EYE College - This is Film! Film Heritage in Practice
From February 4 to March 10, EYE and the University of Amsterdam present the second edition of This is Film! Film Heritage in Practice, a series of public lectures at EYE reflecting on a broad range of exceptional international film heritage projects.
In this series, Giovanna Fossati (Chief Curator at EYE and Professor of Film Heritage at the UvA) will talk extensively with film restorers on challenging restoration projects, with curators about exhibiting film installations and displaying cinema devices, and with film programmers on works that do not fall into the conventional standards of filmmaking and theatrical film presentation.
This is Film! is aimed at everyone who loves film and offers insight into what goes on behind the scenes of current film heritage practices. This course is part of the UvA Master of Arts programme Preservation and Presentation of the Moving Image. The lectures, however, are easily accessible without any prior knowledge of the field.
Each weekly edition features a guest speaker, a Q&A session and film screenings, some also accompanied by live music. The lectures are in English and can be followed as a series or individually.
Giovanna Fossati (Chief Curator at EYE and Professor of Film Heritage at the UvA) addresses, in the course of six lectures, a wide range of extraordinary restoration and presentation projects, spanning from pre-cinema to recent films. The genres vary from Hollywood Classics to Experimental Cinema. Topics include not only regular theatrical projections, but also film installations and alternative film presentation formats such as the recent publication Fantasia of Color in Early Cinema (Amsterdam University Press, 2015), a book that is unique for its portrayal of 200 high-resolution scans of coloured film frames from the early 1900s.
This is Film! vividly illustrates the different approaches, trends and challenges of presenting film heritage. The series draws on a wide variety of examples ranging from addressing the curatorial choices behind the EYE exhibition Close-up –A new Generation of Film and Video Artist in the Netherlands (31 January - 22 May 2016), to showcasing distribution models such as the Short Film Pool, an EYE initiative that provides digital short film programs to subscribed film theatres.
Each weekly lecture is followed by a film screening and a Q&A session featuring an expert guest speaker (Schawn Belston, Vice President and Executive Director of Film Preservation at Twentieth Century Fox, amongst others). Programmed films include the long-lost silent film classic Beyond the Rocks (1922) and the Academy award-winning musical The King and I (1956). Various compilation programs of short films are also included in the series, for example a presentation of works by Guy Sherwin, one of Britain’s most renowned experimental film artists.
Thursday, February 4 (16:00 – 18:30 h, Cinema 2)
What is Film Heritage?
This introductory lecture deals with a number of issues central to the question: “What is film heritage?” Giovanna Fossati (Chief Curator at EYE and Professor of Film Heritage at the UvA) addresses the different approaches, trends and challenges of preserving and presenting film heritage, both at EYE and internationally. Fossati draws on a number of examples including the Short Film Pool distribution system, an EYE initiative that provides subscribed film theatres with unlimited access to more than 300 digital short films. This lecture concludes with the screening of the complex restoration (carried out in 2005 by EYE) of the long-lost film Beyond the Rocks, a classic silent film starring Rudolph Valentino and Gloria Swanson.
Films: Beyond the Rocks (Sam Wood, 1922) and Short Film Pool compilation
Thursday, February 11 (15:30 – 18:30 h, Cinema 1)
Hollywood Studios: Twentieth Century Fox and the restoration of The King and I (1956)
Lecture #2 covers the film heritage practice carried out by the Hollywood studios, and in particular, the restoration and presentation work done by Twentieth Century Fox. This studio’s archive, headed in the last two decades by Schawn Belston (Vice President and Executive Director of Film Preservation), is responsible for some extremely complex restorations of widescreen film formats. Their restorations are regularly shown at film festivals and cinematheques around the world.
Filmic examples referred to in this week’s edition are Carrousel (1956) and The King and I (1956). Both films were shot on the now obsolete 55mm negative widescreen format and restored in 2004 (photochemically) and 2014 (digitally). Also referenced is The Sound of Music (1965), which was restored to its original 70mm in 2000 and, more recently, digitally re-restored for its 50th anniversary in 2015. As well as the screening of The King and I, a number of film excerpts from various projects will be presented. Giovanna Fossati (Chief Curator at EYE and Professor of Film Heritage at the UvA) will discuss these films’ restoration projects with guest speaker Schawn Belston.
Guest: Schawn Belston (Vice President and Executive Director of Film Preservation at Twentieth Century Fox)
Film: The King and I (Walter Lang, 1956)
Thursday, February 18 (16:00 – 18:30 h, Cinema 3)
Film or Performance: Guy Sherwin
Lecture #3 is dedicated to the challenges of restoring and presenting experimental films. Giovanna Fossati (Chief Curator at EYE and Professor of Film Heritage at the UvA) takes as a case study the oeuvre of Guy Sherwin (1948), one of Britain’s most renowned avant-garde film artists, whose work has been preserved and restored by EYE. In his work Sherwin often combines live performances with film projections, continuously experimenting with the fundamental elements of film: light, time and sound. This lecture gives insight into the restoration and presentation strategies when dealing with a films that do not fall into the conventional standards of filmmaking and theatrical film presentation.
Guests: Anna Abrahams (Programmer EYE on Art) and Simona Monizza (Curator Experimental Film, EYE)
Films: compilation of films by Guy Sherwin restored by EYE
Thursday, February 25 (16:00 – 18:30 h, Cinema 2)
Restoring and Presenting Early Cinema: Fantasia of Color
Lecture #4 will introduce to the audience the magnificent world of early coloured cinema (1895-1914). It explains how these early films were originally coloured and in what way they can be restored today. Furthermore, it gives insight into how recent curatorial practices have promoted the visibility of these kind of films in the last twenty years. Central to this lecture is a recent research project that has led to the publication of Fantasia of Color in Early Cinema (Amsterdam University Press, 2015), a unique book that portrays a collection of approximately 200 high resolution scans of coloured film frames. Giovanna Fossati (Chief Curator at EYE and Professor of Film Heritage at the UvA) elaborates on the creation of the book with guest speaker Elif Rongen (EYE), who was responsible for the annotated bibliography of the book and has worked with the authors on the selection of the film frames. This session features the screening of a number of spectacular early colour films with live music accompaniment.
Guest: Elif Rongen-Kaynakçi (Curator Silent Film, EYE)
Films: compilation of early colour films from the EYE Collection
Thursday, March 3 (16:00 – 18:30 h, Cinema 3)
Exposing Cinema: the exhibition Close-Up – A new Generation of Film and Video Artists in the Netherlands
Lecture #5 deals with the challenges of presenting film heritage in museum exhibitions. In this session Giovanna Fossati (Chief Curator at EYE and Professor of Film Heritage at the UvA) provides a unique insight into the curatorial choices behind the EYE exhibition Close-up. This exhibition runs from the 31st of January to the 22nd May. It features work by a young generation of film and video artists working in the Netherlands whose work is characterised by the desire to break down the barriers between film, video, visual art and new media. Their work, which is both analog and digital, includes multiple-screen spatial installations, as well as single screen pieces.
Films: compilation of short films
Guest: Claartje Opdam (Project Manager Exhibitions)
Thursday, March 10. (16:00 – 18:30 h, Cinema 3)
Exposing the Film Apparatus: from magic lanterns to smartphones
Lecture #6 is devoted to the presentation of a large variety of film apparatus, from pre-cinema devices to smartphones, from professional equipment to home movie cameras. The EYE Panorama exhibition of film apparatus is the starting point of a discussion surrounding the different forms of film exhibition practices; in theatres, museums and online. Giovanna Fossati (Chief Curator at EYE and Professor of Film Heritage at the UvA) will talk with her guest, Soeluh van den Berg (Curator Film-related Collections, EYE), about the specific requirements and possibilities within film archival practices for these kinds of extraordinary collections.
Guests: Soeluh van den Berg (Curator Film related Collections, EYE)
Films: compilation of short films