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The Orphan Film Phenomenon: archivists, academics, & artists saving, studying, & screening neglected moving images – with Dan Streible and Russell Sheaffer
This week our guests will discuss what happens when a film has been abandoned by its owner or copyright holder, or otherwise suffered from neglect. More generally, the term Orphan Film refers to all manner of films outside of the commercial mainstream: public domain materials, home movies, outtakes, unreleased films, industrial and educational movies, independent documentaries, ethnographic films, newsreels, censored material, underground works, experimental pieces, silent-era productions, stock footage, found footage, medical films, kinescopes, small- and unusual-gauge films, amateur productions, surveillance footage, test reels, government films, advertisements, sponsored films, student works, and sundry other ephemeral pieces of celluloid (or paper or glass or tape or . . . )
Dan Streible joined the NYU Cinema Studies faculty as associate professor in 2006. He teaches courses in film history, archiving, curating, and documentary, and has published research on the history of movie exhibition, early cinema, amateur filmmaking, nontheatrical film, and moving image preservation in anthologies and in journals such as Cinema Journal, Film History, and The Velvet Light Trap. His publications include the books Fight Pictures: A History of Boxing and Early Cinema (U of California Press, 2008) and Emile de Antonio: A Reader (2000, co-edited with Douglas Kellner), and he is co-editor of Learning with the Lights Off: A Reader in Educational Film (Oxford University Press, 2011). He serves as a founding member of the editorial boards of The Moving Image and The Journal of E-Media Studies. Since 1999, he has organized the biennial Orphan Film Symposium, bringing together archivists, academics and artists to save, screen and study neglected artifacts from the history of film and television. Streible was elected to the Board of Directors of the Association of Moving Image Archivists (2004-06) and appointed to the National Film Preservation Board in 2005. The Robert Flaherty Film Seminar selected him to program its annual week of documentary screenings and discussion in 2011.
Russell Sheaffer is an experimental filmmaker and Ph.D. student in the Department of Communication and Culture at Indiana University, Bloomington. He was a co-curator of Orphans: Midwest and the 7th Orphan Film Symposium and his films have screened at venues such as the MoMA, MIX NYC, UCLA, Torino GLBT Film Festival, Boston LGBT Film Festival, Queer Lisboa, and the Anthology Film Archives.
Russell’s Current Films: For Memory of Objects: