AMIA 2016 Conference

This past week our President Elizabeth and Vice President Rachel went off to attend the annual Association of Moving Image Archivists conference. Held at the Omni William Penn Hotel in downtown Pittsburgh, moving image archivists from across the globe came to discuss new trends, ideas, and reviewed the basics.

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To kick the conference off, Elizabeth and Rachel attended a community workshop. Here, they helped the local dance group Attack Theater arrange, describe, and assess their VHS collection. mold

The student chapter at Ryerson had driven down as well! Toronto Canada represent!15039512_10157690660775640_6399256811204447003_o

Though conference was a great place to learn more about the field of archives, there was also much to do socially, like participate in Trivia Night! AMIA@UofT and Ryerson joined forces with a few friends and won best team name, the Splice Girls.14991096_10157690661490640_4371239645091468271_o

Our VP took part in two panels, hosting the “AV Archiving and Preservation Education in the Americas” and represented the University of Toronto in the “AMIA Student Chapter Round Table”. Speaking to other students was great as ideas on fundraising, and growing the chapters were discussed.

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This years conference was an amazing one. Our chapter was able to participate in panels, workshops, and all the fun social things. We met other students, professionals, and discussed the future of moving image archives. We hope to see you next year.

-Elizabeth, President of AMIA@UofT

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AMIA@UofT Visits Nitrate Picture Show

Although I’m posting this nearly a month after our visit, I thought it would be nice to share some of the photos that were taken by Sean and I during our visit. The AMIA chapter at the Selznick School in Rochester, New York returned the favour to the University of Toronto AMIA chapter by hosting us for the 2nd annual Nitrate Picture Show. Archivists and film enthusiasts alike joined together at the event to appreciate the conservation, preservation and presentation of nitrate films. The importance of this format was demonstrated through a number of lectures and screenings, giving attendees the rare opportunity to appreciate the processes that are behind nitrate film preservation.

The organizers of the festival exceeded all expectations by providing a comprehensive experience through the curation of films and by creating an amazing atmosphere to appreciate the world of film preservation. Audiences were treated to nitrate films that encompassed a wide variety of genres such as as: short films, film noir, animation, opera and silent films. The beauty of Rochester itself only added to the experience as we were all thoroughly impressed by the architecture and design of the city just across Lake Ontario. In between screenings, audience members were provided with numerous opportunities to engage in tours or mingling events. Most importantly, the experience granted both AMIA chapters the opportunity to share knowledge and create new friendships across the border. Evidently, there were people from all over who travelled to participate in the rare experience of seeing nitrate film in action as there are not many facilities in the world that would be able to match the level of expertise and dedication shown by the students and staff behind the Nitrate Picture Show.

It is apparent that the festival is gaining much popularity and traction in the archival and film community and it will be interesting to see what exciting things they achieve in the coming years. And here’s to many more interactions with the folks at Rochester!

-Aaron

AMIA@UofT & TSFF Present a Discussion Panel on “Lost and Found” Silent Films

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Vintage still from The Romance of the Far Fur Country, Hudson’s Bay Company Archives, (http://www.windsorstar.com/cms/binary/6038317.jpg)

On Tuesday, April 12, 2016 AMIA@UofT hosted a discussion panel as part of the closing night festivities of the Toronto Silent Film Festival (TSFF). The collaboratively organized event involved five participants: AMIA@UofT President Asen Ivanov, AMIA@UofT Vice President Nathan Moles, silent film blogger Chris Edwards, film archivist Julie Lofthouse, and silent film accompanist Bill O’Meara. It was held at the Regal Beagle pub on Bloor Street West following a screening of TSFF’s last film of the festival, Romance of the Far Fur Country (1920), at Innis Town Hall.

In keeping with this year’s festival theme of “Lost and Found”, the panel was organized around the question: What can we learn from the history of lost (and found) silent films? It began with moderate Nathan Moles providing an overview of the theme and outlining some of the ways in which we have learned from the history of lost film. From here the panelists discussed their personal experiences with found or re-discovered silent films, distinctions between found and restored films, and the distinctiveness of silent cinema as an art form. The most significant insights of the evening however, came from discussion around the unique role that lost and re-discovered films play in the construction of film history. The panelists all agreed that our experiences with these films provide us with a window into the unique way that viewers engage with silent cinema as an interpretative dialogue with cultural artifacts from the past. Live musical accompaniment was seen as a core element of this process and recognized one of the cornerstones of TSFF.

The panel was an overwhelming success. Roughly 20 people were in attendance for beers, fun, lively discussion, and penetrating insights into the history and aesthetics of silent cinema. AMIA@UofT would like to thank Shirley Hughes and the rest of the TSFF board of directors, the panelists who volunteered their time and contributed their expertise, the audience, and the Regal Beagle. We are looking forward to future collaborations with TSFF in the future, and already brainstorming possible events for next year.

-Nathan Moles (AMIA@UofT Member)

Our new logo!

:If you’ve been to our facebook or twitter pages you’ll know that we now have a wonderful new logo!  A great big huge thanks goes out to Windsor, ON based Graphic  Designer/Photographer Ashley Mailloux for the design. We’re pretty excited about it! Here it is: amia_logo_2

Archival Screening Night – March 3

AMIA@UofT is once again presenting an archival themed film night!

Each year we present an educational screening of a film that uses moving image archival footage in an innovative way. This year we present No directed by Pablo Larraín on Thursday, March 3, 2016. Doors are at 6, and the movie starts at 6:30 in Media Commons Screening Room 1. There will be an introduction by Rachel E. Beattie, Assistant Media Archivist, Media Commons Media Archive.

No tells the story of advertising men and women in Chile who work on the No campaign in an historic plebiscite held in 1988 to determine whether Augusto Pinochet would remain in power. The film seamlessly alternates between archival footage and footage shot for the film and brings up a variety of fascinating issues about the reuse of archival footage in fiction film.

Hope to see you there!no screening

Visit from the Selznick School AMIA Student Chapter!

This past weekend AMIA@UofT played host to some students from the AMIA Student Chapter of the Selznick School in Rochester, NY. We all had a great time meeting our very close neighbours! It was such a treat to show like-minded moving image preservation nerds around our beloved city – and to see how enthusiastic they were about it.

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Photo courtesy of Rachel E. Beattie

We had several tours for the students.  We took them to the Film Reference Library to learn about their library and special collections relating to film.  Then we went to the Media Commons Media Archive where they looked at some of the collections and playback machines.

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Photo courtesy of Claire Muggia

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Photo courtesy of Rachel E. Beattie

 

On Saturday evening a group went to 8Fest the local festival of 8 mm film!  Everyone enjoyed the program and the projectors!

 

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Photo courtesy of Claire Muggia

 

We also had lots of time to show off some of the awesome non-film things our city has to offer! The Selznickers were excited to discover some of the many restaurants and pubs in Toronto. On Saturday night we got a bunch of our members (both from UofT and Ryerson) together to meet the Selznickers in a relaxed pub night and there was karaoke too!

 

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Photo courtesy of Rachel E. Beattie

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Photo courtesy of Sean Hayes

 

All in all it was an incredible, fun-packed weekend! We all made lots of new friends and learned about the Selznick program.  We’re looking forward to returning the favour and planning a trip to Rochester to visit our new friends.

 

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Photo courtesy of Claire Muggia

Thanks for Claire Muggia, Sean Hayes, Aaron Gideon for the photos!  You can see more photos from the visit at our facebook album here:  https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1725119207703911.1073741830.1674686132747219&type=3

AMIA 2015 Conference in Portland, Oregon

AMIA Conference write up for AMIA@UofT

This year’s AMIA conference was in lovely Portland Oregon and our secretary Rachel attended. Here is her report:

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As always the conference was full of informative and interesting panels. It all started with an opening plenary celebrating the 25 anniversary of AMIA.  Speakers looked back on the history and to the future of the assocation. Then there were the panels. Standouts that I went to include a very complex talk on automated metadata extraction by Pam Fisher from BAFTA research; the Access stream’s lightning round talks where each participant was given 5 minute to talk (I really wanted to hear a full length version of all of the talks they were all so interesting); a slightly light-hearted presentation on Kim Jung-Il and the film archive he set up in North Korea by fellow Canadian Justin McKinney; another great talk by Jimi Jones focused on authenticity in relation to fan edits of Star Wars to recreate the original 1977 release which creator George Lucas has disavowed. But possibly my favourite presentation was one by Jean Gagnon and Monika Gagnon about Graeme Ferguson’s multi-screen Polar Life film shot for Expo 67.  The closing day included the annual general business meeting which this year was quite lively with some serious discussion about the affordability of the conference and ways to bring a wider, more diverse group of archivists to the conference.

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Jimi Jones’s presentation on fan edits of Star Wars

But AMIA isn’t just about the panels. There are always really fun things to do in the evenings. I participated in the annual trivia throwdown. My team – which included President of the Amsterdam student chapter Marina Butt and fellow Torontonian Jason Cheong from the Film Reference Lbirary – was called Bye Bye Beta and whilst we didn’t win anything, we had a lot of fun.

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Our trivia team: Bye Bye Beta!

Another favourite event is the Archival Screening Night.  This took place at the nearby Northwest Film Centre.  The program was a really diverse collection of clips. It included some old-school ads from the Daniel Stern collection; skits from In the Life – an LGBT variety show from the ‘90s; Gus van Sant’s early attempt at a 16 mm film cat video; Library and Archive Canada’s presentation of a news reel of the 1919 World Series which was part of the huge find of films in Dawson City;  a debate from Firing Line on whether women should serve in the military; some very important footage of a protest against police brutality from the Xfer Collection; some amusing – if a little creepy- early stop-motion animation from Oregon; and so much more. One standout out – from the Special Collections Research Centre, Temple University Libraries – was footage of the standoff between Philadelphia police and members of MOVE. After last year’s AMIA@UofT/ACA screening of the documentary Let the Fire Burn which is about the same incident it was fascinating to see footage that was not in the documentary.

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Community Archives Workshop – at the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art 

I also participated in the Community Archives Workshop (which full-disclosure I help organize). It is an initiative that brings volunteers from the conference together with volunteers from a community organization that needs help with an audiovisual collection to help them process some collections. This year’s workshop was held at the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art (PICA).  We helped process collections from PICA as well as the work of video artist Vanessa Renwick.

All in all AMIA 2015 was a great conference!

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At the closing night reception. We speculated that cooking grill cheese sandwiches with an iron was an homage to the 1993 film Benny and Joon.      Photos and text by Rachel E. Beattie

I tweeted the conference for the Media Commons – you can see those tweets here:

https://storify.com/rebeattie/tweets-from-amia-2015