Saturday, August 31, 2013

Films from DuArt Find Their New Home

On August 16th, 194 boxes of film arrived from DuArt to the Film Archive. Most of them contain original picture and track negatives. As I mentioned in a previous post, this includes many docs, but also shorts, independent features, and student films. About a week later, I began processing the materials into the collection. So far, I've worked on:

1) Sharon Sopher's 1986 Doc Feature Nominee, WITNESS TO APARTHEID
2) Several of Robert Richter's films, including his 1982 Doc Short Nominee, GODS OF METAL, as well as ASBESTOS ALERT; BEN SPOCK, BABY DOCTOR; and FOR EXPORT ONLY: PESTICIDES AND PILLS - Mr. Richter has also placed more of his films at the Film Archive that he had held in private storage.
3) Three of James Rutenbeck's docs, LOSING GROUND, RAISE THE DEAD, and COMPANY TOWN.
4) Amy Talkington's student short films, SECOND SKIN and NUMBER ONE FAN -
5) The Doc Short Nominee CITY OUT OF WILDERNESS (1974)
6) Chris Columbus' NYU student film, I THINK I'M GONNA LIKE IT HERE. 

This is, of course, just the tip of the iceberg, and there's a long, long way to go (and before I finish with these boxes, we'll be getting another shipment from DuArt, with perhaps another 100 boxes.) But I know what I'll be doing the next 6 months or so, and will be giving periodic updates on my progress.

By the way, you might be interested to know what we do with the films when we process them into the collection. We remove them from their original cans or boxes, and make note of any significant information from these containers, including technical information, when the elements were made, etc. We separate any paper materials enclosed, such as lab notes, timing tapes and so on. These are stored separately in acid free envelopes, and a note of this is made in the database record for the item. All important bibliographic data is entered in the title record for the film, and the physical information put into the individual "item" record - film gauge, film stock information, length, type of element, and condition (scratches, dirt, warping, color fading, etc.) Of particular importance is notation of any acetate deterioration (aka "vinegar syndrome"). Thankfully, all the materials I've looked at so far have been in very good to excellent condition. The films are then wound off their cores or reels, onto "archival" cores made of inert plastic, and inspected for any other physical defects. The items are then placed into "archival" cans, and a barcode, printed out from the database record, is placed on each can. Before the cans are put into the vault, the barcode is scanned, so the location information goes into the item record (so we can find it later!)

1 comment:

  1. I'm so happy that more people these days are joining the bandwagon into preserving and restoring vintage films. I think vintage films are one of the works of art that we must salvage and preserve, in order to carry them over to the future generation because they are real treasures. :)

    Ruby Badcoe @ Williams Data Management