Jan 26, 2016

Update: the program for the 10th Orphan Film Symposium (April 6-9, 2016)

Register now

NYU and LOC convene 
the 10th Orphan Film Symposium

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.

Full program will be announced soon. 

Among the many presentations:

Robert Gitt & Robert Heiber (Chace Foundation) A Century of Sound: The Histories of Sound in Motion Picutres, an evening of screenings

Matt Soar (Concordia U) Sound the Standardized Film Leader: Lost Leaders #18, Handwritten Universal (PH22.55-1966)

Greg Wilsbacher (U of South Carolina Moving Image Research Collections) The Movietone Project, and a screening of British Actors and Actresses -- outtakes (Fox Movietone News, 1928)

Screenings by the 2016 Helen Hill Award recipient Sasha Waters-Freyer, filmmaker

Bill Morrison Interviewing the LOC Paper Print Collection curators Howard Walls and Kemp Niver as research for The Film of Her (1996)

Sandra Schulberg Rediscoveries from IndieCollect

Dennis Doros & Amy Heller (Milestone) Ronald K. Gray's NYU student film, Transmagnifican Dambamuality (1976)

Julie Brown (U of London) & Julie Hubbert (U of South Carolina) Music Silent Films

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

Paula Félix-Didier, Andrés Levinson, Leandro Listorti (Museo del Cine de Buenos Aires) Variedades sonoras Ariel N 1: "Mosaico Criollo" (Eleuterio Iribarren, 1929) et al.

Heather Sabin (Academy Film Archive): Academy preservation of The Sound Man (1950) and Walter Damrosch Visits Schenectady and Sees Picture of Sound (1929)

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)

Arber Jashari (National Library of Kosova) Preserving Kosova-film: Lost Sound and The Dance of the Rufais

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)

Susan Courtney (U of South Carolina) on the sound of Operation A-Bomb (RKO, 1952)

Viviana García Besné, Paulina Suárez-Hesketh, Michael Ramos AraizagaMorelos 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

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

Evan Meaney (U of South Carolina) introduces Big_Sleep™ (2015, with Amy Szczepanski)

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 & Rachel Curtis (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

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

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

Laurie O'Brien (Rochester Institute of Technology) Peephole Cinema installation, "Kinetoscopic Records" (2015)

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

Jan 24, 2016

PICTURING LEE DICK: The Hunt Continues

by guest blogger Tanya Goldman  

When I submitted my preliminary piece on the career of nonfiction filmmaker Lee Dick for publication with Feminist Media Histories in December 2014, I called it “Picturing Lee Dick,” a nod as much to the endeavor of envisioning her career as it was to the irony that I had no confirmed photograph of my elusive object of study.

The photo of “Lee Burgess” from 1954 that I opted to include in the original article was an educated guess, for she peters out of the historical record nearly a decade earlier after her divorce from husband Sheldon and the end of production on a cycle of government nurse training films. Given that her maiden name was Burgess, she was a Midwesterner by birth, and that she had led the financial committee for the Association of Documentary Film Producers in New York, it seemed reasonable to infer that “Lee Burgess,” treasurer of the Sooner Chapter of American Women in Radio and Television, could be the filmmaker formerly known as Lee Dick. This remains speculative on my part.

While the contours of her post-1945 career are still waiting to be unearthed, I am happy to report that I recently found two confirmed photographs of Lee from 1933, accompanying engagement announcements published in the Omaha World-Herald and Chicago Tribune in April 1933. (She also, I learned, was better known in Omaha as “Pi.” Who knew?!) When the couple married the following month in New York City, their nuptials received brief mention in the New York Times wedding section. (I happened upon these photoson Thanksgiving while checking Ancestry.com on an unrelated inquiry; on a whim, I returned to Margaret Lee Burgess’ entry and voilà! It appears an anonymous distant relative uploaded these articles this past summer.)

I have also found two additional projects that the Dicks worked on during the early forties.

While researching a separate project at the National Archives this summer, I stumbled upon a March 1942 letter sent from filmmaker Joseph Losey to Arch Mercey, Deputy Coordinator of Government Films. In the letter, Losey pitches the production of a series of nonfiction films to be used for national defense. Dial Films Inc. -- the company founded by Lee and Sheldon Dick in 1940 for the production of sponsored film Day After Day -- is referenced as one of Losey’s available filmmaking units. In this letter, Dial Films is said to be working on a film for the Port of New York Authority. No word yet on if this film still exists. 

I also recently discovered that Sheldon directed film The Trimbles of Maple Street (1942) for the Office of Civilian Defense. The film is available online from Indiana University’s Moving Image Archive.

Happy viewing!

Original article citation: 
Tanya Goldman, “Picturing Lee Dick: A Nonfiction Film Pioneer,” Feminist Media Histories 1.2 (Spring 2015): 125-134. http://fmh.ucpress.edu/content/ucpfmh/1/2/125.full.pdf.

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Tanya Goldman is a second-year doctoral student in cinema studies at New York University. In 2015, she introduced a screening of Lee Dick's Men and Dust (1940) for the Orphan Film Symposium's annual screening at the Museum of Modern Art's To Save and Project International Festival of Film PreservationHer dissertation will focus on the career of independent film distributor Tom Brandon. Contact her: tlg260@nyu.edu.