LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 16.0

Help for AMIA-L Archives


AMIA-L Archives

AMIA-L Archives


AMIA-L@LSV.UKY.EDU


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

AMIA-L Home

AMIA-L Home

AMIA-L  January 2006

AMIA-L January 2006

Subject:

Re: Chicago Tribune story- Splices of life

From:

Snowden Becker <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association of Moving Image Archivists <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 3 Jan 2006 13:55:17 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (311 lines)

Wow, what excellent coverage of an archive, and how deserving CFA is of
the positive press! I'm very proud and happy to see such an informed,
level-headed, and thoughtful piece of writing about regional film
preservation and the people behind it. It seems like this reporter
really GETS it, which I find is rather unusual these days. Well done,
Nancy, and three cheers for all the gang at CFA!

Snowden

>>> [log in to unmask] 12/30/05 8:14 PM >>>
Today's Chicago Tribune prominently featured the Chicago Film Archives
as
the cover story in their Friday Movies section.  A fine cap to a
successful
year for the CFA.  Kudos to Nancy Watrous and staff.
And happy new year to all.

Carolyn

-----------------------------------------------------

Splices of life

Chicago Film Archives collects, preserves the region's past in film --
the
reel labor includes inspecting its 5,500 movies
Advertisement
 
 By John Owens
 Tribune staff reporter

 December 30, 2005

 They're the stark, black-and-white images from Chicago's racially
charged
past. A group of about 300 African-Americans stages a civil rights
march
that travels west on Cermak Road and into the all-white suburb of
Cicero.
There, the marchers are met by hundreds of outraged residents.

 "Go back to Brookfield Zoo with the rest of the baboons!" shouts one
angry
resident, then others follow up with equally crude epithets.

 This real-life drama was captured in the rarely seen 1966 documentary
"Cicero March," an eight-minute production that is one of the crown
jewels
in the collection of a recently created local arts organization, the
Chicago
Film Archives.

 "This is an absolutely wonderful document of Chicago history," says
CFA
director Nancy Watrous of "Cicero March," produced by the legendary
Chicago-based Film Group production house. "It's a perfect example of
what
we want our collection to be--films from Chicago filmmakers,
representing
this city and the Midwest."

 "Cicero March" is one of approximately 5,500 films now in the
collection of
the Chicago Film Archives, a not-for-profit group founded by Watrous
after
she received a donation of around 5,000 films from the Chicago Public
Library in late 2003. That collection, which consists primarily of 16
mm
films (with some 8 mm movies and a few 35 mm films thrown in for good
mea-sure), is now housed in a climate-controlled Pilsen warehouse.

 Watrous, who has spent the last 25 years working in a variety of
capacities
with film production crews in Hollywood and Chicago, rescued these
films
after Columbia College decided not to take over the collection.

 "I had heard about these films and had been telling the library not
to
split up this collection, so they said, 'OK, it's yours,'" Watrous
recalled.
"I wasn't originally thinking about taking the collection, but I
thought it
was important to get them relocated here in Chicago."

 In addition to Watrous, the CFA now has five other volunteers devoted
to
cataloging and inspecting the prints in the collection.

 The group also has a nine-person advisory board consisting primarily
of
members of Chicago's film community.

 Watrous and her five-member volunteer staff are now spending several
hours
each week in the Pilsen warehouse where the films are housed,
inspecting the
prints for damage. The group has a budget of $20,000 annually for
warehouse
and inspection costs. Much of that money was acquired through grants
from
the National Film Preservation Foundation, the City of Chicago
Community
Arts Assistance Program and the Illinois Arts Council. Recent
fundraisers
such as a May event at the Chicago Cultural Center are also utilized,
along
with donations and film rentals.

 Members of Chicago's film community say the CFA is a necessary
addition to
the local arts community.

 "A lot of what's in their collection are films that probably deserve
to be
forgotten," said Milos Stehlik, the executive director for Facets
Multimedia. "But it's a noble effort because everything is worth
preserving,
specifically the films that were interesting oddities."

 The collection now has a varied group of films. There's a rare 16 mm
print
of "Paracelsus" (1943), from "Pandora's Box" director G.W. Pabst, made
while
he was stuck in Nazi Germany; a number of silent films from Hollywood,
including some Charlie Chaplin shorts; and home movies and amateur
productions going back 80 years, the oldest example of which probably
is
rare footage of Navy Pier in the 1920s.

 But perhaps the most valuable part of the CFA collection is the
hundreds of
locally produced industrials, documentaries, educational films and
corporate
training films from the 1940s through the 1980s. They include pleasant
surprises like "Chicago: Midland Metropolis," a beautifully shot 1963
color
documentary produced by Encyclopedia Britannica featuring bygone images
of
Chicago neighborhoods; and "The New World of Stainless Steel", a 1961
color
industrial possibly shot at the Republic Steel plant on the Southeast
Side
by Chicago-based Wilding Studios.

 "It's the one area in this collection which is really worth
preserving,
because Chicago from the 1950s on had a strong independent film
scene,"
Stehlik said. "There were a lot of interesting educational films
produced
here, and there was a rich tradition of social documentaries."

 Those documentaries, industrials and educational films were produced
by
local companies that became leaders in the industry: Coronet Films,
Fred
Niles Studio, Film Group, Encyclopedia Britannica.

 "There was a lot of important work done here," said Stephen Poster, a
Hollywood cinematographer ("Daddy Day Care," "Donnie Darko," "Big Top
Pee-Wee") who started his career in Chicago working on documentaries
and
educational films in the 1960s.

 "In a way, these films document how important Chicago was as an
industrial
hub," Poster said. "They're cultural artifacts."

 These films also provide a valuable snapshot of a Chicago that has
long
since disappeared.

 "What did factories look like in the '40s and '50s, what did people
look
like then?" said Jack Behrend, a Chicago-based industrial filmmaker
during
the 1960s and '70s who donated dozens of his films to the collection.
"We
know how it looked on a Hollywood set, but the real world is
different."

 "Chicago was kind of the center of not only the production of these
films,
but the distribution of them," Watrous added. "These are the films we
want
to preserve, because they're significant to our region's history."

 The group has added to its initial collection of Chicago Public
Library
films. Over the last year, the CFA has acquired around 500 additional
titles
through donations from local and national filmmakers. These include
169
movies from Chicago-based amateur filmmaker Margaret Conneely, who made
16
mm narrative films with friends and family members during the '40s and
'50s;
and eight titles from the aforementioned Film Group, including that
company's entire series of "Urban Crisis" non-fiction films, a series
that
documented the social and political unrest of Chicago in the 1960s.

 "Cicero March" was one of the seven films in the "Urban Crisis"
series,
which also included "The People's Right to Know: Police Versus
Reporters"
(1968), a short documentary about the confrontations between police
and
demonstrators at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago;
and
"Black Moderates and Black Militants" (1969), another short film that
documents an intense dialogue between a member of the radical Black
Panther
Party and a more politically moderate African-American school
principal.

 The CFA also has longer films from the Film Group in its collection,
including the 1968 "American Revolution II," another documentary about
the
1968 Democratic Convention.

 Mike Gray, a founding member of the Film Group who later went on to
write
the screenplay for "The China Syndrome," heard about the Chicago Film
Archives and felt that it was the perfect place to archive the
documentaries
he had worked on 40 years ago.

 "I had a number of prints of `Cicero March' in my basement, and they
were
all in pretty good shape," said Bill Cottle, a partner of Gray who
facilitated the Film Group donations to the CFA. "But these films don't
last
forever. If they had started to decompose, they would have been lost."

 A few other prints exist of the "Urban Crisis" series. But in some
cases,
the Chicago Film Archives owns the only existing prints of works in
their
collection. That's why the staff has been working furiously to inspect
the
prints in stock to see what's worth preserving. The staff already has
inspected about 300 films in the collection. And some of those films
have
already been designated for preservation.

 For instance, the group got grants totaling $4,770 from the National
Film
Preservation Foundation to create new negative and master prints for
three
films in the Film Group's "Urban Crisis" series--"Cicero March",
"Black
Moderates and Black Militants" and "The Peoples' Right to Know: Police
Versus Reporters." The CFA also got a $1,930 grant from the film board
to
preserve "The Fairy Princess," a Christmas film made by Conneely in
the
1950s using rudimentary stop-motion animation.

 But the inspectors continue to deal with problems. The most pressing
issue
in the collection is faded color prints.

 "From the late '50s to the early '80s, Eastman Kodak had manufactured
a 16
mm color print stock that faded relatively easily," Watrous said. "When
this
stock fades, almost all color except for red is drained out of it."

 The CFA has been able to send some of the films in its collection to
a
local lab for color correction, most notably a color narrative film
directed
by Poster in 1974, "Another Saturday Night." But preserving all of the
films
in the collection is cost-prohibitive.

 "The more central a film is to our mission, the more attention we will
give
it," Watrous said. "We are a regional archive, so films that reflect
either
Chicago/Illinois history, character or culture are more important to us
to
preserve."

 Even while CFA volunteers continue to inspect the films in their
collection, Watrous says she wants to present some of these films to
the
public through an ambitious screening schedule.

 The CFA has had successful screenings for some its films (including
"The
New World of Stainless Steel"). But Watrous says she would like to
present
films like the "Urban Crisis" series to minority audiences in
Chicago's
neighborhoods.

 "We want to blend some of the audiences for our films," she said.
"The
Cultural Center is great, but it's not always easy for people from the
neighborhoods to get downtown for these screenings."

 ----------

 For more information about the Chicago Film Archives, call
773-478-3799 or
visit online at www.chicagofilmarchives.org.

Copyright  2005, Chicago Tribune

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

Advanced Options


Options

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password


Search Archives

Search Archives


Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe


Archives

December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
August 2001
July 2001
June 2001
May 2001
April 2001
March 2001
February 2001
January 2001
December 2000
November 2000
October 2000
September 2000
August 2000
July 2000
June 2000
May 2000
April 2000
March 2000
February 2000
January 2000
December 1999
November 1999

ATOM RSS1 RSS2



LSV.UKY.EDU

Secured by F-Secure Anti-Virus CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager