A Film Preservation Symposium
at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC
September 23-25, 1999
Orphans of the Storm:
Saving 'Orphan Films' in the Digital Age
In the storm of millennial transitions, technological change, and
fiscal retrenchment, what becomes of motion pictures abandoned by their
owners? How and why should orphan films be preserved?
The University of South Carolina is hosting a symposium to address
these questions. The event will feature an eclectic mix of noted film
scholars, archivists and preservation experts from leading institutions,
and filmmakers who work with orphaned material.
The "orphan" rubric will be considered broadly, taking in all
manner of "at-risk" films: newsreels, silent films, experimental works,
public domain materials, amateur footage, kinescopes, advertising films,
documentaries, independent productions and more.
As the twenty-first century dawns, what is being done to preserve
orphan films? What approaches and technologies are being used to save the
motion picture record of the twentieth century? How are filmmakers and
historians using these records?
PRELIMINARY SCHEDULE (subject to change)
Thursday, September 23
9-12 Newsfilm Library Open House
1-3 Technological Frontiers of Film Preservation: A Colloquium
3:15-5 What Is an 'Orphan Film'?
8-10 Screenings from the Prelinger Archives; and
+ Joe Lauro, Historic Films, "Lost Treasures of American Music"
Friday, September 24
9 - 10:45 Newsreel Preservation
2-3:30 Experimental Films
3:45-5:30 Silent-era Cinema
Screenings from the Netherlands Film Museum and elsewhere
+ restored "The Two Orphans" (1911) and other rarities
Saturday, September 25
9 - 10:45 Early African-American Cinema
11-12:45 Television and Video Preservation
2-3:30 Low" Films
3:45-5:30 Use of Orphan Films by Contemporary Filmmakers
8-10 Screenings by Alan Berliner and Péter Forgács
Scheduled participants include
Callie Angell, the Andy Warhol Film Project at the Whitney Museum of
American Art, on preserving the Warhol films
Jennifer M. Bean, University of Washington-Seattle, "Frozen in Time:
Looking at the Dawson City Archive Collection, 1913-1919"
Alan Berliner, filmmaker (FAMILY ALBUM)
Paolo Cherchi Usai, George Eastman House/University of Rochester, "What Is
An Orphan Film? Definition, Rationale, and Controversy."
Hart Cohen, Western Sydney University, "The Films of T.G.H. Strehlow"
Donald Crafton, Univ. of Notre Dame, on the found footage in Bruce Conner's
Steve Davidson, Wolfson Media Center, Miami, on local television newsfilm
Nico de Klerk, Netherlands Film Museum, on foundlings of film history
Raymond Fielding, Florida State University, on newsreels and preservation
Péter Forgács, filmmaker, (PRIVATE HUNGARY) Private Film & Photo Archives
Jon Gartenberg, Gartenberg Media Enterprises/Independent Film Preservation
Project, The Estate Project for Artists with AIDS, "Rude Awakening:
Restoring the Legacy of Experimental Filmmaker Warren Sonbert"
Robert Haller, Anthology Film Archives, on rediscovering Ed Emshwiller's
PROJECT APOLLO (USIA, 1968)
Robert Heiber, Chace Productions (Burbank, CA), "Sound Preservation,
Restoration or Remastering"
Steven Higgins, Museum of Modern Art, on the Biograph collection
Joe Lauro, Historic Films, "Motion Picture Recordings of Lost American Music"
Suzanne Lee, National Film Preservation Foundation, "Preserving Orphan
Films: Public Policy in Practice"
Gregory Lukow, UCLA Film and Television Archive, "The Impact of the 'Orphan
Film' Metaphor on Contemporary Preservation Practice"
Karen Lund, Library of Congress, on the National Digital Library
Mike Mashon, Library of Congress, "Television and Video Preservation"
Sarah Meyerson, Film Technology Co., on preserving network TV news archives
Bill Morrison, filmmaker (A FILM OF HER)
William T. Murphy, National Archives and Records Administration, "The
Unhappy State of American Newsreel Preservation"
Charles Musser, Yale University, on preserving SYMBOL OF THE UNCONQUERED
Francis Poole, University of Delaware, on films orphaned in educational
collections: Rhythm of Africa (France/Chad, 1947), Jackson Pollock (1951),
Natural History of Psychotic Illness in Childhood (UK, 1958)
Rick Prelinger, screenings from the Prelinger Archives
Charlene Regester, University of North Carolina, on the films of Oscar
Eric Schaefer, Emerson College, "Saving Rubbish: The High Priority of
Preserving Low Films"
Jacqueline Stewart, University of Chicago, on early African-American Cinema
Linda Tadic, Media Archives and Peabody Award Collection, University of
Georgia, on preserving local television
Yuri Tsivian, University of Chicago, on early Russian cinema
Tom Whiteside, Duke University, "H. Lee Waters' Movies of Local People"
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