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June 17, 2014
Library’s Packard Campus Hosts “Mostly Lost” 3
Silent Film Archaeology III: A Film-Identification Workshop
Archivists, scholars and silent-film buffs will participate in a kind of cinematic treasure hunt for three days in July. The Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation is inviting a cadre of film detectives to attend a free workshop, "Mostly Lost," to screen and identify silent and early sound films that have been unidentified, under-identified or misidentified, Thursday, July 17 through Saturday, July 19.
The third in an ongoing series, the workshop will tap the collective knowledge of the participants to obtain as much information as possible about the unknown or little-known films. During the screenings, attendees are encouraged to talk in the theater, calling out names of actors, locations, car models, production companies or anything else they recognize about each film.
All genres of films will be shown, including comedies, dramas and actuality films. Ben Model, Andrew Simpson, and Philip Carli will provide live musical accompaniment during the workshop and evening presentations of newly preserved silent films.
The workshop will feature unidentified films from the Library’s collections as well as from other archives, including the George Eastman House, the UCLA Film & Television Archive, EYE Film Instituut Nederland in Amsterdam, Royal Belgian Filmarchive, USC SCA Hugh M. Hefner Moving Image Archive, Lobster Film Archive and the Newsfilm Library at the University of South Carolina.
Ninety-five reels of film were screened at the first workshop in 2012. Of those, 38 films—40 percent—were identified during the event. Following the inaugural workshop, another 15 titles screened there were able to be identified. The second workshop showcased 109 films and of those, 48 films—44 percent—have been identified so far.
Daytime events are open only to registered workshop participants; register at www.culpepertheatre.org/mostly-lost/ (external link). The deadline for registration is Tuesday, July 1. For more information, email [email protected] and [email protected].
The regular evening screenings on July 17 and 18 at the Packard Campus are free. There is a $6 admission charge for the July 19 evening screening at the State Theatre. All evening screenings are open to the general public. In case of inclement weather, call the theater reservation line no more than three hours before showtime to verify status. For further information on the theater and film schedule, visit www.loc.gov/avconservation/theater/.
The Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation is a state-of-the-art facility funded as a gift to the nation by the Packard Humanities Institute. The Packard Campus is the site where the nation’s library acquires, preserves and provides access to the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of motion pictures, television programs, radio broadcasts and sound recordings (www.loc.gov/avconservation/). The Packard Campus is home to more than 7 million collection items. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at www.loc.gov.
Thursday, July 178:30 a.m. — Tour of the Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation
12:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. — Silent-Film Presentations
"Failed Film Formats"
Whether it was bad technology, bad marketing, bad timing or just plain bad luck, dozens of film formats were launched with high hopes, but failed completely. Presented by Dino Everett, this session will showcase these unsuccessful formats using original, restored equipment. Some of the formats that may be screened include 9.5 mm; 16 mm Vitaphone sound-on-disc; a non-theatrical home version of the Vitaphone system that revolutionized the motion-picture industry; and 28 mm. The 28-mm format was the first film gauge to gain wide acceptance as a nonflammable stock for home use. Although its lifespan as a viable format was short-lived (beginning in the 1910s and fading in the 1920s), 28 mm continues to reappear in archival collections, often perplexing those who are unfamiliar with its history.
"Bringing Color to the Screen - the Early Years of Technicolor"
Technicolor was founded nearly 100 years ago to bring color to the movies. Technicolor engineers worked tirelessly to develop a commercially successful two-color process. James Layton and David Pierce have written the first history of two-color Technicolor, to be published in 2015. This presentation uses rare stills and digital video clips to highlight the company’s history, including behind-the-scenes production accounts of the Technicolor photography on "Ben-Hur," "The Black Pirate" and "The Mysterious Island."
"Retour de Flamme"
Presented by Serge Bromberg, this workshop illustrates some of the wonderful silent films that have been recently rediscovered. Bromberg will show films—with live piano accompaniment—that unexpectedly survived the silent-movie period and reveal some interesting surprises. This fun and memorable presentation will feature amazing stories about how the films were found and identified.
7:30 p.m. — "Linda" (First Division, 1929) – Packard Campus Theater
Mrs. Wallace Reid (Dorothy Davenport) directed this silent drama starring Helen Foster as Linda Stillwater, a bright young girl from a poor mountain family. Linda’s brutal father forces her to marry Armstrong Decker, the elderly head of the local lumber mill, although she is in love with the town doctor. Noah Beery Sr., Warner Baxter, Kate Price and Bess Flowers also star in the film, which was photographed by eight-time Oscar nominee Ernest Laszlo. Ben Model will provide live musical accompaniment on the Walker theater organ for this new 35-mm print from the Library of Congress Film Preservation Lab. The event is free and open to the public.
Friday, July 189 a.m. - 5 p.m. — Screening unidentified films from archives around the world
Following the lunch — "Where the Music Comes From: A Talk/Demo on Silent Film Accompaniment"
This session will provide a rare glimpse into the minds and hands of the conference’s silent-film accompanists, the "Pep Boys." Philip Carli, Ben Model and Andrew Simpson will discuss their approaches to providing music for silent film, with special emphasis on accompanying previously unseen films. The musicians will demonstrate their techniques utilizing the theater’s piano and Walker theater organ.
7:30 p.m. — "The Good Bad Man" (Triangle, 1916) – Packard Campus Theater
Douglas Fairbanks stars as "Passin’ Through," a cowboy Robin Hood-type who robs from the rich and gives to orphaned children. Along the way, he seeks revenge for past evils committed upon his family by The Wolf (Sam De Grasse) and finds a sweetheart (Bessie Love). Allan Dwan directed this lively western, which was produced and written by Fairbanks and photographed by Victor Fleming in picturesque Tucson. This new restoration was produced by a three-way partnership among the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, Cinémathèque Française, and the Film Preservation Society. Film historian Rob Byrne will introduce the film and Philip Carli will provide live musical accompaniment on the Walker theater organ. The event is free and open to the public.
Saturday, July 199 a.m. - 5 p.m. — Screening unidentified films from archives around the world
Following the lunch — "History and Preservation of the Paper Prints Collection"
Presented by Alexis Ainsworth, this session will include an overview of the Library’s 100-year-old paper print collection. The discussion will include how early copyright laws led to the creation of the paper print; the complications of handling motion pictures printed on paper; and the related preservation challenges. The paper print collection is exclusive to the Library of Congress and has ensured the survival of an important part of our country’s cinematic history.
7:30 p.m. — "An Evening of Silent Comedy Shorts" (1917-1928) – State Theatre
The renowned Washington D.C.-based Snark Ensemble will perform its original and spirited scores for a program of silent comedy shorts at the historic State Theatre in downtown Culpeper. Included on the program are "There It Is" (1928), a surrealist live action, stop-motion animation "haunted house" spoof, starring Charley Bowers; "The Hansom Cabman" (1924), a hangover comedy with baby-faced Harry Langdon, Marceline Day and Andy Clyde; "Married to Order" (1920), directed by and starring Charley Chase with Oliver Hardy; and Charlie Chaplin’s "Behind the Screen" (1916). Open to the public, the admission is $6 and tickets are available at the door.
Directly following the screening there will be a closing night reception held in the State’s Black Box Theatre for registered conference attendees only.
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