Monthly Archives: June 2014

Meet 28mm — Your Favorite Film Gauge That You Never Knew Existed — Super-Rare Show on Wednesday at 8

Join us for an absurdly rare smattering of 28mm films – Including some original prints which are over 100 years old – in tribute to and in the spirit of the 13th INTERNATIONAL DOMITOR CONFERENCE.

Wednesday, June 25 @ 8 PM – Free Admission, Donations Accepted
Annie May Swift Hall, 1920 Campus Drive, Northwestern University

LIVE ACCOMPANIMENT by the Tatsu Aoki Silent Quartet, featuring Tatsu Aoki, Kioto Aoki, Edward Wilkerson, and Jamie Kemper

28mm Pathescope_700

New Adventures in 28mm: THAT MODEL FROM PARIS & Other Oddities
Developed at a time when 35mm motion picture film was synonymous with nitrate fires and the annihilating spirit of modernity, the 28mm gauge was a non-flammable alternative marketed to schools, churches, and the private domain. Used for both home movies and non-theatrical exhibition of commercial shorts and features, the 28mm format was the forerunner of the instructional film, the classroom filmstrip, Castle Films 8mm clips, and your VHS library. Widely used in America until World War I and in Europe until the emergence of the talkies, 28mm presentations are exceptionally rare today, even though many films survive only in this unjustly neglected format. Dino Everett, Archivist at USC Hugh M. Hefner Moving Image Archive and a longtime 28mm collector and advocate, will screen a representative sample of 28mm films on original projection equipment and provide an illuminating (but non-flammable) lecture on the history of the format.

Program includes:
That Model from Paris (Louis J. Gasnier, 1926) [Excerpts], The Life of George Washington (1909), The Crazy Villa (1913), The Gypsy’s Revenge (1908), and much more!

Posted in News | Comments Off on Meet 28mm — Your Favorite Film Gauge That You Never Knew Existed — Super-Rare Show on Wednesday at 8

Remember The Alamo? Movies, Markets, and Misaligned Incentives

ALAMO 70mm

Film preservation is rarely a sexy endeavor, the fantasies of archivists themselves notwithstanding. Preserving or restoring a film often requires years of semi-scholastic drudgery—research, grant-writing, lab tests, hair-splitting assessments of continuity and color-timing. The reward at the end of the process is posterity—for the film, not the preservationist, who must be content with providing a sound bite on a DVD extra. (Bonus points allotted if the preservationist is shown at a messy desk, futzing with an ornery reel or holding it up to the light for inspection, like a fastidious jeweler.)

Point being, preservation work is a consummate behind-the-scenes job. On a certain level, that work should be invisible: if the goal is to return a film as close as possible to its original state, then eluding audience detection through seamless tradecraft is a mark of success. Hiding the gulf between disparate source elements and suppressing the ravages of time are laudable, essentially self-effacing, achievements. Film restoration hews closely to the physician’s Hippocratic Oath—first, do no harm. (By this standard, touting a new surround sound remix, digitally removing the intrinsic grain structure of the image, or valiantly intuiting a long-dead filmmaker’s unrealized intentions would automatically command suspicion, to say nothing of colorization, integration of new footage, and the like.) The highest compliment is not to be noticed at all.

The deliberations behind a restoration are even more obscure. They are almost always private and sometimes even proprietary: convincing a foundation that a particular film is culturally auspicious enough to merit underwriting its preservation, persuading a superior to allocate scarce discretionary funds to an emergency salvage project, negotiating a fair licensing agreement with a copyright holder. These are inherently delicate situations, so it’s no surprise that they don’t often unfold in the public square. Continue reading

Posted in Blog | Tagged , | Comments Off on Remember The Alamo? Movies, Markets, and Misaligned Incentives