AMIA@UofT March 2018 Events!

AMIA@UofT had lots going on this March!

First up was our The Poor Little Rich Girl (1917) screening on March 8th at the Media Commons. This woman-centric production was chosen to align with International Women’s Day!

Some fun facts about this movie:

  • This film is based on a play of the same name written by Eleanor Gates. Gates founded the Liberty Feature Film Company in 1915, which is said to have been the only film company owned and managed by women at the time.
  • The screenplay was written by Frances Marion, the first screenwriter to win two Academy Awards.
  • Mary Pickford, the star of this film, is from Toronto! Pickford (despite being Canadian) was known as “America’s Sweetheart” at the height of her film career. She plays an 11-year old in this film (despite having been 25 when the movie was made!)
  • Pickford would go on to co-found United Artists along with Charlie Chaplin and others. UA was an important independent film distributor that veered from traditional studio theatre. ownership

Next up was the Digitization Workshop on March 12. This free workshop was held at the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives!

This workshop was intended to:

  • help participants learn more about digitization across multiple formats (VHS, cassette, CDs, etc.)
  • give participants some useful tips and tricks for digitizing their own personal collections as well as digitizing in archival institutions

CLGA archivist Lucie Handley-Girard gave the workshop participants helpful demonstrations about digitizing: VHS, cassette, photographs and film. AMIA@UofT President Mairead Murphy shared her experiences with digitizing CDs.

Here are a few tips from the workshop:

  • Check your archival object before trying to digitize it–make sure it’s in good shape (clean, not deteriorating, etc.) so that the digitization process won’t damage the object or the player!
  • Don’t edit/alter preservation copies of digitized material! Editing may be a good idea for access copies, however.

That’s all for now!


Ceremonial Handover of the AMIA@UofT Sign


Mairead, Maria, and Jefferson receiving the sign from Lucie and Elizabeth [Credit: Rachel E. Beattie].

A week ago today we did a ceremonial handover of the AMIA@UofT sign to the new executive!

Please welcome our new president, Mairead, our new social media executive, Maria, and our new secretary, Jefferson; Rachel remains as vice president temporarily.

Thank you to Lucie and Elizabeth for all their hard work!

-Maria Sokulsky-Dolnycky, Social Media Executive AMIA@UofT


AMIA @ UofT Lends a Helping Hand at the 2017 Toronto Silent Film Festival

AMIA @ U of T President Elizabeth Carroll, along with alumni Member at Large Sean Hayes, recently volunteered on behalf of AMIA @ U of T at this year’s Toronto Silent Film Festival, which was held at various cinemas throughout Toronto, April 6-11, 2017.

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Elizabeth and Sean (and Buster Keaton) helping out at the Revue Cinema [Credit: Maureen Nolan – Silent Revue]


AMIA @ U of T President Elizabeth Carroll [2016-2017] poses in the ticket booth of the historic Fox Theatre [Credit: Sean Hayes]


The TSFF kicked off at the Royal Cinema on April 6th with the Canadian restoration premiere of Sherlock Holmes (1916), starring William Gillette as the consulting detective.


William Gillette in Sherlock Holmes (1916) (Credit: BBC)

April 7th brought the Canadian restoration premiere of When Knighthood Was In Flower (1922), also at the Royal — an epic romantic action-comedy starring Marion Davies.


When Knighthood Was In Flower (1922) (Credit: IMDB)

On Saturday April 8th, AMIA @ U of T’s own Christina Stewart was given a shout out by acclaimed silent film accompanist/historian Ben Model during Model’s Accidentally Preserved comedy shorts showcase.

Model praised Stewart’s role in the discovery of the lost silent film Secrets of the Night (1924)which was recently located among a large donation of films at the University of Toronto Media Commons Archives.


Silent film accompanist/historian Ben Model (Credit: TSFF)

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Christina Stewart speaks at the March 29, 2017 premier of Secrets of the Night (1924) (Credit: CBC)

The highlight of the Accidentally Preserved screenings was surely the recently restored Buster Keaton shorts (The Blacksmith, 1922) and Laurel and Hardy comedies (Battle of the Century, 1927).  There were also several other fun surprises pulled from Model’s personal film collection, and popular Accidentally Preserved DVD releases — including a shot in Toronto workplace safety film from the 1960’s starring a late career Buster Keaton.


Buster on the big screen! The TSFF celebrates 100 years since Buster Keaton entered the film business with a screening of the recently restored Keaton short, The Blacksmith (1922). The evening’s comedy shorts screenings took place at the Revue Cinema. [Credit: Sean Hayes]

April 9th saw a capacity crowd in attendance at the Fox Theater for the long believed lost Chicago (1927), which was located and restored in 2006.


Phillis Haver as Roxie Hart in Chicago (1927) [Credit: Wikipedia]

April 10th and 11th brought screenings of Beyond the Rocks (1922) at Kimbourne Park United Church, and L’Inhumaine (1924) at Innis College, U of T.


Beyond the Rocks (1922) (Credit: Wikipedia)


L’Inhumaine (1924) (Credit: The Red List)

The Toronto Silent Film Festival was proudly co-sponsored this year for the first by AMIA U of T.

Chapter members Rachel E. Beattie and Nathan Moles were also in attendance for many of the screenings to lend their support and enjoy the festivities.

AMIA @ U of T and the Toronto Silent Film Festival will be co-presenting the Canadian restoration premiere of Little Annie Rooney (1925), starring Toronto’s own Mary Pickford, Sunday, April 23 at the Fox Theatre, 2236 Queen Street East!


Mary Pickford in Little Annie Rooney (1925) (Credit: TSFF)


Sean at the Fox [Credit: Elizabeth Carroll]

AMIA @ U of T is very much looking forward to once again co-sponsoring and lending a helping hand at the 2018 TSFF!

See you at the movies.

Sean Hayes

AMIA @ U of T

April 12, 2017


Special thanks to festival organizers Shirley Hughes, Susan O’Hara, and Marc Wonnacott.

For more information on the TSFF visit

Visit from AMIAUR!

For the second year in a row we were delighted to host some students from AMIA chapter at the University of Rochester (AMIAUR).  It was great to see some of our friends from last year again and to meet some new people!

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Mark showing the 2 in. video player. Photo by Rachel E. Beattie

On Friday we did an exhaustive tour of the Media Commons. All the Media Commons staff, Brock Silversides, Mike Hamilton, Joan Links, Christina Stewart, myself, and Mark Pellegrino as well as TALint students Elizabeth Carroll and Aaron Campbell spoke to the group about what they do and showed off all the various aspects (both the lending and archival collections) of the Media Commons. Everyone was especially excited about the digitization room and the tour Mark gave us of the history of magnetic media through the Media Commons’ playback machines.

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Mike showing off a film inspection unit. Photo by Elizabeth Carroll

We had a quick stop to admire the atrium at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library and then we went to Innis Library and Kate Johnson (their librarian) gave us a tour of the space and then spoke to the group about what she does and how the library works. She also gave out some excellent advice on networking and getting a job after graduation.

We capped Friday off with a pub night where some of our friends from AMIA at Ryerson joined us!

pub night

On Saturday TIFF was very generous to open their doors to us. Jessica Lam, a coordinator in the Adult Learning department, gave us a tour of the Lightbox and then we went to the Film Reference Library where Librarian Rachel Beattie gave us a tour that concluded with some wonderful items from the Special Collections.

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Jessica Lam explains the design of the Lightbox. Photo by Elizabeth Carroll

We followed the tours with a screening of a digital restoration of early film pioneer Lois Weber’s “The Dumb Girl of Portici”.

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Overall it was a wonderful weekend of film and great times with old and new friends from Rochester!

by Rachel E. Beattie, vice-president AMIA@UofT

Choose Your Own Film

On March 2, AMIA at Ryerson was gracious to host a 16mm screening. This was a collaborative event, where our hosts at Ryerson University offered guests a great space for viewing film, and our student chapter brought the movies!


The view from the projection booth.

We has some great films to watch, like “Meetings Bloody Meetings” 1976 (with John Cleese!), “The Professional” 1969 (with Van Johnson!), “The Band Concert” 1935 (First Mickey Mouse cartoon in Technicolor), “Donald Duck the Mechanic” 1935, and “Streamlined Greta Green” 1937. It is important to keep the art of projection alive so that future generations can continue to watch fun shorts like we did this Thursday. Preserving film is an important step in keeping our moving image history accessible for those later on down the road.


Co-Chairs Blanche and Magnus getting the projector ready.

We hope you were able to join us this 16mm night and learned a thing or two about film preservation, and film projection.  

Elizabeth Carroll,

President of AMIA@UofT

Choose Your Own Film

AMIA Visits the CBC Archives

On November 29, 2016 AMIA@UofT with a class from Ryerson’s Film Preservation and Collections Management program had the privilege to visit the CBC archives. We were all very excited to explore the public broadcaster. Those that had not been before, were surprised at how deceptively huge the building and archives were.


We started off with some Canadian celebrity newscaster spotting…. hoping to see Peter Mansbridge, we swung by The National studio where they were doing some tests (we weren’t allowed in). We learned that Mr. Mansbridge does his voiceovers for the broadcast from his home in Stratford before coming to Toronto.


We saw the largest elevator in Canada… that trucks can back up into.


We then moved to the TV, radio, and online newsrooms. Our guide said that they were unusually quiet, the calm before the evening news, although everyone looked thoroughly engaged tapping away at their computers.


The CBC library and archives work very closely. Librarians are constantly seeking out archival content to help producers all over the country with their stories. Because of their constant digging, they have discovered content in the archives that no one knew existed, such as the ‘lost’ 1959 footage of the Soviet spy Guy Burgess, where he defends his decision to leave Britain for the USSR. Burgess was a member of the Cambridge Five spy ring that passed secrets to the Soviets before and during the Cold War. This footage lay undiscovered in the archives for more than 50 years. When it was found it caused a great hubbub, as it was only the second time Burgess had appeared on film. The footage had been archived under the other interviewee’s name, demonstrating the value of thorough archival descriptions!

img_4198The CBC library team was also being awarded a Gabriel Award for their important work on the ‘Missing & Murdered’ interactive database, that gives voice to the untold stories of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women.

We visited the VHS, betamax, CD, and tape collections. As well as the chilly film vault which had its HVAC system running at full tilt to filter out the characteristic vinegary off-gassing. All the cans are colour coded, so everyone can easily assess which to remove first in an emergency…the red ones of course, of which there are many!






We were then lead into the ‘brain’ of the CBC archives, which is the StorageTek digital library/archives, that houses LTO tapes. This machine is a beast and the future of digital archival storage and preservation. The system is staggeringly quick. It receives requests from the library and general users on the floors above, and within 60 seconds the request has been processed, the tape has been retrieved by a robotic arm, placed into a reader, and the correct place within the tape has been scrolled to. The data is then read and ‘restored’ to the user’s computer upstairs. Our guide did mention that depending on the size of the request the pace of the restoration process varies, but these robots move at lightening speed compared to their earthling counterparts.


We were all impressed with what we learned on the tour. I think for many of us it cemented the immense degree to which CBC engages in managing Canadian and international audio-visual heritage. We were able to get a picture of the huge number of ongoing projects the archives participates in. All of which help control the vast amount of information the organization generates, processes, and needs to archive daily. The news never sleeps, so working for an organization such as CBC would be a true immersion into the information world.

We would like to especially thank our guide and host Geoffrey Hopkinson (Director, Content Management, Special Programming and Partnerships, CBC Libraries and Archives) for the compelling peek behind the scenes.

Lucie Handley-Girard (AMIA at UofT)

Audio Visual Fundraiser

Today our student chapter ran our first fundraiser! Since we all love film, music, and television so much, we chose to have an AV sale. Our members collected many of their previously loved and cherishes movies, book, records, and memorabilia and we priced it to sell sell sell!

Previously, our chapter had paid out of pocket for any expenses, so raising funds to expand our chapter’s activities was an important priority this year.

The previous Saturday our President and Vice President spend the day collecting all the AV material and extra items we would need. They then got up extra early to set up the tables in Bissell, the home of the iSchool at the University of Toronto.

We found some really cool stuff! Something for everyone!

Many old format fans dropped by. Thank you everyone who helped out and came to add a few dollars in our pockets. Our sale was a hit, raising more than we could have hoped for. Maybe we will try another AV sale next year.

-Elizabeth, President of AMIA@UofT