Mar 26, 2016

Count down to the Orphant Medley

See the official program pop up here.

Counting down: 12 days from now the 10th Orphan Film Symposium will be in full swing at the Library of Congress National Audio-Visual Conservation Center in Culpeper, Virginia, with 108 presenters talking (and singing) about 100, or so, revivified works, presented in film, video, audio, and digital formats. For 3 days and 4 nights more than 175 participants (not counting all of the AV archivists who work in the building) gather from nearly 20 nations, including some places represented for the first time (Bolivia, Ghana, and Kosovo). Speakers also include a trio from Mexico, a quartet from Argentina, and of course many from across the United States.

The theme of "Orphans X" is sound. We will hear not only sound from orphaned films, but audio recordings of radio, oral histories, documentary, and a vivid mix of musics (Haitian, Tibetan, Argentine tango, early computer experiments, Chopin, jazz, and American pop -- of 1913 -- et cetera). And the doyen of Hollywood film restoration, Robert Gitt, offers a richly illustrated history of sound in the movies from 1933 to 1972. Helen Hill Award recipient Sasha Waters Freyer even offers a film narrated in Esperanto!

Other content ranges from short amateur audio recordings to feature-length films, starting with Manu Luksch and Martin Reinhart presenting their new Dreams Rewired, an Austrian-German-British co-production. The symposium closes with a memorable program -- "Celebrating Sounds from Everywhere: A Orphant* Medley" -- at the historic State Theatre of Culpeper. Imagine an evening that opens with a Theremin prelude (by Adam O'Callaghan), moves to a new multimedia production by Bill Morrison (Little Orphant Annie, 1912/1918/2016) and a 1927 documentary made in Bolivia (restored by Cinemateca Boliviana), concludes with a David Bowie performance captured by video artist Nam June Paik -- only to be continued, after dessert and drinks, with a bonus screening that is nothing less than the premiere of a never-before-seen Andy Warhol film.

All with shared food and drink throughout.

Registration is open to all.  (Day rates available if you can't attend all of April 6 through 9).

See the official program pop-up booklet here


* "Orphant"?  Yes.
courtesy of Bill Morrison; from a Library of Congress print of Little Orphant Annie (1918).

I previously only knew of Little Orphan [sic] Annie, from the comic strip cum 1977 Broadway musical. "Orphant" is not, as I first guessed, a colloquialism for "orphaned." A popular 1885 poem by James Whitcomb Riley,was reprinted in 1889 with an embrace of the original typsetting error as "Little Orphant Annie." There followed The Orphant Annie Book (1908), Riley's reading on phonograph disc (Victor, 1912), the Raggedy Ann doll (1915), a silent film with Colleen Moore (Little Orphant Annie, 1918), The Orphant Annie Story Book (1921), the Little Orphan [sic] Annie comic strip (begun in 1924), et cetera, et cetera.