (curator of film and photography) presents amateur film footage documenting the Bedford-Stuyvesant Youth in Action community workshop, ca. 1965. 

Blake McDowell* (Smithsonian) introduces a rare amateur surrealist erotic film, Venus and Adonis (1935), shot around New York City by young filmmakers Harry Dunham and Jules Bucher. While researching his NYU MIAP master's thesis on Bucher, McDowell found that the Museum of Modern Art possessed a 16mm print, which includes the soundtrack Paul Bowles composed for the work. The Library of Congress National Audio-Visual Conservation Center digitized the material for this Orphans at MoMA screening, perhaps the first time Venus and Adonis has been seen in nearly 80 years. Co-director Harry Dunham went on to make China Strikes Back (1937, edited by Jay Leyda, later an NYU Cinema Studies professor, and mentor to Charles Musser), and to shoot Too Much Johnson (1938) for Orson Welles. 

The program concludes with a second film edited by Jules (J. V. D.) Bucher. Men and Dust (1940) is a stylistically fascinating labor exposé made by the wife and husband team of Lee and Sheldon Dick. Named to the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 2013, Men and Dust has had few screenings, but the National Archives and Records Administration has preserved the film and provides a 35mm print for this Orphans at MoMA show. NYU Cinema Studies PhD student Tanya Goldman, who has researched the career of the elusive pioneer woman documentarian Lee Dick, introduces Men and Dust. 

Dan Streible, director of the Orphan Film Symposium, hosts the program with Katie Trainor (MoMA Film Collections Manager) and also presents the recent Library of Congress reconstruction of the oldest surviving copyrighted motion picture, Edison Kinetoscopic Record of a Sneeze, Jan. 7, 1894. 

*Tarr ('09), Forsberg ('10), and McDowell ('14) are all graduates of NYU's Moving Image Archiving and Preservation Program.