Film historian and film collector Tjitte de Vries (1938) dies at the age of 77

21 December 2015

Dutch research journalist, film historian, film collector and former film critic Tjitte de Vries (1938) died on 15 December this month. Together with his wife Ati Mul he looked after the Melbourne-Cooper fund deposited at EYE. In 2009 the couple co-authored ‘They Thought it was a Marvel’. Arthur Melbourne-Cooper (1874-1961). Pioneer of Puppet Animation.

Tjitte de Vries (1 January 1938) already had a distinguished career as a journalist and foreign editor for the Dutch newspaper Het Vrije Volk before he turned to film criticism, focusing on film historical research. Together with his wife Ati Mul he looked after the Melbourne-Cooper fund, a fund concerned with the legacy of the English pioneer of the stop-motion animation film and deposited at EYE. Together they wrote a biography of Arthur Melbourne-Cooper, ‘They Thought it  was a Marvel’. Arthur Melbourne-Cooper (1874-1961). Pioneer of Puppet Animation, which was published by Amsterdam University Press in 2009.

In 1991 the Friends of the Film Archive purchased part of the film collection owned by Tjitte de Vries and Ati Mul. At the time, Bernadette Klasen compiled an inventory of their vast collection, which included 83 35mm films, 449 16mm films, 293 documentaries, 216 negatives, 2,000 posters, 136 cameras and 103 projectors. Together with his wife Ati Mul, De Vries looked after the Melbourne-Cooper fund deposited at EYE. He also donated photographs and posters to the Geoffrey Donaldson Instituut. He wrote numerous articles, such as ‘Who invented the camera?’

De Vries was originally a research journalist who specialized in foreign policy. Thus from the late 1960s he was actively involved  in several South-African and anti-Apartheid groups in the Netherlands. On 21 August 1968 he was in Prague, sending in a report that began as follows: ‘Prague awaits a rude awakening. One military aircraft after the other is landing at Prague airport in the gathering dawn.’

Tjitte de Vries died at the age of 77 on 15 December. His friends at EYE will sorely miss him, his sense of humour, his passion and his enthusiasm. Our thoughts are with his wife Ati.

Last respects can be paid on Tuesday 22 December between 9.30-10.00 in funerary centre De Meidoorn on 50, Meidoornsingel in Rotterdam-Schiebroek. The funeral service will be held in the chapel of Crooswijk cemetery in Rotterdam on 22 December.