WITNESS Media Archive staff will participate in the Orphans Film Symposium this week.

What is an orphan film?

From the Orphans website: Narrowly defined, it’s a motion picture abandoned by its owner or caretaker. More generally, the term 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 . . . ).

Taking place for the first time in New York City, this 6th incarnation of the Symposium will focus on “works of/about/by/against/under ‘the state,’ broadly conceived. Speakers will address the role of orphan films in recording, representing, constructing, and imagining the state, as well as the work of state-run AV archives worldwide.”

Included in the three day line-up will be this session listed below – focusing on human rights, and will include a presentation by WITNESS Media Archive Manager Grace Lile:

Watching Human Rights

  • Laura Kissel (USC) Representations of Human Disability in Scientific and Educational Films
  • Jason Livingston (Ithaca College) Onondagas vs. NYS (Phil Mallory Jones and the Ithaca Video Project 1972)
  • Grace Lile (Witness Media Archive) amateur video as agent for human rights
  • Mona Jimenez (NYU MIAP) chair

Stay tuned for a report from the Symposium.

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