News

When the Circus Came to Town, and Leapt from the Screen

posted December 20, 2021

Among the films just added to the National Film Registry is an extraordinary document from Indianapolis. The 3-minute actuality recording of the arrival in the city in 1902 of the Ringling Bros. Circus. leaps from the screen. It’s well worth watching on as large a screen as you can.

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Library of Congress adds 25 motion pictures to the National Film Registry

posted December 15, 2021

The US Library of Congress has announced its annual selection of 25 influential motion pictures to be placed on the National Film Registry. Films in the registry are selected for their cultural, historic, or aesthetic importance. This year’s selected films date from 120 years ago to 2008 and were made by Hollywood studios, independent filmmakers, documentarians, and even film students.

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Progress at the Israel Film Archive

posted November 29, 2021

To show what life has looked like in Israel since its founding in 1948, the Israel Film Archive at the Jerusalem Cinematheque has reached a significant milestone. It has completed work on providing English subtitles to all the newsreels in its online collection. It is doing the same for its feature films, which show what creative minds have made of the country.

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Australian Government’s About-Face on Archives

posted July 1, 2021

In a startling about-face, Australia’s center-right government has announced that it will provide modest funding for emergency maintenance of the country’s National Archives.

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Let Them Preserve Cake: Government’s Dismissive Message to Australian Archivists

posted June 28, 2021

Australia’s National Archives is 1,400 years behind schedule if it is to preserve even its current holdings. Its users are not happy. More than 150 prominent cultural figures have addressed an open letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, urging his government “to stop the neglect of the National Archives and protect the nation's history.” They have been met by seeming scorn.

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How Will an Important Archive Ever Recover?

posted June 10, 2021

After a wildfire destroyed or severely damaged vast amounts of library holdings at the University of Cape Town, in South Africa, librarians and archivists — not just from UCT, but also from around the world — joined an effort to recuperate the losses, to whatever extent is possible. The losses included much of one of the largest collections anywhere of books, films, photographs, and other primary sources relating to African history, including a largely irreplaceable collection of journalists' film and other records from the Apartheid era.

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Looking Again at Eyes on the Prize

posted April 1, 2021

The civil rights era in the United States was a time of great upheaval, of continuing and at times intensified injustice, and of both triumph and tragedy. Now the Boston-based American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) has released a new online exhibit – Freedom Song: Interviews from Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years, 1954–1965 – that explores what went into making the groundbreaking 1987 television series, Eyes on the Prize, which famously depicted the era.

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A Lifetime of Movie Research, Digitized

posted February 2, 2021

For decades, Lillian Michelson performed research in support of Hollywood film producers, directors, designers, and other creatives. With material she gathered in the course of her work, in 1969 she began the Cinema Research Library that now bears her name. A new chapter in the vast collection has begun with Michelson’s donation of the material to the Internet Archive.

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47 Orphan Films To Be Preserved with Federal Grants

posted October 1, 2020

The National Film Preservation Foundation has announced annual grants to U.S. 34 institutions to allow them to preserve 47 “orphan” films from their collections. (“Orphan film” is defined as a film in any form that has been abandoned by its owner or caretaker.) Since 1998 the NFPF has provided preservation resources to 315 organizations in all 50 American states as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to help save 2,547 films.

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Digitizing the First Days of Public Access Television

posted September 2, 2020

Public access to free-to-air and cable television resulted from a lot of activism by pioneers in the face of many obstacles. From 1971, the plucky New York state collective, Portable Channel, created some of the earliest citizen-made documentary television in the United States. Now Visual Studies Workshop, based in Rochester, NY, is digitizing and making available hundreds of video tapes created by members of Portable Channel.

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