From The Washington Post: What happened to Hattie McDaniel’s Oscar?

Oscar Micheaux

A good question, and reminds us of another Oscar associated with being first (McDaniel was the first African-American to win the statuette). Oscar Micheaux is considered the first African-American to direct a feature-length film. The Black Film Center/Archive at Indiana University at Bloomington is a good place to start your research.

Here’s a snippet from a Q and A in The New York Times Arts Blog with Andrei Ujica, the director of a new documentary, The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu, recently screened at Cannes:

Andrei Ujica, photo by Armin Linke
Q. There are several different types of footage in the film — some of official addresses and events, and some of what look like home movies. Did it all come from the same archive?

A. There are only two big archives in Bucharest, the National Television Archives and the National Film Archives. The National Documentary Film Studio was responsible for the Ceausescu protocol archives, and after the revolution the archives moved to the National Film Archives. The images from the holidays and hunting trips are from the ’70s, and they were shot for the private use of the Ceausescu family. He loved to be filmed and he called them souvenirs. The footage from other countries — some were by Ceausescu’s own cameramen, but sometimes they were shot by, for instance, the North Korean documentary studio or the BBC and sent to Bucharest as unedited rushes which the Romanian propaganda machine could use.

Orphans on Parade…a recent article in Slant Magazine about the symposium: The 2010 Orphan Film Symposium: A Crash Course in Film History. Organizers of the event made some nifty trailers, like the one below by Russell Sheaffer and Jim Bittl.


A Game of Chance Invented by God: Ricky Jay’s ‘Dice’: Ruminations and Ruinations: a recent visit to the Museum of Jurassic Technology in Culver City made us include this slightly musty (it’s from 2002) CNN piece.


Live from the Moon – Plus 40: Sacramento Bee reporter Scott Lebar on the efforts of his father, lunar camera engineer Stan Lebar, to reconstruct lost moon landing footage.

Psycho Makeover Plays Cannes Classics sidebar: see the listserv archives of the Association of Moving Image Archivists listserv for recent discussion of the restoration decisions, using search terms “Psycho 2010 Experience.” Better yet, join the AMIA listserv (free). Better still, join AMIA.

Leslie Nielsen

The blog Lies Like Truth (in which Chloe Veltman alerts readers to how culture will save the world) reports on a subject that makes you want to stick your head between your knees…: The Art of the Airplane Safety Video. The gist of the item is that airlines seem to struggle to create pre-flight safety films that grab passengers’ attention.

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