A message from
Martin Scorsese, President
The Orphan Film Symposium has become an important gathering
place for people engaged in the preservation, study and use
of motion pictures. The recognition that the world's archives
need to protect "orphan films" has become one of the
most challenging aspects of film preservation. How can orphan
films be saved, screened, studied and creatively used? The beauty
of the orphan metaphor is that it embraces a wide array of neglected
genres: newsreels, outtakes, home movies, kinescopes, trailers,
silent film, stock footage, industrials, the avant garde, independent
documentary and many other types of ephemeral film. All of these
are part of our social and cinematic history.
These unique symposia bring together an eclectic mix of professionals
and enthusiasts who share a common concern but who have no other
regular meeting ground. "Orphans" assembles an international
group of archivists, scholars, curators, collectors, programmers,
and filmmakers who work with orphaned material. Rare moving
images from the past are screened alongside new films by artists
and documentarians. Participants discuss their latest research
and discoveries. As cinema enters a new digital era, the millions
of feet of film that represent our record of the 20th century
stand in need of rescue and rediscovery. The majority of this
footage consists of a diverse group of orphan films. Only the
collaboration of an equally diverse set of critical minds working
in film and video will allow us to realize the value of these
amazing images and sounds.
As president of The Film Foundation, I urge everyone with an
interest in this project to support and to participate in the
Orphan Film Symposium. This academic-archival-artistic collaboration
will help ensure the survival of our collective film heritage
and generate greater awareness of the need to preserve motion
The Film Foundation
445 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10022
from past symposia...
Orphans II was a powerful and rewarding event, which I have frequently
thought about. The balance between papers and screenings, between
archivists and filmmakers, between working professionals and scholars
was unique. Many of us gained this special sense that your conference
has spawned a movement. Certainly your conference (or as a fellow
orphanista let me say our conference) has resulted in
some intellectual breakthroughs for me.
Indeed, orphanistas should see Columbia, SC as only the starting point
for the process of bringing a film to public attention. Adopting an
orphaned film involves something different than just teaching it,
or writing about it. Orphaned films are also more quirky, apparently
marginal. One needs to love them, give them the benefit of the doubt
in order to discover their potential worth. One can't simply trust
the archives. One has to make an intervention on several different
levels. In different ways this is what the participants at Orphans
II did. It turned many of us into activists.
Orphans I and II have been very special events and there has been
a progression. I look forward to Orphans III.
Charles Musser, co-chair, Film Studies Dept.
the rubric "Orphan Films," you have brought together an
extremely wide spectrum of interested people: collectors, scholars,
movie buffs, exhibitors, archivists, restorers, curators, and academics.
You have created the setting in which these participants can share
their interests, and define a new field. I have a sense that this
field will shortly be as dynamic and influential as the field of early
cinema study has been over the last 15 years, reaching across to other
disciplines, far afield.
The concerns of the Orphans group will help to stave off further loss
of films. Their evident enthusiasm for cinema which has "fallen
between the cracks" helps to bring this cinema to our attention,
and to safeguard its future. The first masters students will arrive
at NYU in Fall 2002 to study Moving Image Archiving and Preservation.
The efforts of these students in learning to look after the moving
image heritage falls directly into the orbit of the interests of the
"Orphan Films" conference. They will benefit enormously
from the knowledge, know-how, and contacts this new field is generating,
and come to rely on them.
Antonia Lant, Assoc. Professor of Cinema Studies
New York University
a brilliant and lively group of film professionals to consort with.
In such fine company I was able to exchange ideas and get terrific
and generous feedback. Orphans gave me the opportunity to have the
first public screening of a feature I had been working on for three
years. This was a marvelous help to me in the films completion, something
I will always be grateful for. The date for the next Orphans sounds
great to me, for as you can see, I'm eager to come back.
Alfred Leslie, filmmaker/painter
New York, NY
unpacking, but had to stop to tell you what a wonderful time I had
at Orphans II. Finally, a symposium that's fun and educational. Now
how many academic weekends can you say that about? I've only been
to one other that allowed for an exchange of ideas, and that was Chon
Noriega's Latin American film symposium. But that was a one-shot.
Yours is an annual!
Charles Ramírez Berg, Distinguished Teaching Professor
University of Texas at Austin
the chance to congratulate you on the conference. It was remarkably
successful on all counts. The screenings were terrific (especially
the restored Killer of Sheep), the papers almost all interesting and
connected to the larger focus of the gathering, the social events
(and live music) entirely enjoyable. Most of all I appreciate the
opportunity that you gave me to spend some time with and be both entertained
and re-educated by an international group of archivists, collectors,
filmmakers, and other film historians.
There seems to be no question but that an Orphans III is called for!
Gregory A. Waller, Chair, Dept. of English,
University of Kentucky
a lot and met some wonderful people.
Charles Burnett, filmmaker, Academy Foundation Visiting Artist
Los Angeles, CA
to you and your orphanistas for a fantastic/inspiring/super-organized/sense-of-humor
symposium. I felt right at home in the hyper-interdisciplinary forum.
Looking forward to the next one!
Kimberly O'Quinn, New York University & Museum of Television
absolutely a wonderful event, and I was really happy to be included.
And I liked talking to the students! They were great.
Karen Shopsowitz, filmmaker (Peabody Award winner, My Fathers
National Film Board of Canada
a great time and learned a lot, too. I am so impressed with your ability
to create a symposium like this -- it had such a wonderful vibe and
that seems to have everything to do with the tone you set. Thanks
again for such an exciting and interesting few days.
Barbara Selznick, Asst. Professor of Media Arts
University of Arizona
tell you what a wealth of material your recent Orphans of the Storm
film conference has provided me. My story in the L.A. Weekly should
attest to my enthusiasm for your project, both on political principle
and as a film lover in general. But just the wealth of material presented
there, I personally found overwhelming.
In addition to surveys of the conference itself, which along with
the L.A. Weekly, I came close to placing in both the International
Cinematographers Guild Magazine and on-line at Salon.com, I am currently
developing a feature article on California's Amateur Film Clubs for
the L.A. Times Magazine, a shorter piece on KTLA's post-war, pre-network
programming (currently archived by one of your participants) for Los
Angeles Magazine, and potential articles in the future on Alfred Leslie's
found-film collage The Cedar Bar and Gregoria Rocha's discovery
of 26 reels of Pancho Villa films. And this doesn't even take into
account that I was able to spend time with Jonathan Rosenbaum, Alfred
Leslie, Charles Burnett and Rick Prelinger, all of whom are important
figures in the culture at large as well as my private intellectual
and artistic pantheon.
Orphans is an important and unique civic undertaking, highlighting
both a cause and a body of knowledge that are tragically underrepresented
in the modern media. You'll forgive me if, at the same time that I
wish you all possible success in your endeavor, I hope that it remains
a valued secret among we chosen few for just a little while longer.
Please count me in for Orphans III.
Paul Cullum, L.A. Weekly Magazine
had tell you what a fantastic job you did for "Orphans II."
I can't imagine any gathering of academics and archivists that could
be as interesting, or as fun, as this was.
Talking with Jonathan Rosenbaum, discussing "guilty pleasure"
films, then being blown away by The House is Black.
Reveling in David Pierce's superb copyright presentation.
Marveling at a symposium that can embrace the likes of The
House is Black and Charles Musser's tear-inducing footage of Paul
Robeson -- as well as "How to Give an Enema."
Hearing Delphine Seyrig anecdotes (she was in Pull My
Daisy) from the irrepressible Alfred Leslie.
Remembering with Charles Burnett the awkward moment when
he was pinned down on-camera on TCM, squirming with discomfort as
he was expected to give a constructive perspective on the Brownlow/Gill
restoration of The Birth of a Nation.
Gregorio Rocha's saga of "the lost reels of Pancho Villa."
was organized to a thematic "t", and the speakers were first-rate.
What's important is that love of the material come through in gatherings
like this, and it did here -- in spades. To ORPHANS III!
Lee Tsiantis, Turner Broadcasting Systems, Inc.
conference. We felt like we came back from Pordenone -- we were that
tired and enthusiastic! Your conference is surely a model to follow!
Mary Desjardins, Professor of Film Studies,
to thank you again for a perfectly organized symposium -- as well
as the way you handle the inter-symposium lull. I certainly want to
come back for numero tres.
Nico de Klerk, Curator
for showing us a good time in beautiful Columbia. Rochester pales
in comparison. Orphans was great. I'm definitely there next year.
L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation, George Eastman House
a great conference. I'm so impressed by what you've been able to accomplish
so quickly at South Carolina. What an extraordinary, innovative, truly
happening endeavor. It also meant a lot to me personally to be involved.
Your event inspired and reminded me how important it is to keep my
feet planted in my research. It was so rewarding to spend time with
folks who aren't disinterested in media history, especially aspects
of that history not already understood to be a canon.
(And the BBQ was fabulous!)
Mark J. Williams, chair, Film Studies Department,
you for a fabulous symposium. I came home to what felt like a continuation
of it - what with Nico de Klerk doing more screenings here. In fact,
I will see him again tomorrow for a short tour of Chicago before he
leaves. I would never have met him had I not become an Orphanista.
Carolyn Faber, archivist/acquisitions
WPA Film Library
again for a great conference. To me, coming to Orphans, has always
been a priority. I really liked Orphans 2 a lot, and I definitely
do plan to be there again.
William O'Farrell, Chief of Moving Image and Audio Conservation
National Archives of Canada
post-symposium cheer to you. Congratulations. It was a success.
Melinda Stone, Media Artist in Residence
University of San Francisco
you for an exceptional conference. Dana White and I were EXTREMELY
impressed with the quality, variety and integrity of the event, the
individual papers, the screenings, you name it. You arranged it all
perfectly, and you were an incredibly generous (and relaxed!!) host.
We already have our paper for next year planned out. If you'll have
Matthew Bernstein, Professor of Film Studies
enjoy Orphans II. My director has asked me if it is going to be an
annual or regularly scheduled event.
Carol Radovich, archivist
Rockefeller Archive Center
to thank you for a wonderful conference. I am so glad I came and
everything was very well organized. Keep me posted about future programs
to which I might contribute. My warmest congratulations.
Angela Dalle Vacche, professor of Film Studies
Georgia Tech University
on what the grapevine is saying was a fabulous conference.
Jan-Christopher Horak, Editor, The Moving Image,
Journal of the Association of Moving Image Archivists
is that small-gauge enthusiasts turned out en masse for Orphans II
in South Carolina and that it was an inspiring conference. Congratulations
to Dan Streible and his team.
Karan Sheldon, Chair, Small Gauge Film Preservation Task Force
Northeast Historic Film
on what I hear was another wonderful conference! This is has become
an extremely valuable forum for the field. Thank you.
Pam Wintle, Human Studies Film Archive
Smithsonian Institution (and National Film Preservation Board member)
sounds like a big success. I'm particularly glad to hear that it went
well for Charles Burnett; he really deserves it! I've also heard great
things about the rest of the conference from others, so it sounds
like you did a great job with it.
Ross Lipman, Film Preservationist
UCLA Film and Television Archive
wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed Orphans II. It was incredibly
informative, inspirational and fun! Just what I needed at the end
of my first year on the job. Congratulations on another wonderful
conference, and Im already looking forward to the next one.
Jacqueline Stewart, Asst. Professor of English/Cinema Studies
University of Chicago
kudos for an absolutely fantastic conference. TRULY. It was a great
mix of archivists, academics, techies, historians and all of the above.
You are clearly held in high regard by all facets of this field -
and deservedly so.
Caroline Frick, University of Texas at Austin (and American Movie
was amazing and eye-opening. It was a great honor to attend. I learned
so much. Most importantly, the heartiest congratulations to you for
creating a sense of exploration and collegiality. Youre a fabulous
Patricia Zimmermann, Professor of Cinema, Ithaca College
wanted to congratulate you on the fantastic program you have organized
for the Orphans of the Storm symposium this year. It looks like it
is going to be a really stimulating gathering. I really wish I could
attend -- so many of the papers and screenings speak directly to the
issues I'm trying to nut out with the Albert Kahn Archive. Hope I
might be able to contribute to or attend
the next one!
Paula Amad, Professor of Film Studies, Indiana University
symposium sounds wonderful this year. I've just read the lineup. Wish
I could clone myself and be in two places at once.
Jon Gartenberg, President, Gartenberg Media Enterprises
like an orphan without Orphans II. No mere rhetoric to say Orphans
is my first choice. Your line-up looks fantastic.
Mark McElhatten, Cappa Productions, New York
wishes for a very successful Orphans II. I am delighted that AMIA
was able to help out in our modest way, and I am very sorry that circumstances
do not allow me to join the orphaneers.
Sam Kula, President, Association of Moving Image Archivists
on a successful wonderful event. I'd love to become part of the orphan
system. I immensely enjoyed the symposium
Ramona Lagos, Professor of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese
University of South Carolina
Marks of M.I.T. reported that he had an awesome time at the conference.
He was so impressed with the whole thing, with the range of topics,
with the informal and informative discussion -- everything down to
the organization of the technology, meals and door prizes! He told
me that he had a great time and would love to be a part of any future
orphan symposiums. When's Orphans 3?!
It was an impressive range of topics discussed by an impressively
intelligent and funny group of people. And the orphanistas did a terrific
job! The highlight for me of course was narrating a 1950s filmstrip
about troublemakers, playing nurse to Rick Prelinger's doctor, with
Marty as our patient. The visual pot-luck Saturday night was a total
blast, a stroke of genius.
Julie Hubbert, Asst. Professor of Music, University of South Carolina
regret not being able to attend this year's orphan film seminar, and
hope that it was a huge success. The program was, to say the least,
fascinating and eclectic.
Mark Cantor, curator/collector, Celluloid Improvisations, Los Angeles,
you for offering us this very interesting symposium.
L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation, George Eastman
thanks for your hospitality during Orphans 2 -- it was a really excellent
Charles Tepperman, National Archives of Canada
again for such a good time, and see you for III!
Henry Tolino, President
Digital Encoding Factory
hoping to bring a gifted undergrad student to Orphans III. See you
Tricia Welsch, Professor of Film Studies
week I visited the "orphanistas" at USC in Columbia, South
Carolina, all busily preparing for Orphans III, "Listening to
Orphan Films," the third iteration of their wonderful conference
that combines scholarly and non-academic presentations, screenings,
parties and creative weirdness, not to be missed.
Rick Prelinger, prelinger.com
Internet Moving Images Archive
to hear you're already planning Orphans III. I enjoyed II. Many belated
thanks for all your efforts, and those of all the others at USC!