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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
posted August 17, 2020
Home Movie Day won’t be quite the same, this year. But as sometimes happens, restrictions — in this case, imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic — will force changes that may turn out to be fruitful innovations. In 2020, Home Movie Day goes virtual, and with that the local becomes global.
posted August 6, 2020
The George Eastman Museum is providing free online access to a selection of digitized films from its moving image collection. So far, it has released 23 digitized films for general viewing. Films by groundbreaking documentary maker Leo Hurwitz are among selections from the Eastman collection that you can now watch on the museum’s website.
posted June 12, 2020
How is the Covid-19 pandemic disrupting film archivists and archives? Christopher Dupin, who as Senior Administrator runs the day-to-day operations of the International Federation of Film Archivists, wants to know: “Being an historian, myself, I always think about the future and what we want historians in 20 or 30 years to remember about this."
posted May 6, 2020
Late March was to have been Tammy Burnstock’s big moment in smelling movies. Yes, smelling them. For months, the Australian filmmaker and TV producer had been preparing for the premiere of her documentary film In Glorious Smell-O-Vision!: The True Story of the Godfather of Scented Cinema. It was to have been screened along with a great deal of olfactory frolicking.
posted May 4, 2020
Films of American roots musicians and pioneers of atmospheric research, and as well as home movies about flying, are among many historical records that will be preserved thanks to this year’s Recordings at Risk awards from the Council on Library and Information Resources. In the seventh of its award rounds, the CLIR has granted more than $650,000 to 19 preservation projects, bringing the total projects assisted by the fund to 109.