William S. O'Farrell Fellowship

The William O'Farrell Fellowship, sponsored by James Lindner, is awarded to an individual engaged in research toward a publication, production, or presentation based on moving image history and culture, particularly amateur and nontheatrical film. With this fellowship, we honor the continuing legacy of Canadian film archivist William O’Farrell, a long time advocate for amateur and nontheatrical film collections.

The fellowship is designed to support a month’s study within Northeast Historic Film’s collections. Awardees must commit a minimum of two weeks to research in residency at NHF.

To learn more about, or apply for, the 2018 William O'Farrell Fellowship, see below.



NHF is pleased to announce that Artemis Willis, a Ph. D. candidate at the University of Chicago, has been awarded the 2017 Fellowship. Willis's project explores intersections, from the early 20th century, between non-theatrical motion pictures and lantern slides in Northern New England. Audiences were edified and entertained by both lantern slides and films during this period, but scholarly attention has largely focused on the work of celebrity travel lecturers such as E. Burton Holmes, while overlooking the regional and amateur lantern practices that were prevalent through the 1950s.  Through a study of NHF’s holdings of lantern slides, including material from seven different collections, Willis is uncovering a broader range of interactions between still and moving images on the level of production, exhibition and consumption.  

Andrea Mariani, University of Udine, Italy, received the 2016 Fellowship. He conducted his research in the Alan and Natalie Kattelle Collection, focusing on the amateur film technology of the 1920s and 1930s. He presented, “The Emergence of the Amateur Film Technology. The Amateur Cinema League and The Alan Kattelle Technology Collection at the Northeast Historic Film Archive” at The Politics of Film Archival Practice in Stockholm in 2016, and will return to NHF in 2017.

The 2015 award went to Ryan Shand, PhD, Research Assistant, University of the West of Scotland. His project focuses on Counterpoint, a 1929 amateur fiction film made by Roy Lockwood. “This film was made as a student project at Oxford University, however prints of Counterpoint do not seem to exist in the United Kingdom and scholars have made no reference to it so far." Northeast Historic Film appears to hold the only extant copy of this film.

The 2014 award went to Liz Czach, Associate Professor, Dept. of English and Film Studies, University of Alberta. Czach's project is focused on sound in amateur film. Her research at NHF drew on the large collection of newsletters and magazines aimed at amateur filmmakers (e.g., Movie Makers, Bolex Reporter), the Alan Kattelle technology collection, which consists of over 800 cameras and projectors, and the Archie Stewart Collection's exceptional amateur sound films. 

The 2013 award went to Graeme Richard Spurr, a postgraduate student in Film and Television Studies at the University of Glasgow.  Spurr's research project, The "Vexed Question of Video": Charting Transatlantic Amateur Media Practice. This research is related to Mr. Spurr's ongoing PhD thesis Post-Film/Amateur Video: The Diffusion of New Media in the UK Amateur Cine Movement.   

The 2012 winner of the Fellowship was Oliver Gaycken, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the University of Maryland’s Department of English.  His project focused on the role film played in the depiction and development of forestry culture during the middle part of the twentieth century, roughly 1935-1985. 

Walter Forsberg, a Research Fellow in New York University's Moving Image Archiving and Preservation Program, was the 2011 Fellow.  His project explored the Donald C. Brown Jr. Collection of 35mm drive-in and theatrical trailers, from over a dozen cinemas in New England and West Virginia.

In 2010, the first year the Fellowship was awarded, the recipient was Caitlin McGrath, Ph.D., from the University of Chicago, who conducted research here at NHF on the 1939 New York World’s Fair. Her research used films from 15 different NHF collections.

Starting in 2017 the O'Farrell Fellowship will be permanently sponsored by James Lindner, a friend of Bill O’Farrell as well as a long-time mentor, and supporter of the archives. 


Information about the Fellowship


  • Researchers from all academic disciplines are eligible and encouraged to apply.
  • Applicants may be current graduate students, faculty, or staff at a college or university; archive professionals; film producers; or independent scholars.
  • The fellowship is open to U.S. citizens and foreign nationals with appropriate visas.
  • Proposed research must be for work intended for publication, production, or presentation with significant research in the collections of Northeast Historic Film.

Selection Criteria

The William O'Farrell Fellowship selection committee reviews the following:

  • The applicant's experience,
  • The significance and interest value of the project, and
  • The appropriateness of the proposed research to the collections of Northeast Historic Film.

Available support

  • The program provides a stipend of $1,500,
  • Staff support with access to NHF collection and related databases,
  • Use of film and videotape viewing facilities within NHF business hours,
  • Up to 8 hours of in-house staff time for access copies and/or editing services, if applicable (fees waived),
  • Permissions for educational and research purposes if there are no donor or other exceptions (fees waived), and
  • Office space including a computer with network and internet connections, telephone, and photocopier.
  • Housing is not provided, but NHF staff will assist the fellow in identifying lodging if needed. (Please note, seasonal rentals are plentiful on the Maine coast, but they can be expensive. Off-season rentals typically start at $400 - $600/week. Summer rates are higher. Short-term apartment rentals are difficult to find, but may be available for $600 - $1,200/month.)

How to Apply

A complete application consists of an application form and a current curriculum vitae (not to exceed three pages). 

Application materials should be emailed to Jennifer L. Jenkins, Chair, O'Farrell Fellowship Committee, jenkinsj@email.arizona.edu.  The complete application must be received no later than March 30, 2018.  The fellowship will be awarded on or before April 15, 2018.

Other Requirements

The fellowship may be assumed any time beginning May 2, 2018, and must be completed by October 31, 2018. The fellow is required to produce an 800 – 1,200 word journalistic article describing activities and findings for publication by NHF.

The fellow is required to conduct a minimum of two weeks research on site at NHF.

Participation in NHF’s Summer Film Symposium in 2018 and/or 2019 is expected. (The award will include, in addition to the $1,500 fellowship, complimentary symposium registration.)

About Northeast Historic Film

Northeast Historic Film, an independent nonprofit organization, was founded in 1986 to preserve and make available moving images of interest to the people of northern New England (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts). We hold ten million feet of film in 8mm, Super 8mm, 9.5mm, 16mm, 28mm, and 35mm and 8,000 analog and digital video recordings that do not duplicate the film holdings. While the collections were acquired based on their relationship to northern New England, some encompass geography and topics beyond the region due to the histories and interests of the creators. NHF finding aids may be found at www.oldfilm.org/collection/. Moving Images of Work Life, 50 collections newly described thanks to a generous grant from the Council on Library and Information Services Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives Program, are at www.oldfilm.org/collection/index.php/Browse/HiddenCollectionsList.

NHF is located in a 1916 cinema building with three floors of cold storage and a study center, where the organization hosts an annual Summer Symposium and runs a community cinema.

The William O’Farrell Fellowship was established in 2009 to honor an important individual who contributed in significant ways to the history of NHF. Bill O’Farrell (1954-2008) worked as Chief, Moving Image and Audio Conservation of the Archives of Canada. He was a valued Advisor to NHF, providing intellectual and practical support to the archives for many years.

Further information about Northeast Historic Film can be found at www.oldfilm.org.