Oct 1, 2019

Remembering the first Orphans of the Storm at 20.

Thoughts about the 20th anniversary of the Orphan Film Symposium.

Posted here.

Bonus track:
Some digital image artifacts from 1999 below.

Here's a 1999 flatbed scan of the strip of decaying nitrate film from which the above logo was taken.

For the record, the footage shows a 1928 Eucharistic Congress in Sydney, Australia.

Seed money for the symposium from this NSF grant. Paul Smith was a grantsman and development person for USC Libraries.

A "rather scattered community."

The library's grant made it possible to bring several of the speakers to campus. The reference to George Eastman House was because its senior curator Paolo Cherchi Usai gave a keynote address. A transcription is posted: "What is an Orphan Film? Definition, Rationale and Controversy," University of South Carolina, September 23, 1999.

He began thusly:
I am reminded what happened about two years ago at Eastman House, when one day I opened the side door, and there right in front of me were three piles of films, very carefully stacked. There was a message written on a piece of paper, covered by a stone: "Take good care of these films. I am moving to South Carolina. Hope they are of use to you." No signature. The films were 16mm prints made approximately in the 1920s. They were arranged in alphabetical order. They were not crying. They were in great shape. So we took them in. Took them to the registrar's office and tried to find out what they were. . .