Apr 27, 2016

Happy 100th Birthday, amateur filmmaker Ephraim Horowitz!

Today, April 27, marks the centennial of the birth of a prolific and talented amateur filmmaker, Ephraim Horowitz of Flushing, New York. He passed in 2012, age 96.

A frame from EPH 4/27/16, Horowtiz (on screen) made this memoir movie in 1979.
The video made from Fandor and Colorlab's new 2K scan of the Super 8 film launched today. 

Today, thanks to Genevieve Havemeyer-King, is also happily the launch of 7 of Eph Horowitz's Super 8 films on Fandor.com, the site devoted to independent cinema in all its flavors. More films by other makers will soon follow on Fandor from the Orphan Film Symposium's Amateur Cinema Project. The project was the brainchild of alumni of the NYU Moving Image Archiving and Preservation Program, Walter Forsberg, Kimberly Tarr, Kathleen Maguire, and Jonah Volk. Later fellow alums Kathryn Gronsbell and Dan Erdman did some research on the films of Robbins Barstow (who donated 4 of his films from the 1940s to NYU Libraries) and Ephraim Horowitz. Then cinema studies MA student Marissa Hicks-Alcaraz took up the baton and helped us organize the eventful "Orphans at MoMA" 2014 screening (which you can read about here).

We were interested in tracking down any films that might survive from the Amateur Cinema League's annual Ten Best list, which began in 1930. Kim Tarr who brought the Horowitz material to our attention. Then in 2015, Genevieve located Horowitz's son Dan and together they got

We knew the filmmaker's name from the Ten Best lists of 1979 and 1980 (when Eph would've been 64 years of age).

From Alan D. Kattelle, “The Amateur Cinema League and Its Films,” Film History 15.2 (2003): 238-51, including “The 'Ten Best' Winners, 1930-1994 from the Amateur Cinema League and American International Film & Video Festival."
There he was alongside the now legendary amateur filmmaker Sid Laverents, who lived past his 100th birthday, dying in 2009, best known for his ingenious Multiple SIDosis (1970). The amateur resurgence must be in the air now. Turner Classic Movies is broadcasting his four-part opus The Sid Saga (1985-2003) in less than a month (May 21).

The great historian-revivalist-curator of the California amateur film culture, Melinda Stone, first brought my attention to Sid's work at the second Orphan Film Symposium in 2001. UCLA Film and Television Archive (now celebrating its 50th!) has since done preservation and exquisite restoration work on the Laverents films.

Because so very few of the hundreds of films on the ACL Ten Best list survive, it's noteworthy when any of them are rediscovered. To find a couple of suitcases full of one these filmmakers is worth celebrating.

I'm happy that Jonathan Marlow and Fandor wanted to showcase these films. We thank the Horowitz family for sharing -- and Colorlab for making these handsome 2K scans of the Super 8 prints. They have made it all happen exactly on the centennial birthday.

Also, join us for a free public screening of films by Horowitz and Barstow on May 4, 2016, at 6:15 pm. Place: NYU Cinema Studies, Michelson Theater (6th floor), 721 Broadway, NYC.

Apr 11, 2016

Post-symposium: gratitude

The NYU-LOC-sponsored 10th Orphan Film Symposium wrapped up Saturday night (technically Sunday morning at 12:10 am) with a late show featuring a sneak preview of a never-before-screened film shot by Andy Warhol in 1965. Although we anticipated many people would be ready to call it a night after celebratory finale screening we enjoyed in the State Theatre of Culpeper from 8 (call it 8:30 pm) to 10:30, most stayed for the bonus movie -- and most of them endured to the end of the long long take that is Warhol cinema.

Throughout the four days at the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation, we not only were stimulated by a wide variety of sounds and moving images -- and live performances -- we also experienced a growing sense of camaraderie, of love for the material and for our colleagues' work.

Thanks to the many people and organizations who rowed in the same direction to make this invigorating event possible. Mike Mashon (LOC) and Dan Streible (NYU) co-organized. NYU Tisch School of the Arts and its Department of Cinema Studies underwrote the production alongside the Library of Congress NAVCC, which provided the unparalleled facilities and personnel.

The social media traces give a flavor of the variety and high spirits experienced during the symposium.

• Instagram #Orphans10

• Twitter #Orphans10  &  #OrphansX 

More words of assessment and reflection lie ahead, but for the moment, here are some of the teasers and trailers sampling the sounds and movies of "Orphans X." Dylan Lorenz and Eddy Colloton made them.

Teaser, 15 seconds:

Trailer, 60 seconds.

# # #

Apr 5, 2016

Trailer, teaser, or snipe?

A note from Eddy Colloton of NYU MIAP.

Click here to register. (Day rates available.)

More than 100 experts from around the world to present rediscovered film and audio: Orphans X

New York University’s Orphan Film Symposium Convenes April 6-9, at the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation, in Culpeper, Virginia

More than 100 experts from around the world to present rediscovered film and audio

The biennial Orphan Film Symposium, now in its tenth edition, is an international gathering of archivists, scholars, filmmakers, curators, students, and technical experts devoted to saving, studying, and screening “orphan films” – an eclectic variety of previously neglected works. The tenth symposium – Orphans X – is devoted to the theme of sound, adding radio and other audio recordings to the mix of film, video, and digital media. Some 200 attendees from 18 nations will see and hear works documenting more than a century of history, ranging from newly restored 1913 Edison Kinetophone sound films to new productions, such as the Austrian feature film Dreams Rewired.

Screenings of rare and restored films take place each night, with talks running from 9:30am to 6:00 pm Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Registration is open to the public. www.nyu.edu/orphanfilm

Dan Streible, the symposium’s director and NYU associate professor of cinema studies, programmed the event with Mike Mashon, head of the moving image section at the Library. “We are excited to showcase dozens of rediscovered films, some newly preserved,” says Streible, who also directs NYU’s Moving Image Archiving and Preservation master’s program. “Our goal was to feature knowledgeable speakers presenting seldom-seen films and to place those in dialog with the Library of Congress’s unrivaled recorded sound collection as well as its video and film holdings.”

Among the topics covered will be early synchronous sound film technologies, challenges for media preservation in the digital realm, the history of American radio, historic music recordings, music for silent movies, and attempts to recover films with lost soundtracks. New preservation work is a point of emphasis, with recent restorations screening from the Academy Film Archive, Cinematheque Française, EYE Filmmuseum, Deutsches Filminstitut, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, among others.

Highlights include:

  • Media artist Evan Meaney’s Big_Sleep™ (2015), a video about digital preservation and decay.
  • And evening with legendary film restorationist Robert Gitt presenting “) The Sound of Movies, 1933-1972,” highlights from his the Blu-Ray release, A Century of Sound, volume 2.
  • Bill Morrison’s never heard 1992 interviews with the late curators of the Library’s renowned Paper Print Collection of films made before 1915, as well as a presentation of LOC’s newest scanning technologies applied to the paper prints.
  • Jeff Martin’s discovery of an amateur audio recording of an American POW talking over short-wave radio from a Japanese prison camp in 1943.
  • Anke Mebold’s screening of “Tonbilder,” short films made in Germany in 1908, designed to match on-screen singers with previously released disc recordings.
  • A roundtable report from the Radio Preservation Task Force, a new national effort to unite the efforts of scholars and archivists.
  • A rare screening of The Inner World of Aphasia (Edward and Naomi Feil, 1968), a remarkable nurse training film added to the Library’s National Film Registry in 2015.
  • An evening of screenings by filmmaker Sasha Waters Freyer, recipient of the symposium’s Helen Hill Award for independent artists of distinction.

* * * *

Since its inception in 1999, the Orphan Film Symposium, under the direction of Dan Streible, associate professor in the Department of Cinema Studies, has become an international summit for those interested in the study, preservation, and exhibition of “orphan films.” Narrowly defined, an orphan film is a motion picture abandoned by its owner, or, more generally all manner of films outside of the commercial mainstream: silent and sponsored films, independent, industrial and avant garde work, home movies, advertisements, and other ephemeral moving images. For more information, including the entire schedule, visit http://www.nyu.edu/orphanfilm.

# # #

Apr 3, 2016

Your Name Here #orphans10

Not too late to join in the 10th Orphan Film Symposium.  

Registration is open. Day rates available

Apr 1, 2016

Orphan Films on the Radio

WBAI-FM New York is a noncommercial radio station, part of the Pacifica Radio Network. Raconteur, music historian, pianist, and on-air personality James Irsay is behind the mic for "Morning Irsay" Fridays from 10am to 12noon EST.

Today the Orphan Film Symposium got generous appreciation from Irsay: 38 minutes of airtime on WBAI-FM  New York.  Teaser at 10:10 in. Then the segment from 57:30 to 1:35:00, in which I he wanted to hear and tell all about orphan films and the collective work that goes into the symposium. Listen to an archived streaming recording at wbai.org.

Films played on the radio in this segment:

from the Library of Congress
  • Walter Damrosch Visits Schenectady and Sees Picture of Sound, 1929 (courtesy of Academy Film Archive), with Irsay's witty appreciation of maestro Damrosch
  • [TV ad for Panasonic Dynamite 8] (1975) with Jimmie Walker (Oddball Film + Video)
  • The Musical Blacksmiths (Edison Kinetophone, 1913) via Library of Congress
  • Eubie Blake Plays His Fantasy on "Swanee River" (DeForest Phonofilm, 1923)

Name checks in the conversation:
  • RCA Photophone
  • Evan Meaney (USC) Big_Sleep 
  • Rick Prelinger (UC Santa Cruz)
  • Academy Film Archive
  • Joshua Yumibe
  • Film Sound and Color since 1929
  • The Problem of the Soundtrack in Chromogenic Color Printing
  • New Histories of American Radio
  • Short-Wave Broadcasts from Japanese POW Camps
  • U.S. Marine Corps Combat Recordings
  • University of South Carolina, Fox Movietone News
  • Stephanie Sapienza (MITH)
  • Brian DeShazor and Joseph Gallucci (Pacifica Radio Archives)
  • Stephen Parr (Oddball Film + Video)
  • Little Leonie Flugrath (Shirley Mason)
  • Edison Historical National Park
  • NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Film, Cinema Studies
  • Moving Image Archiving and Preservation Program
  • Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation
  • Mike Mashon
  • Center for Home Movies
  • Museo del Cine
  • La Reina de las Ondas (1949)
  • Die Verwitterte Melodie (1943)

and this one,

The Immortal Voice (Bray Studios, 1923) with Ben Model piano accompaniment.

Who's coming to LOC Culpeper for Orphans X?

Photo by David March. 
Always a pleasure to reflect on the eclectic nature of who participates in the Orphan Film Symposium, where they come from, what institutions they work with, how many hats they wear in this community where the act of saving, showing, studying, collecting, and curating the rich diversity of orphan films is paramount. From Paramount Pictures and Turner Broadcasting System to A/V Geeks and Film Love, from AMPAS to COLAB, from IBM to BB Optics. Independent curator-artist-critics and directors of national film archives. Private and public sector. Universities and microcinemas. Distributors and librarians. All soon convening on the grandest Library since Alexandria. (And, yes, someone from Egypt will be at the podium on Saturday.) 

Published program pops up here.  

People are still registering <www.nyu.edu/orphanfilm>. So far we see that symposiasts are coming from Switzerland, Argentina, Canada, Mexico, England, Colombia, Norway, Bolivia, Germany, Kosovo, Chile, Austria, Belgium, Ghana, the Netherlands, China, Portugal . . . from New York and California, North Carolina and South Carolina. 

To be specific, if you attend the symposium, expect to meet:

Adam O'Callaghan
Montréal musician

Alan Gevinson
Library of Congress

Alexis Ainsworth
Library of Congress

Alia Ayman
NYU Anthroplogy

Allie Whalen

Amy Heller
Milestone Film and Video

Amy Stanfill
Library of Congress

Andrea Callard
artist (XFR Collective & COLAB)

Andrea Leigh
Library of Congress

Andrés Levinson
Museo del Cine

Andy Ditzler
Film Love

Andy Uhrich
Indiana University Libraries Moving Image Archive

Anke Mebold
Deutsches Filminstitut - DIF, Frankfurt

Arber Jashari
National Library of Kosova

Barbara Whitehead
Library of Congress

Bill Brand
BB Optics

Bill Morrison
Hypnotic Pictures

Bill Seery
The Standby Program / Mercer Media

Bjørn Sørenssen
Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Bleakley McDowell
Smithsonian NMAAHC

Brad McCoy
Library of Congress

Brian Meacham
Yale Film Study Center

Brian Real
University of Maryland

Brian Cruz

Buckey Grimm
independent researcher

Carl Fleischhauer
Library of Congress

Carolina Cappa
Kinetoscopio Monstruo

Caroline Martel
productions artifact/Concordia University

Caroline Gil

Charles Musser
Yale University

Chris Hubbles
University of Washington

Christopher Banuelos

Christopher Nicols

Chuck Howell
University of Maryland Libraries

Connor Smith
NYU Film & Television

Craig Schreiber

Craig Smith
Cal Arts

Dan Streible
NYU Cinema Studies

Dan Einstein
UCLA Film & Television Archive

Dante Fresse
Bucknell University

David Gibson
Library of Congress

David Litofsky
Secret Cinema

David Pierce
Media History Digital Library

David Schwartz
Museum of the Moving Image

Dennis Doros
Milestone Film and Video

Devin Orgeron

Dimitrios Latsis
The Internet Archive

Dwight Swanson
Center for Home Movies

Dylan Lorenz

Eddy Colloton

Elias Savada
Motion Picture Information Service

Emma Hamilton

Eric Faden
Bucknell University

Erica Gold

Evan Meaney
University of South Carolina

Fereshteh Toosi
School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Frances Allshouse
Fauquier County Public Library & Chapman-Beverley Mill Historic Site

Genevieve Havemeyer-King
NDSR - Wildlife Conservation Society

George Willeman
Library of Congress

Greg Pierce
The Andy Warhol Museum; The Orgone Archive

Greg Wilsbacher
Moving Image Research Collections, Univ. of South Carolina

Gregory Zinman
Georgia Tech

Gregory Lukow
Library of Congress

Haden Guest
Harvard Film Archive

Harry Eskin

Heather Heckman
MIRC, University of South Carolina

Heather Sabin
Academy Film Archive

Hilde D'haeyere
University College Ghent (BE)

Ina Archer

Isa Morcos
Bucknell University

Jake Kreeger
Colorlab (emeritus)

Jay Schwartz
The Secret Cinema

Jeff Lambert
National Film Preservation Foundation

Jeff Martin
Private Practice

Jenny Doctor
Syracuse University

Jeremy Drummond
University of Richmond

Jerry Fabris
Thomas Edison National Historical Park

Jessica Frank
Whirlwind Pictures

Jim Oblinger

Jimmy Kinder
Helen Hill Awardee

Joachim Schätz
Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for History and Society

Joanna Raczynska
National Gallery of Art

Jon Dieringer
Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI)

Jonathan Marlow

Jonathan Farbowitz

Jordan Gibson
Bucknell University

Joseph Gallucci
Pacifica Radio Archives

Josephine McRobbie
North Carolina State University

Josh Shepperd
Catholic University, Radio Preservation Task Force

Joshua Yumibe
Michigan State University

Juana Suárez
Proimágenes Colombia

Juana Suárez
Second Run Media Preservation

Judith Opoku-Boateng
University of Ghana

Julie Brown
Royal Holloway, University of London

Julie Hubbert
University of South Carolina

Justin Bonfiglio
University of Michigan

Karen Sadler
NYU Cinema Studies

Katalin Teller
Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for History and Society

Kathleen Hansen
University of Minnesota

Katie Trainor
The Museum of Modern Art

Keller Chambers
Bucknell University

Kelly Chisholm
Library of Congress

Ken Eisenstein
Bucknell University

Ken Weissman
Library of Congress

Kevin Mathein
University of Missouri

Kit Hughes
Miami University

Kristi Mashon
Culpeper Tourism

Laura Kissel
University of South Carolina

Laura Major

Laura Montgomery
Rockefeller Archive Center

Laurel Howard
Library of Congress

Laurie O'Brien
Rochester Institute of Technology

Leandro Listorti
Museo del Cine "Pablo Ducrós Hicken"

Lee Tsiantis
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.

Li Lin
Beijing Film Academy

Lillie Lee
Library of Congress

Linda Mai Green

Lisa Rabin
George Mason University

Luke Moses

Madeleine Mashon
Virginia Commonwealth University

Manu Luksch
Dreams Rewired

Margaret Compton
University of Georgia Libraries

Margaret Parsons
National Gallery of Art

Maria Dominguez
Kinetoscopio Monstruo

Mark Quigley
UCLA Film & Television Archive

Martha Diaz

Martin Johnson
The Catholic University of America

Martin Reinhart
Dreams Rewired

Mary Gonzalez
George Mason University

Matt Soar
Concordia University

Matt Barton
Library of Congress

Melissa Dollman
UNC Chapel Hill

Mia Del Duca
Bucknell University

Michael Britt

Michael Ramos Araizaga
Permanencia Voluntaria

Mike Mashon
Library of Congress

Mona Jimenez

Mónica Savirón
independent curator / filmmaker /writer

Nancy Halgren
Culpeper, VA

Natalie Fidelholtz

Nico de Klerk
Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for History and Society

Nina Rao

Pamela Vizner Oyarce
Second Run Media Preservation

Pamela Vizner Oyarce
Universidad de Chile

Paul Esposito
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Paul Fileri
NYU Cinema Studies

Paul Spehr
LOC emeritus

Paula Félix-Didier
Museo del Cine "Pablo Ducrós Hicken"

Paulina Suárez
NYU Cinema Studies

Pedro Lã
film scholar, Lisbon

Rachael Stoeltje
Indiana University Libraries Moving Image Archive (IULMIA)

Rachel Curtis
Library of Congress

Rebecca Meyers
Bucknell University

Reto Kromer
AV Preservation by reto.ch

Rhea Combs
Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

Richard Frank
Whirlwind Pictures

Richard Robinson

Rick Prelinger
UC Santa Cruz

Rob Byrne
San Francisco Silent Film Festival

Robert Heiber
The Rick Chace Foundation

Robert Anen

Robert Gitt
UCLA Film and Television Archive (Emeritus)

Robin Edgerton
Independent researcher

Roger Mancusi
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Ron Mann
Sphinx Productions

Sandra Schulberg

Sarah Cantor
University of Maryland

Sasha Waters Freyer
VCU & Helen Hill Award

Sawyer Owens
Bucknell University

Scott Statland

Shane Brown
Bijou Film Center

Shawn VanCour

Shu-Wen Lin

Skip Elsheimer
A/V Geeks

Snowden Becker
UCLA Moving Image Archive Studies

Stephanie Sapienza
University of Maryland

Stephen Bottomore
independent scholar

Susan Courtney
University of South Carolina

Tanya Goldman
NYU Cinema Studies

Ted Smith
Bucknell University

Thomas Aschenbach
Colorlab / Video and Film Solutions

Trisha Lendo
Paramount Pictures

Ulrich Ruedel
HTW - University of Applied Sciences Berlin

Viviana Garcia Besné
Permanencia Voluntaria

Walter Forsberg
Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

Wendy Shay
Smithsonian National Museum of American History

William Morrow
Footage File

Yang Hu
NYU Cinema Studies