The Orphan Film Symposium made possible a fantastic convergence in NYC of archivists, filmmakers, scholars and students from around the globe this past week, with equal diversity represented in the film and video program. In addition to screenings of animated shorts, educational films, silents, newsreels and government sponsored films, we were pleased to see a number of presentations pertaining to human rights issues. Along with an offering by our own Grace Lile on the work of WITNESS, some highlights included:
- Lucy Smee from the Asian Film Archive discussed political filmmaking in Singapore, and presented the banned video of Martyn See, SINGAPORE REBEL. Because of his work, See has been threatened with prosecution by the government and had his camera and footage confiscated. You can see a low quality version of SINGAPORE REBEL here.
- Filmmaker Dan Drasin presented his amazing film from 1961, SUNDAY, considered to be one of the first social protest films of the 1960s.
- Library of Congress Nitrate Vault Mgr. George Willemen presented a series of stills from a recently discovered lost reel from the 1926 film THE PASSAIC TEXTILE STRIKE – about the historic strike at six textile mills in Passaic, New Jersey. You can see the prologue of this film on www.archive.org by clicking here.
- Marsha Orgeron of North Carolina State University and Mark Toscano from the Academy Film Archive (along with Sam Fuller’s widow, Christa Lang Fuller) presented newly preserved film of acclaimed director Sam Fuller’s Falkenau liberation footage from 1945. You can see a segment here, which includes some of Fuller’s own commentary on the footage.
-Chad Hunter, WITNESS Media Archive