July 15, 2000
NHF’s first Summer Film Symposium was designed for the regional moving image archives’ Board of Directors and Advisors to share current information about film preservation, study and use. NHF Directors present included the manager of the International Paper mill located in Bucksport, the president of Maine Radio and Television Company, and a University of Maine Cultural Historian.
The gathering was held in the Alamo Theatre auditorium and was moderated by Eric Schaefer, Assistant Professor in the Department of Visual and Media Arts, Emerson College. Schaefer serves on the Society for Cinema Studies executive council and the AMIA Academic-Archival Interest Group. The first presenter was Kathryn Fuller, Associate Professor of History at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her talk centered on moviegoing in rural communities. She shared research into Depression-era cinema promotions, in particular “Dish Night.”
Discussion following her presentation pointed out the fear of violence occasioned by gathered audiences. Fuller is co-editing a University of California Press book, “Beyond the Bowery: The Cinema and Mass Entertainment in Small-Town America from Its Origins through the Multiplex.”
Tricia Welsch, Associate Professor and Chair of the Film Studies Department, Bowdoin College, gave a presentation on her research into the Fox Film Co. She discussed the work of Henry King and film depiction of rural life. Welsch showed excerpts from “Tol’able David” and “The Seventh Day.” She also commented on her work in archives around the country, and delineated some of the issues of archival research and film studies.
Jim Henderson, head of the Maine State Archives and director of Maine’s Historical Records Advisory Board, and a Board member of Northeast Historic Film, gave a lecture on the state of media and archiving technologies in the region–including community broadcasting, broad-band transmission of information in Maine, and preservation funding opportunities. The discussion focused on opportunities and pitfalls of digital collections, and the current state of ITV networks in rural areas.
The last presenter of the day was Bill O’Farrell, Chief of Moving Image & Audio Conservation at the National Archives of Canada. O’Farrell showed the recently preserved 9.5 mm Pathex “Hints,” blown up to 35mm-an introductory reel for home projectionists. He also showed “Seaside Holiday,” a 1934 Crawley production made in York, Maine, and several other examples of Amateur Cinema League films. O’Farrell brought a rare artifact, the highest award given to amateur filmmakers, The Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial Award (this one awarded to Crawley in 1938).
Attendees included Alan and Natalie Kattelle from Hudson, Mass. Kattelle shared review copies of his book, “Home Movies: A History of the American Industry, 1897-1979.” Others present included film teachers Nancy Andrews from College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine, Barbara Grant of Derry, New Hampshire, and audiovisual archivist Robert Bellerose from Rhode Island.