Film in the Present Tense: Berlin, October 20-22, 2017

If you’ll be anywhere near Berlin in late October, please do consider coming to what promises to be a fantastic weekend symposium there, October 20-22, 2017.  Organized by the amazing LaborBerlin folks, Film in the Present Tense will seek to explore the myriad ways in which analog film continues to be crucial, relevant, and thriving as an art form and medium well into the 21st Century.

Here’s the link:

Here’s their own description of the event:
“In spite of claims of its obsolescence, analog film is still alive. It continues to exist as an inimitable artistic medium, put to use in myriad forms around the world. Nonetheless, in the context of our ever-expanding digital landscape, analog film faces new challenges that have forced it into a process of deep transformation. What steps do we need to take to guarantee that analog film will remain as a living-breathing medium? What are the alternatives to the idea of film as an obsolete, historical object? What new forms will film take and what will that mean for the culture that surrounds it? How do we keep analog film in the Now?

Organised by LaborBerlin in cooperation with the Film Institute of the Berlin University of the Arts, Film in the Present Tense will bring together filmmakers, artists, programmers, technicians and representatives from museums, independent film labs and cinemas to address these questions and formulate ideas, possibilities and plans of action for keeping film current and alive. In addition to six panel discussions, there will be screenings and expanded cinema performances presenting some of the ways in which film continues to exist “in the present tense”.”

I’m thrilled and honored to give the keynote presentation, as well as present two curated screenings and participate in a panel on the role of the archive in contemporary film.  There will be numerous other brilliant thinkers and artists in attendance, other screenings, more panels, and probably some wonderfully enthusiastic discussion late into the nights about everything.  Should be a really enlightening and fun event, and I hope you can make it!


NEW LOCATION? I decided to move Preservation Insanity (man, do I regret that name now) here from its previous location for various reasons, and fix it up a bit. All previous posts are intact. If you’ve bookmarked or listed the site on your site, please do update the address (and thanks for your support!) The following is just background/contextual information for new/masochistic visitors.

FIRST TIME HERE? For those who haven’t been here before, this site is basically an ongoing collection of material usually pertaining to the conservation and preservation/restoration of experimental films. Other stuff will creep in from time to time, but that’s the primary focus. My name is Mark Toscano, I’m based in Los Angeles, and have been a film preservationist specializing in experimental films since 2003, prior to which I worked at Canyon Cinema for three years, so I’ve been pretty deeply immersed in this work for quite a while now. I love what I do, and I also love sharing information, discoveries, filmic anomalies, and whatever arcane empirical knowledge I’ve picked up by doing this work, so thanks very much for your interest in this site.

Continue reading “SITE INFO”

Taking requests

After some delay (with no good excuse), I present here a list of films I’ve been working on preserving/restoring over the past year or two.  A lot of these are finished, but a number of them are still in progress, some further along than others.  Feel free to make requests on any specific film you’d like me to write about, and I’ll do my best to do so.  In the interests of me not being overwhelmed, please limit your requests to no more than, say, two titles.  Some projects can be summarized really easily and briefly, some are a lot more involved.  And although I did go over this list pretty closely to make sure they’re all things I would/can write about, I reserve the right to change my mind about writing on certain films.  Just leave your requests in the comments!

Continue reading “Taking requests”

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.

Stan Brakhage

This is a test of sorts.  So far, everything I’ve posted on this blog in terms of photos/information has been done with the permission of the filmmakers (in some cases, like with Robert Nelson, the permission is implicit).

Marilyn Brakhage and I talked several months ago about starting to put Stan Brakhage related material on this blog as well.

For some time, we’ve periodically talked about the idea of a major website with lots of info about Stan and all of his work, ever expanding, but that’s still a ways off. (By the way, if you’d be interested in volunteering your help on that hypothetical project, contact me through this blog. Can’t promise anything right now, but it’d be nice to gauge interest.)

In the meantime, Marilyn was OK with the idea of posting some stuff here, and I have tons of pictures and info I could share here, not that I want it to become an exclusively Brakhage blog or anything, but it’s still quite a lot of fascinating stuff. One particular thing we agreed on would be to watermark the photos somehow, just to keep them from being circulated without some kind of notice of copyright and provenance attached. Fair enough?

So I’ll give it a shot here today. In the following post on Brakhage’s Hell Spit Flexion (1983), I’ve put a lame, homemade watermark on the photo which will appear in the following post. Hopefully it’s not too annoying or intrusive. Please let me know if you have a better suggestion, I’m all ears. What do you think?

Also, when I step back a bit, and take a gander at this blog, I realize that it isn’t terribly specifically about film preservation, is it? It’s more about unique, weird, amazing, or anomalous findings in the course of my working on the preservation of (primarily) experimental films, frequently having to do with unique production practices.

So should I include more preservation information? Is anybody curious about that kind of stuff and would like more of it? I’m extremely open to suggestions.

Thanks for reading!