A million projects.

I’m working on a million preservation/restoration projects right now, the vast majority of which are independent/experimental/artists’ films. I was thinking of posting a list of a bunch of them here, and having folks who are interested pick a couple of titles that interest them, and I’ll write a blog post about what’s going on with those specific projects, archivally speaking. I would probably throw in some production info on the films too, in cases where I have info worth repeating.

So hopefully this would not only be of potential interest to fans of this sort of thing, but also would give me “homework”, which I think would compel me to be a bit better about writing out descriptions of each project, something I’m a bit behind on at that moment.

What do you think? I’d have to limit it, though. Can’t write on a ton of ’em! Some will be very basic, some will be very elaborate. Comments?

In the meantime, here’s a picture of the inside of a can that contained a print of Confrontation at Kent State (1970) by Richard Myers et al.

Will Hindle’s visual cue rolls


Happy Thanksgiving! Decided to write a quick(?) post before starting to peel potatoes.

When I started working at the film archive in 2003, one of the first filmmakers whose work I wanted to do something to preserve/restore was Will Hindle. Will died in 1987. In the 1960s and 1970s, he was easily one of the more influential and acclaimed experimental filmmakers working. Even his earliest films, like Pastorale d’ete (1958) and Non Catholicam (1957-63/64) had a huge influence on people like Bruce Baillie (who helped Will shoot Non Catholicam). Stan Brakhage was a great friend and admirer. By all accounts, Will was a deeply intelligent, sensitive, and intense person and artist, who affected many he encountered over a few decades of existence on the independent film scene. Several of his 1970s/80s students I’ve spoken to have a profound connection to him, and count him as a chief influence in their lives. A much more extensive post should be written on Will, but I’ll try to address that in the future.

One important thing to mention is that Will’s films wouldn’t have survived if it weren’t for the incredible Shellie Fleming, who has not only been an exceptionally influential professor for many SAIC students over the years, but was also the person who really single-handedly saved and cared for what survived of Will’s films for many years until she and I got in touch in 2003 to talk about preserving them. She has been an important inspiration to me as well.

There are a lot of pictures for today’s post, all of a single object. One of Will’s most complex films in terms of its visual choreography and editing, is Watersmith (1969). Will clearly had an incredibly deep and seemingly innate understanding of the possibilities of film printing. His editing and composition reflects this, and his most accomplished films, like Billabong (1968), Chinese Firedrill (1968), and Watersmith reflect a truly uncanny understanding of the remote capabilities of a film printer and the seemingly inconceivably rich ways in which that process could be manipulated and exploited.

Continue reading “Will Hindle’s visual cue rolls”

High school theatrics [Stan Brakhage & Lawrence Jordan]

This isn’t remotely about film preservation, but I thought it might be a fun thing to put up regardless. I find it kind of touching too, and feel like this kind of ephemera is also really crucial in its way to a larger film archival/academic/curatorial context, even if superficially it may seem somewhat trivial.

In November of 2007 I visited Boulder and Denver to do a whole mess of stuff, although the primary reason for the trip was to spend some time with the Stan Brakhage papers, housed at CU Boulder. Aside from finding a lot of documents (particularly lab invoices) that would be extremely helpful to the restoration work on Stan’s films, there was also a lot of interesting ephemera related to Stan’s life and career. In some cases, I took snapshots of some of this material, even if not relevant to actual preservation work, usually because I found it interesting or helpful to filling in holes in what I knew about Stan’s biography during the early-to-mid-’50s in particular, a period of his life and work I’m very curious about.  Sometimes though, as with this item, it was just fun to encounter certain things.

A lot of folks who’ve studied experimental film know that Stan and filmmaker Lawrence Jordan went to high school together. Here’s an article from the school’s newspaper following a play they appeared in together. The school is South High, the paper was called (is still called?) The Confederate, and the date of this little article is February 21, 1951. That’s Lawrence on the left, and Stan in the middle:

Robert Nelson’s rental fees

I had to share this. For a few years, I had the honor of being the only distribution source for the films of Robert Nelson. As nice as this was, I had wanted him to put the films back into Canyon Cinema (which he co-founded), not just to take some burden off of me, but really to make them a lot more accessible. This was finally done, I think in early 2008. Anyway, sometime in early 2007, Nelson sent me this letter which detailed a plan for rental fees for his films and the various discounts for which interested parties might be eligible. I laughed my ass off when I got this.

About a month later, Bob sent another letter saying the films should instead all be rented for free.

(As it stands now, several of the films are available (not for free – he changed his mind again) from Canyon Cinema, with additional ones still available through Bob and me via the Academy Film Archive.)