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June 2004, Week 2


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Chris Horak <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 8 Jun 2004 14:43:57 EDT
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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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This great little symposium is still taking registrations. See below:

The Fifth Annual Northeast Historic Film Summer Symposium 
Moving Image as Biography
Friday, July 30, and Saturday, July 31, 2004
The Northeast Historic Film Summer Film Symposium is a multi-disciplinary 
symposium devoted to the history, theory, and preservation of moving images. 
Entering its fifth year, the Symposium is noted for bringing together archivists, 
scholars, and artists in an intimate setting, Northeast Historic Film, located 
in Bucksport, Maine.  The Symposium takes place in Northeast Historic Film’s 
Alamo Theatre, a cinema with 35mm film projectors as well as video and DVD 
Screenings presented by Snowden Becker, Bob Brodsky, and Toni Treadway
Local Views, Developing a Larger History of American Cinema 
Charlie Silveus, owner of the 300-seat Eclipse Theatre engaged in the regular 
production and exhibition (1914–1927) of short, nonfiction films that focused 
their collective attentions on the people, places and events of his home 
town, Waynesburg, Pennsylvania.  The resulting footage provided his audience with 
(re)presentations of the local and the quotidian. While such films are 
certainly to be cherished by local historians—and Silveus’ films survive because 
they were judged worthy by the local fire department—they may at first appear 
inconsequential to the larger history of American cinema.  However, out of small 
places grow large issues.  Charlie Silveus’ films, as part of the “local view”
 genre provides contemporary film scholars with a powerful, if often 
frustrating, object of study that raises questions about, and blurs distinction 
between, production and consumption, local and mass, history and memory. Aronson 
will launch from a talk he gave at Orphans 2004 to provoke an exploration of 
community biography, conceptualizing strategies for scholars, archives, and 
communities who are blessed with these artifacts to jointly undertake historical 
Michael Aronson is an Assistant Professor of Film and Media Studies at the 
University of Oregon. His research and writing focuses on exhibition and 
reception practices in the silent era.  He likes Maine, a lot.
The Trouble with Merle
Merle Oberon, the Hollywood film star of the 1930s and 40s, claimed she was 
born in the tiny Australian island state of Tasmania – sometimes described as 
the full stop on the Australian map.  However, there were conflicting accounts 
of her birthplace, and after her death it was suggested that she was born in 
India. My recent documentary film The Trouble with Merle (2002) explores 
notions of celebrity, memory, identity, race and class and considers why Merle Oberon
’s origins continue to matter so much to people in Tasmania. Presenting key 
extracts from the film I will discuss my approach to visualising and 
structuring the research underpinning it. How can interviews, dramatisations, archival 
and faux archival contribute to the documentary’s biography of the star? To 
what degree did Oberon’s films such as The Private Life of Henry VIII and their 
surrounding publicity and discourses, present an “official” biography of 
Oberon and also contribute “evidence” of an alternative Tasmanian provenance? 
Maree Delofski is a filmmaker and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Media 
at Macquarie University in Sydney where she convenes the Screen Production 
strand.  Her film productions include The Trouble with Merle (2002) winner of the 
NSW Premier’s History Award and short listed for the NSW Premier’s Literary 
Award; the award winning documentaries A Calcutta Christmas (1999) and 
Philippines My Philippines (1989) and the short drama Every Little Breeze (1993).  
Maree has taught at the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) 
where she established the Documentary Department and was the first Head of 
Documentary. She is currently Research Associate at the Centre for Screen Studies 
Research at AFTRS.
Entertaining White America: Biographical Images of Sammy Davis Jr., in Print
and on Film
My presentation will analyze aspects of the biography of Sammy Davis Jr., by 
focusing on written and video representations of his image as a performer from 
the civil rights period of the 1950s and 1960s to his posthumous image today. 
  The many commentaries about his life and career have reflected a changing 
understanding of race and its relationship to mass-mediated entertainment in 
the second half of the twentieth century.  In particular, I will closely examine 
his membership in the Rat Pack in terms of how it has shaped biographical 
images of Davis. By looking at the assumptions of writers and filmmakers in 
depicting the role(s) of Sammy Davis Jr., as he performed for white Americans, this 
presentation will attempt to assess the significance of the long career of 
"Mr. Entertainment" over time.   
Robert Goff was born and raised in Liverpool, England.  I have a B.A. in 
English from the University of Essex and a M.A. in American Culture at the 
University of London.  I came to the United States to study for a Ph.D. in the 
American Culture program at Bowling Green State University, Ohio, and to teach in 
their Department of Popular Culture.  I later taught American Studies and 
popular culture courses at the University of East Michigan, in Ypsilanti, and at the 
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.  I now live in Providence and 
teach in the Continuing Education programs at the University of 
Massachusetts-Boston and at Providence College.    I am currently researching the career of 
Sammy Davis, Jr., in terms of his influence on American culture.
Displaced Images: Jonas Mekas’ Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania (1971)
The films of Jonas Mekas mix “home movie” footage with an eclectic editing 
style and personal narration. Focusing on Reminiscences, this paper will 
discuss the nodal points between home movies, avant-garde, and autobiography, which 
constitute all his diary films. Reminiscences is particularly interesting, 
because it documents Mekas’ first journey in twenty-five years to his original 
homeland and therefore becomes a meditation on the filmmaker’s identity as a 
former displaced person and as an international artist. His search back in time 
and through time is a search for past identities, for a way to reconcile his 
life as a displaced person in exile with his present day life as an American 
filmmaker. In that sense, the political and the personal are constantly 
intersecting in his films, political realities being displaced on to the personal and 
vice versa.
Jan-Christopher Horak, Curator, Hollywood Entertainment Museum. Previously, 
Archives, Universal Studios; Munich Filmmuseum; Eastman House; Adjunct 
Professor, UCLA, University of Rochester; Munich Film Academy; University of Salzburg. 
PhD. University of Muenster, Germany. M.S. Film, Boston University.  
Publications: Making Images Move: Photographers and Avant-Garde Cinema (1997), Berge, 
Licht und Traum. Dr. Arnold Fanck und der deutsche Bergfilm (1997), Lovers of 
Cinema. (1995), The Dream Merchants (1989), Anti Nazi Filme der 
deutschsprachigen Emigration von Hollywood (1984), Fluchtpunkt Hollywood (1986), Helmar 
Lerski - Lichtbildner (1982), Film und Foto der zwanziger Jahre (1979). Ca. 200 
articles in English, German, French, Italian, Japanese, Dutch, Spanish, Czech, 
Swedish, Hebrew publications.
Dispelling American Cultural Stereotypes with the Personal: El Paso Vietnam
Filmmaker Adele Ray presents her personal short documentary, El Paso Vietnam. 
 Adele’s story tells how, a Vietnamese language teacher, Mary Chi (Adele’s 
mother), meets Tom (Adele’s father), a U.S. serviceman, in El Paso, Texas, 
during the Vietnam War before he leaves for Saigon, Vietnam, which is Mary Chi’s 
hometown.  This ten-minute 16mm black and white short film uses family photos, 
the voices of her parents, and images of the Vietnam War to express a new 
perspective never scene in American media.  A new perspective of a 
non-stereotypical Asian woman, who takes control of her own life, refusing to adopt the role 
we assume in America of the passive Asian “war bride” is compellingly told. A 
discussion will follow the screening with Ms. Ray about the making of El Paso 
Vietnam as well as a talk on how we can use family histories to re-shape 
societal views of diverse people.
Adele Ray is a 27-year old emerging filmmaker residing in Jersey City, NJ. 
She teaches a course called Digital Moviemaking at Eugene Lang College and New 
Information Technologies at NYU (SCPS) in Greenwich Village, Manhattan. She 
occasionally works as a film technician at the New School film department. 
Recently, Adele worked as a film researcher for Re: Search, a film research and 
rights clearance company in Soho.  Adele received her MA in Media Studies from the 
New School, in 2002, where she made El Paso Vietnam, which has been screening 
at various venues in the U.S. and abroad.
Moving Images, New Media and Autobiography
New Media, in the form of the personal website, has already prompted a 
significant change in the autobiographical form and the reception of home mode 
imagery.  Unlike in the age of home movies or home video, where a family or a group 
of friends would gather in a living room and have a movie night where they 
would communally watch their own home movies, because of 
the Internet audiences are no longer limited temporally or geographically.  
The images are available for viewing any time and anywhere. Moreover, the 
movies are no longer seen apart from other styles of personal documentation, but 
are rather just one of several types of media available.  This 
presentation will give an overview of the type of amateur moving images 
currently available on personal websites and examine some case studies to see how 
amateur moving images are being woven into larger autobiographical statements.
Dwight Swanson lives in Milwaukee, where he works for the Milwaukee Public 
Libraries and is involved in the creation of the Midwest Media Archives 
Alliance.  Previously he was an archivist at Northeast Historic Film and the Alaska 
Moving Image Preservation Association, and he is a co-founder of Home Movie Day. 
 His primary interests are home movies and amateur film, and current research 
includes the history of American itinerant filmmaking and the 
autobiographical form in the mass media era.
Will the Real Mrs. Rowe Please Stand Up
Amateur travel films often were exhibited to family, friends and community 
organizations with a "live" lecture by the traveler/filmmaker.  Most often the 
notes or script for these live narrations have not survived.  However, in some 
cases, personal journals or unpublished manuscripts accompany these film 
collections. Can these documents be used to recreate a live film showing?
In 1956, John and Mariella Rowe embarked on a car rally adventure from Geneva 
to Bombay; John Rowe filmed and Mariella Rowe wrote a charming journal.  Mr. 
Rowe's notes used for presenting the film no longer exist.  Using excerpts 
from the journal, I, as Mrs. Rowe, will narrate sequences in the film. The 
character of Mrs. Rowe is interpreted through the lens of my experience as a girl 
growing up in the fifties with a mother of similar age to Mrs. Rowe.  This 
presentation is also a personal journey, as well as an exploration, of the 
possibilities and limitations of creating a persona and a live presentation.  
Pamela Wintle, In 1981, Pamela Wintle founded the Human Studies Film 
Archives, Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian 
Institution, and has continued to guide this collection of cultural moving 
images from around the world.  Ms. Wintle is also a founding board member of 
Northeast Historic Film and an active participant in the Association of Moving 
Image Archivists.  Currently, Ms. Wintle is serving a five-year term as AMIA's 
alternate representative on the Library of Congress' National Film Preservation 
Board.  Ms. Wintle graduated over 30 years ago in theater from Ithaca College.
Summer Film Symposium at Northeast Historic Film
The Moving Image as Biography
July 30 and July 31, 2004
Please register by July 12
$50 for two days; includes coffee breaks and lunches. 
Shore Dinner information to come.
Name __________________________   Address ________________________

City ___________________________    State __________ Zip _____________
Phone _________________________    Email __________________________
Please charge my   q M/C   q Visa    Account # _________________________
Exp. Date _____________        Signature ______________________________  
Mail form & check to Northeast Historic Film, PO Box 900, Bucksport, Maine 
Or fax to 207 469-7875

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