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6,000 reels from S. Louis Public Schools, now at Art Project

AFA St. Louis shows began on a monthly basis on October October 3, 2002 and ended in 2008.  We'd like to thank Margie Newman, who launched AFA St. Louis and, with co-curator emeritus, Marc Syp, provided stellar programming to St. Louis for three years, assisted by projectionist Errol "Bud" Stanfield.  We also wish to thanks our previous hosts, Ron Buechele and Tracy Varley of Mad Art Gallery.  Ron's new non-profit venture it called ArtProject, and we have donated our St. Louis film holdings to that organization. We anticipate that St. Louis shows will begin under the auspices of ArtProject in early 2009. Special thanks to David Rowntree of Washington University for assistance in documenting the collection.

Many of our St. Louis shows are listed here chronologically, working backwards. 

_____ . _____

Thursday February 15, 2007 - Black and Proud in the 70s:  Following the civil rights revolution of the 1960s, the next generation of African-Americans reaches out to its community and the nation.

Rhythmetron: Dance Theater of Harlem
(1973) 40m, dir. Michael Fruchtman.  Arthur Mitchell, the first African-American to become a permanent member of a major ballet company, created this dance company as an outlet for black ballet talent, although all races were welcome. At first we see him demonstrating ballet techniques to young people and later, members of his company performing sections of Fete Noire, Biosfera, and Rhythmetron, which he choreographed.

Meadowlark Lemon Presents the World
(1978) 17m, dir. Rick and Ann Harper.  The famed clown prince of the Harlem Globetrotters introduces basic map reading skills in this slightly banal yet highly effective educational film. We see an interesting mix of animation styles, live action, and Lemon’s superior sphere-spinning skills.

Growing Up Black
(1974) 18m, dir. George Dibie.  Ernie Barnes, artist and former Denver Broncos football star, recounts through his paintings elements of African-American culture and the positive aspects of ghetto life. He became best known for his painting, Sugar Shack, which appeared in the credits of the television series, Good Times.

Jesse Jackson and Carolyn Shelton: Pushing for Excellence
(1978) 17m, Prod. CBS News.  News correspondents Dan Rather and Sharon Lovejoy examine the work of the Reverend Jesse Jackson and Carolyn Shelton, one of the first African-American flight attendants. Jackson travels the country and Shelton returns to the ghettos of her youth, both teaching minority young people the importance of excellence in school and life beyond. Of interest are examples of Jackson’s powerful oratory, steeped in the tradition of his mentor, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.

Thursday January 18, 2007 - Changing Landscapes: The Automobile

My First Job: Service Station Attendant
(1976) 11m, dir. Graham Parker.  The world of career possibilities opens up for teenagers considering work as service station attendants. In the waning days of the full service gas station, we see a dedicated teenager striving to give the kind of detailed customer service that is now all but extinct.

Joy Ride: An Auto Theft
(1976) 13m, dir. William Crain.  Kids will be kids and in this case, very bad kids who steal a car and end up in big trouble. This example of the kids-and-consequences genre is based upon a true story about two 13-year-old boys who get two girls to join them on a tragic car ride. The casting and dialogue in this film exemplify the Bad News Bears era of teen slackers.

Automobiles, the Great Love Affair
(1966) 54m, prod. CBS News.  News correspondent Harry Reasoner documents the enormous impact of the automobile on the economy and living patterns of Americans in the mid-1960s. This black and white news documentary is a gem of a time capsule, capturing the style and spirit of a newly mobile generation.

(1968) 11m, dir. Yvon Mallette.  This animated Canadian film presents environmental transformation, without dialogue and set to an appealing soundtrack that evolves with each era. We see automobiles play a small but powerful part in humanity’s alteration of every landscape encountered.

Thursday, November 16, 2006...   Liberty and Justice for All (at MoHist)

The Mexican-American Speaks: Heritage in Bronze (1972) 20m, dir. unknown.  Encyclopedia Britannica Films presents a sweeping survey of the rich Mexican-American culture. Explores mestizaje, the mingling of European and non-European indigenous heritages prevalent in Latin America, with historical photos, rare Mexican home movies, and a broad range of music. Tinged with the “Brown and Proud” spirit of the era, Hispanics are seen continuing the struggle for greater social equality.

Geronimo Jones (1970) 21m, dir. Bert Salzman.  In this powerful film, a Papago Native American boy searches for his identity while learning his grandfather’s traditions, exploring the world outside his reservation, and viewing history through the distorted lens of television. The director won the Academy Award for Best Short Film for another film in this groundbreaking series on ethnicity in America.

Walt Whitman’s Civil War (1972) 15m, dir. Frederic Goodich.  As Walt Whitman (played by actor Will Geer) wanders though deserted battlefields, he reflects on the deeply personal tragedy of the men who fought the Civil War. Period photographs and re-enactment footage by director D.W. Griffith illustrate his chronicles. This is one of many educational films directed by prolific and award-winning cinematographer Goodich.

Gift of the Black Folk (1978) 16m, dir. Carlton Moss.  Historical photographs, live action, and a black student orchestra are creatively combined in this look at three African-American leaders in the fight to abolish slavery. African-American director Moss is an inspiration to filmmakers for making many educational films, including one with director Frank Capra, during an era of racial discrimination in Hollywood.

People (1969) 11m, dir. Michael Ahnemann.  How are people alike? How are they different? This minimally narrated, quietly mesmerizing film creates a montage of a broad range of people. Though we see many differences, in the end we learn that people are all alike at a fundamental level.


Thursday November 2, 2006:  Vintage Drug Films (at MadArt Gallery)

On Dia de los Muertos, the Academic Film Archive of Saint Louis returns to Mad Art Gallery for a special Cine16 screening.  8pm at Mad Art Gallery, 2727 S. 12th Street Saint Louis, MO 63118, 314-771-8230  

In our ongoing survey of the Saint Louis School District film collection we present a selection of anti-drug films.  Dead television stars and other equally expert authorities present relevant information while warning that drugs can kill you, drive you insane, or at the very least, lead to a really bad bummer. 

Focus on Uppers (1972) 15m, dir. Noel Nosseck.  No, it's not about dentures.  Greg Morris, tech expert from the Mission Impossible series, explores the dangers of methamphetamine abuse.  This film is from the 'Focus on Drugs' series using a “carefully chosen narrator…one that is known and trusted by each film’s intended audience.”  Morris’s fashionably plaid pants and reel-to-reel tape deck illustrate this consideration.  The director was a writer for Adam 12 who went on to become a prolific television director.  

A Breath of Air (1967) 22m, dir. Myron Solin.  The American Cancer Society presents the rise and fall of tobacco smoking in a comprehensive look at the social, commercial, and medical aspects of cigarettes.  Armed with valuable knowledge and a Tijuana Brass soundtrack, young people choose a lifestyle that is healthier than their parents’ generation while snacking on potato chips and marshmallows.

Why Be Down When You Can Be Up? (1973) 16m, dir. Rod Buscher.  Smoking pot daily can be like going to Disneyland every day, fraught with the danger of eventual boredom.  Instead, we see that falling in love is a far better high.  Of historical interest are scenes of the people and places of Orange County, California and classic Disneyland rides now long gone. 

I’ll Be Seeing You (c. 1960s) 11m, dir. Rex Fleming.  This short film, aimed at primary school children, presents information in a manner that is hopelessly square and better suited to adults.  We learn from a doctor with a gun in his hand that taking LSD is like playing Russian roulette and we ultimately discover that the pusher can be a most unlikely fellow. 

Marijuana (1968) 34m, dir. Max Miller.  Sonny Bono, as a gold-lame´ clad expert who may have just sampled the subject, attempts to address youth’s skepticism about the anti-grass lectures of an un-hip and alcoholic older generation.  Although he agrees that marijuana is not nearly as dangerous as alcohol, he warns of social and psychic consequences such as “an unpredictable and unpleasant bummer.” 


Thursday, October 19, 2006...   Fear Factors (at MoHist)

I’m Feeling Scared
(1974) 9m, dir. unknown.  Children encounter scary everyday situations, learning that everyone has different feelings at different times and it’s okay.

Black Widow Spider (1962) 12m, dir. Ken Middleham.  In this graphic examination of the black widow spider, we are warned that her bite is more poisonous than a rattlesnake’s and that she lurks in an “untidy accumulation” nearby.

Beware of Strangers (1984) 15m, dir. Gwen Wetzler.  Fat Albert and the gang learn a safety awareness lesson that is soon tested when a creepy dude cruises the neighborhood looking for boys. Bill Cosby, appearing throughout as narrator and mentor, created and produced this classic educational television series.

Microorganisms That Cause Disease (1960) 11m, dir. unknown.  This vintage science film surveys pathogenic organisms that cause cell destruction, disease, and death. Of interest are the micrographs, the period clinical settings, and a theory being explored at the time that cancer is caused by a virus.

The Witches of Salem: The Horror and the Hope (1972) 34m, dir. Dennis Azzarella.  This sober reenactment is set during the waning days of Puritan theocracy in seventeenth century Massachusetts. Fear and suspicion during changing times cause the community of Salem to hunt and execute neighbors suspected of practicing witchcraft.

The Creeps Machine (1973) 9m, dir. Elaine Santangelo.  An experimental educational film from the University of Southern California School of Cinema explores how perception plus imagination can equal fear. The haunting sounds of the Moog synthesizer, Hal 9000-like narration, and simple yet scary images all add to its early 70s feel.

Thursday, September 21, 2006... Greeting Seasons: Autumn and Beyond

Farms in the Fall
(1976) 9m, dir. unknown.  From soybeans to turkeys, we see autumn is the time when farmers harvest and prepare the food we will eat in the coming months.

Ida Fanfanny and the Four Seasons (1980) 13m, dir. Frank Gladstone.  In this animated tale, Ida’s lives in a valley with no weather. Her life changes when a passing peddler sells her three magical pictures, with a bonus fourth thrown in.

Autumn Flight (1967) 14m, dir. George C. Stoney. Amateur birders and other interested citizens work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to capture and band birds for study during the fall migration.

Winnie the Pooh Discovers the Seasons (1981) 8m, dir. Rick Reinert and Ennis McNulty.  Christopher Robin gives a gift to Pooh that sends him and his friends on a journey through the seasons. Examples of the fluid, colorful animation that Disney pioneered can be seen throughout.

The Twelve Months (1985) 13m dir. Peter Sis.  Marushka is sent out into winter snow by her harsh stepmother in this animated Czech Cinderella-like tale. She finds warmth and support from the spirits of the twelve months, who have convened in the forest to plan the seasons.

Harvest in Japan (1966) 10m, dir. Julien Bryan.  This is one of a series of groundbreaking educational films produced by the International Film Foundation. No narration or other sound is heard except for traditional Japanese music layered over the beautifully photographed story of a Japanese family at harvest time.

Robert Frost’s New England (1975) 22m, dir. Dewitt Jones.  Award-winning cinematographer Dewitt Jones presents stunning views of the seasonal landscape that inspired the person and poems of Robert Frost.

Thursday August 17, 2006: Wheels, Wings, Water & Air: Transportation Films

Bike People
Year: 1970 Director: Phil Kassel Length: 11:00. With a wry sense of humor, this film covers the basics of bike safety and security for teens.

Fast Is Not a Ladybug: About Fast and Slow Things Year: 1959 Director: Unknown Length: 10:00.  This film adapts a children's book on the concepts of fast and slow.   In ten minutes, you'll learn that a plane is faster than you, you are faster than a snail and a ladybug...well, the title gives that one away!

Trader Vic's Used Cars Year: 1975 Director: Charles Braverman Length: 10:00. Fascinating short study of a California used car salesman and his  customers. Explores the psychology of salesmanship techniques.

The Teddy Bear's Balloon Trip Year: 1971 Director: Unknown Length: 13:30 .  An animated film about a little German girl who sends her teddy bear  up and away in a ballon-carried basket to deliver a gift to Chinese children. Quirky animation depicts the long, strange trip.

Flatboatmen of the Frontier Year: 1941 Director: Unknown Length: 11:00.  This old documentary chronicles a recreation of the construction and  use of a flatboat, the form of transportation used from 1790-1820 by farmers  in the Ohio River Valley to take goods to market in New Orleans.

Transportation by Freight Trains Year: 1968 Director: Art Evans Length: 10:00.  A summary of the particulars of freight railroad activity covers the  types of cars, how tracks and yards are run and the types of jobs on the  railroad. The film indicates that even since the 1960s the railroad has lost some prominence in American transportation.

The Oregon Trail Year: 1961 Director: Unknown Length: 25:00.  This film shows a re-enactment of a Missouri family's travel  westward.  The
overarching Manifest Destiny theme seems dated by today's standards,  and the actors often talk like they live in 1961 instead of 1839.

Saturday, August 5, 2006:  Cine 16 Show and Tell for children at the Missouri History Museum

Introduce your children to the wonder of 16mm film! From 2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. drop in for a hands-on workshop with projectionist Bud Stanfield, where you can learn about projectors, lenses and how movies were shown in the days before VHS and DVD. At 2:30 p.m., watch the classic 1956 French film, 'The Red Balloon.'

2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.: Workshop
2:30 p.m.: Film
Southwestern Bell Multipurpose Education Center

Thursday, July 20, 2006: Discover, Alter, Create

Lumiere's First Picture Show Year: 1972 (Films c. 1890-1896) Directors: Auguste and Louis Lumiere Length: 14:00

Genetics: Man the Creator Year: 1971 Director: Unknown Length: 17:00.  This dated introduction to genetic engineering aims to consider both
sides but makes everyone uncomfortable with graphic footage and its wavering viewpoint.  This is not for the squeamish.

Visit to the Waterworks Year: c. 1960 Director: Unknown Length: 11:00. In this Encyclopedia Britannica film, students from an elementary school
visit the lakeside waterworks in their suburban Chicago town.  They learn all about water purification - and it's not as boring as they would expect.

Inventors and the American Industrial Revolution Year: 1983 Director: Robert Churchill Length: 14:00.  Will Rogers, Jr. narrates an overview of American invention that is chock full of facts, stock footage of its subjects and their works and corny jokes.

The Sugar Cereal Imitation Orange Breakfast Year: 1974 Director: A.H. Perlmutter Length: 8:00. Comic Marshall Efron stars in a satirical short film in which he tells kids how to find sugary cereal brands and get mom to buy them.  He teaches manipulation and aggravation techniques, then gets serious to show how much sugar is in most "orange" juices.

The Plow That Broke the Plains Year: 1936 Director: Ralph Steiner Length: 25:00.  This U.S. government-commissioned documentary discusses the causes and results of migration to and settlement of the Great Plains. Breathtaking black and white images illustrate a story of promise and hardship.

Thursday, June 15, 2006: Ben Franklin's Busy Life

Enjoy several short films that offer a glimpse into some of the fields influenced by Benjamin Franklin. Films include:  

Benjamin Franklin
(1949) 17m, dir. unknown.  From humble beginnings as a printer's apprentice in Boston, we follow Franklin as he seeks a new life in Philadelphia and beyond. Not only did he serve his country during the critical period surrounding the 
Revolution, but also studied electricity, served as first Postmaster General, created the public library, and organized the first fire department. Though he signed his name as merely B. Franklin, printer, we find that he was far more: inventor, scientist, 
statesman, and diplomat.

Electricity – From Power Plant to Home
(1960) 11m, dir. unknown.  How does power to your TV or washing machine from the plant? Follow its generation and flow, from the simple electromagnet, to the turbine, to the substation, along the power lines, and into our movie projector!

Weatherman – A Scientist
(1970) 11m, dir. Art Evans.  This film stresses the importance of the weatherman’s job in society, while asserting at points that weather is dramatic and exciting. We see how he gathers information on his own region using a litany of tools, and how he incorporates information from other regions to produce a forecast.

Whatever the Weather
(1967) 9m, dir. unknown.  Four children run and play in different kinds of weather, as the calm voice of a narrator recites sweet, simple poetry celebrating different kinds of weather.

Story of a Book
(1970) 11mi, prod. Robert H. Waterman. Children’s author H.C. Holling narrates the process of writing a book by explaining how he and his wife wrote the book Pagoo. He shows us inspiration, research, writing and illustrating, laying out the book, and the printing process.

The Man Who Made Spinning Tops – Why People Have Special Jobs
(1970) 7m, dir. Steven Clark.  A prehistoric inventor creates the world’s first spinning top for his son. Other children ask him to make tops for them, but only when their fathers agree to provide him something in exchange can he make the time to do so. We learn in a basic way why each person does a certain job in society, rather than each person having to do everything for himself.

May 18, 2006:
 Ladies First

A Little Girl and a Gunny Wolf (1971) 17m, dir. Marion and Steve Klein.  A little girl defies her mother’s advice and goes out to pick flowers in the forest, where she encounters a scary polka-dotted creature called The Gunny Wolf. How will she escape? Find out when you watch this delightful animation, which was written, drawn, and narrated by inner city kindergarteners from California.

Soccer for Girls (1962) 11m, dir. unknown.  This film gives a simple overview of soccer moves such as dribbling, passing, and volleying. Points are illustrated with footage of a team of young women playing soccer masterfully.

Fashion for a Career (c. 1960s) 5m, dir. unknown .  With unfettered strokes of hyperbole, this film glowingly extols the virtues of working in the fashion industry. Discussion of careers such as fashion buyer, fashion merchandiser, and fashion writer is interspersed with images of short polyester dresses and jet planes.

Women in Science and Engineering (1984) 13m, dir. unknown.  Not interested in Fashion for a Career? This might be the film for you. Follow five women in five different science and math fields as they describe their jobs and how they first became interested in science as children.

My Name is Susan Yee (1976) 13m, dir. Beverly Shaffer.  Susan Yee, a charming Chinese-Canadian girl living in the heart of Montreal, takes us through her daily life at home and at school. We visit Chinatown and Susan’s neighborhood, which is in the middle of a vast urban renewal project.

Mother Hen’s Family (The Wonder of Birth) (1953) 12 m, dir. unknown.  Young Jerry can’t find his favorite hen, Whitey. He discovers her sitting on a nest of eggs! He labels each egg and waits intently for them to hatch, crossing off each day on his calendar. As the days pass, we see images of fetal chickens developing in their eggs.

Jobs in the City: Women at Work (c. 1960s) 11m, dir. unknown .  This film shows women working in a variety of fields, from factory work to printing to secretarial work. While it confidently reassures us that women can be doctors and lawyers, it also suggests that women are well suited to jobs that require “nimble fingers” or “the ability to get along with people.”

Thursday, April 20, 2006: "The General"
'The General' (1927) 75m, dir. Clyde Bruckman and Buster Keaton.
Buster Keaton’s character Johnny is a good man, faithful to his two loves: Annabelle Lee and his locomotive, “The General.” At the start of the Civil War, Johnny gets rejected for combat service because the Confederacy needs him to drive his train for them. When the Union captures his train and his girlfriend, the faithful lover springs to action! 
With live accompaniment!


Thursday, March 16, 2006:  "In the City"

'The Challenge of Urban Renewal' (1966) 25m, dir. Ted Yates.  This film examines the troubled state of older American cities after two decades of migration to the suburbs has taken its toll.  It compares the birth rate of babies to the production rate of new cars, and spends time with both planners and urban dwellers. Ultimately, the film suggests that in order to save cities, we must raze organically-built neighborhoods and replace them with giant, mono-use modern boxes. Pruitt-Igoe, anyone?

'Detached Americans' (1958) 32m, dir. Don Matticks.  A woman is murdered and there are numerous bystanders, but nobody helps. This film asks what kind of a society would let such a thing happen, with a critical eye towards commoditization and homogenization. It makes laser-sharp use of sociological dissection and entertaining use of Barbie dolls.

'Heritage Homes of St. Louis' (1967?) 34m, dir.  Pat Williamson.  Through the eye of a playful photographer, we visit several of St. Louis’ most famous historic homes and learn interesting tidbits about who built them that way and why. Includes the Chatillon-Demenil Mansion, The Campbell House, and others. The heart-rending exterior close-ups of the now-endangered Clemens Mansion, when it was in much better condition, are not to be missed.


Thursday, February 16, 2006:  "What Beats a Heart?"

'Hemo the Magnificent' (1957) 55 m, dir.  Frank Capra.  One of the most fondly remembered educational films of all time, this stalwart of the Bell Science series teaches us all about the blood, the heart and the circulatory system.  Directed by Frank Capra of "It's a Wonderful Life" fame, and hosted by Dr. Frank Baxter, aka "Dr. Research." (Winner of an Emmy Award for Cinematography for Television in 1958)

'The Red Balloon'  (1956) 34m.  dir.  Albert Lamorisse.  This charming French classic, sans dialogue, teaches important lessons that only you can decipher.  In the streets of Menilmontant and Montmartre in Paris, a small boy is befriended by a red balloon.  Does the cheeky balloon represent his unrelenting mortality? His indomitable spirit?  The unbearable lightness of being?  Discuss(Winner of the Academy Award for Best Short Film in 1956).

Thursday, January 19, 2006: "Motion and Growth" 

'Pas De Deux' (1968) 13m, dir. Norman McLaren.  McLaren's classic black and white film is both exquisite and experimental.  Documenting the movements of two ballet dancers, McLaren accentuates their movements through slow motion, super-imposed images and stark contrast.

'Ballet Adagio'  (1971) 10m, dir. Norman McLaren.  A few years after releasing "Pas De Deux," McLaren came out with another lovely film documenting ballet through experimental treatment of motion, time and light.

'Barges' (1973) 13m, dir. Parker Rushing.  This film chronicles the journey of Illinois corn from a farm field through the port of Chicago and onto a bridge headed south to New Orleans via the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers.  The narrative is almost an ode to life on the river.

'Johnny Learns His Manners' (1977) 17m, dir. Abe Levitow.  A child is so messy and rude that he turns into a pig.  His mom explains to him that astronauts get to go into space because they are neat and clean.  He changes his ways and turns human again.

'How Does a Rainbow Feel?' (1972) 16m, dir. David Holden.  A group of children explore character, narrative, color and motion by improvising a story that moves and grows, shifting from tense to silly as each youth adds to the tale.

'The Living Soil' (1965) 20m., dir. Atma Ram.  A film made by Shell Oil that discusses soil organisms and "pests" with gratuitous close-ups, then shows farmers applying pesticides to their fields and talks about how great pesticides are.

Thursday, November 17, 2005:  "Artists and Animals" 

Note: this program was the last of the series held at Mad Art Gallery, 2727 South 12th Street @ Lynch, Soulard, at 7 pm.

'Eye of the Beholder' (1953) 20m,  prod.  Stuart Reynolds.  Part of the General Electric Theater series.  This Hitchcock-like telefilm thriller starring Richard Conte and Martha Vickers dramatizes an artist's relationship with his model from differing, sometimes disturbing psychological perspectives.  Did he or didn't he?

'Animal Olympians'  (1980) 63m.  A visual feast:  Human Olympic sporting events are intercut with vivid examples of spontaneous wildlife "Olympics" as representatives of the animal world demonstrate their methods of running, diving, fencing, flying, and performing other specialized physical feats. Produced by the BBC for the Nova series. Blue Ribbon winner, American Film Festival.


Thursday, August 18, 2005:    "Transmit the Message" 

‘Origins of the Motion Picture’  (1956) 20m, dir. Unknown.  The US Navy produced this informative overview on the early attempts at creating motion pictures, from the zoetrope to Thomas Edison's famous Black Maria studio.  The imagery is a little ship-heavy but includes fine historic footage. 

‘Is Whistling a Noise?’ (1970) 16m, dir. Parker Rushing.  This delightfully surreal tale of a young man who wants to learn how to whistle defies all expectations.  His quest takes him from an inner city housing high-rise to an abandoned farmhouse in the country where all sorts of weird things happen.

’Poems’ (1970) 14m, dir. George H. McQuilkin.  Five children read and discuss their poetry.  In the interviews, the children are particularly expressive and exude a youthful mix of naked curiosity, over-serious posturing and genuine excitement. 

‘P.C. Friend, Railroad Agent’  (1970) 11m, dir. Carol Eichling.  At the time this film was made, P.C. Friend had been the railroad agent for DeSoto, Missouri (just an hour south of St. Louis) for 68 years.  He tells his story and recounts the changes he has seen in technology and society -- and vows to make his 70-year service anniversary. Camera by St. Louis cinematographer John W. Huston.

‘Communications: The Story of Communications’  (1947) 15m , dir. Edmund Reek and Boris Vermont.  In this overview of the history of human communication, you'll be treated to lots of curious black-and-white stock footage from the 20th century in addition to solid factual narration.

 ‘And I Quote...’ (1970?) 5m, dir. Unknown. "Alas, Poor Yorick, I knew him a lot!"  Wrong!  Don't get your Shakespeare muddled with your Bible when you are making a speech or presentation.  This short film helps you get the quotes right so you can impress your audience. 

‘Everybody Likes Jazz’ (1979) 10m, dir. Unknown.  Two young musicians -- one a New Orleans drummer, the other a St. Louis piano player -- are enthralled with jazz.  Watch and hear them play the music that they love and then discuss their love for it.  A charming documentary that aired as part of the acclaimed ZOOM series. 


Thursday, July 21, 2005, 8 p.m.   "Behavior Modification"

Films on the program include some films that are new to cine16 St. Louis and some favorites from past programs:
'Dr. Heidegger's Experiment' (1969) 21m, dir. Larry Yust.  In this adaptation of Hawthorne story of the same name, elderly people imbibe a youth-inducing drug trying to find happiness.  The eponymous Dr. Heidegger gives them the drink but doesn't partake himself - instead he observes the new-found happiness descend into greed and lust.
'The Imagination Film' (1977) 9 m, Director unknown.  Some people talk to themselves.  Other people look like they are talking to themselves but are actually in the middle of a wild imagined adventure.  Such is the case with the protagonist in this animated short, who befriends a lion on a merry-go-round.  Suddenly, she's not bored and alone.

'The Fight' (1969) 6 m, Director unknown.  Ever wanted to break up a fight by getting inside of the participant's heads through wonderful vintage animation?  Here's your chance.  This instructive Disney film teaches kids what one should do to avoid a fight.
'Cecily' (1974) 7 m, dir. Pavla Rezickova.  This compelling, surreal Czech animated film depicts the story of young Cecily.  Cecily's grandmother pulls her ears until they are large enough to be used for wings - which is exactly what Cecily does as she escapes to find a happy new life.  One lesson: adults should act better toward children.

'Focus on LSD and Other Psychedelics' (1971) 15 m, Director unknown.  Somewhat predictable documentary that uses actors to portray "both"
sides of the psychedelic debate -- a few hey-man types for the pro side, given quick sound bites, and lots of serious folks for the anti side, given full scenes.
'Tornado Safety' (1988) 11 m, dir. Tim Mahoney.  Puppets learn about tornado safety from a heroic frog who can tell them what to do and shows them actual tornado footage to impress upon them the value of knowing how to cat when severe weather strikes.  That teaches them to "blow off" the threat of a tornado!
'Joy Ride: An Auto Theft' (1978) 13 m, dir. William Crain.  Kids will be kids.  In this case, very bad kids who steal a car and end up in big trouble.  This good example of the kids-and-consequences genre is based upon a true story about two 13-year-old boys who get two girls to join them on a tragic car ride.

Thursday, May 19, 2005:  Angry Young Men
'When I'm Old Enough, Goodbye' (1962) , 24m.  Thinking about dropping out of school?  Better watch this film first, Ace.  You  might find yourself in Doug's shoes -- on the street, wishing you were dating that pretty classmate, instead of taking a string of dead-end jobs.  A cautionary message brought to you by the State of New York Employment Office (Governor, Nelson Rockefeller).  Great noir-ish look, sound design and music.
'Crime and the Criminal' (1973), 30m, dir. Richard Brooks.  In 1965, Truman Capote defined the New Journalism with "In Cold Blood," an intensely researched non-fiction novel about the killing of a Kansas family in 1959.  A few years later, Richard Brooks directed a  true-to-the-book film starring Robert Blake as one of the two killers.  And a few years after that, Orson Welles narrated this classroom film, featuring long excerpts of the movie interspersed by brief commentaries about the criminal mind as a classic theme in literature.  Favorite quote from our protagonist: "I really admired Mr. Clutter, right up until the moment I slit his throat."  For more:
'Ugly Little Boy' (1977), 26m, dir. Barry Morse and Don Thompson.  Based on an Isaac Asimov short story: a Neanderthal boy is snatched from his era and brought into a B-movie-ish future so that we can all think long and hard about who is worthy of love, what is humanity, and whether the Vincent Price facial hair paradigm had its limits.  Isaac Asimov ranked "Ugly Little Boy" as his third-best short story; we have no idea what he thought of the film version.

Thursday, April 21, 2005:  Animal Magnetism

'Marvelous Mousetrap' (1958) 24 min, dir. Werner Schumann.  Character actor and former Marlon Brando roommate Wally Cox (aka Mr. Peepers and the voice of Underdog) stars as a mousy manufacturing maven in this odd little film on, we think:  the economy, capitalism, profits and sound business practices.

'Circus Animals' (1949) 11 minutes. See how ponies, camels and tigers are cared for when they're in the circus.  Do they really prefer this life of luxury to hunting for their own food, as the narrator informs us?  

'Rikki the Baby Monkey' (1949) 11 minutes, Encyclopedia Britannica. Rikki the rhesus and his Papa and Mother in their native habitat.  What's Rikki up to now? The most interesting animal behavior to observe is the narrator's need to personify.  Boys and girls, can you do that?   

'Jungle Book:  A Lesson in Accepting Changes' (1967?), 9 minutes, Disney.  In this educational treatment of a Disney adapation of the famous Rudyard Kipling story, Bagheera the panther convinces Mowgli that he must leave the jungle.  Only when Mowgli meets another human being does he discover that new places, new experiences and new friends can be as wonderful as old ones.  In between the delightful Disney animation, brief but lumbering live-action sequences serve up these obvious lessons, just in case we missed them. 

'Three Little Bears Go Camping' (1951) 11 minutes, Castle Films.  This campy camping film features the frolicking antics of the three little bears who nose their way in to trouble.  Narrated by an on-camera owl with a sense of humor that's a hoot.   

'Water Film' (1977) 8 minutes, Sandler Institutional.  In this animated short, a hare named Herman helps us appreciate the life cycle of water.  We suspect this film is really about pantheism. More to the point, this film answers the question, what happened to animators who weren't good enough for Disney?

'Mapandangare: The Great Baboon' (1978) 10 minutes, dir. Tom McClelland.  African musical instruments and their role in storytelling are demonstrated in this charming film. 


Thursday, March 17, 2005... Mostly By Design

'Shadow of Time'  (1965) 8m, dir. Jerzy Kotowski.  In this surrealist animated short that showed up on our doorstep, the skeletal hands of a Nazi soldier emerge from their underwater resting place and embark on a strange, oddly merry and yet macabre adventure.   

'Why Man Creates'  (1970) 25m, dir. Saul Bass.  In one of the most highly regarded short films ever produced, design-world legend Saul Bass provides a clever, entertaining look at creative problem-solving throughout history.  Winner of a 1970 Academy Award for best live-action short.

'Paper Sculpture' (undated) 5m,  dist. International Film Bureau. In this straight-ahead academic film from the 1960s, all you need is paper, scissors, glue and ideas.

'Design'  (undated) 11m, dir. Wayne Thiebaud. The fundamentals of design are easy to learn.    Just let little Mr. Stubby Pencil show you how! 

'Fashion For a Career'  6m, (unknown date and director).  When you choose fashion for a career, you're after something special.  Fashion people go exciting places and do exciting things.  You can combine fun and profits in the world of fashion.  These are just a few of the juicy tenets of  "Fashion for a Career," an undated film of 1960s vintage.

'Seeing Through Commercials' (1976) 15m,  dir. Larry Stein and Ruth Arens.  Is it the outrageous claims? Or just the bad acting?  This early media literacy film helps kids understand that that ads are trying to, well, sell them something.  Kitschy good and super tasty, it's lipsmackin' fun!

'Discovering Texture' (1961, revised 1979) 16m, dir. Paul Burnford and Jack Stoops.  This gorgeously shot film helps art students develop awareness and understanding of the textures all around us and to incorporate them in visual art.  A groovy rock track adds to the, um, texture.  You may want to wear corduroy; we're just sayin'.


Thursday, February 17, 2005... Don't Look Now

'Quelle Chance' (1953, 10m, unknown director).  Zut alors! In the charming village of Vaires-sûr-Marnes, an accident occurs, and everyone leaves the restaurant to watch the aftermath. In their absence, a wandering accordionist and two children polish off the food and drink from everyone's table. The French sense of justice is secured, and the children are led away, holding their bellies.  From the Modern Language Association.

'Two Black Churches' (1975) 21m, dir. William Ferris.  The Rose Hill Church in Vicksburg, Mississippi, is contrasted with the St. James Church, in New Haven, Connecticut.  Magnificent music.  An outstanding film on the culture of the Black church in the U.S.

'Gerald McBoingBoing' (1950) 10m, dir. by Robert Cannon.  A Dr. Seuss story about a boy who is persecuted for his terrific speech impediment.

'A Very Special Day: an Adventure at Coney Island' (1966) 19m, dir. Richard Beymer.  Dealing with the topics of innocence, trust, and responsibility, the film tells the story of a young boy who, although ridiculed by his friends, feels obligated to help a girl who is lost. The cinematography by Jon Wing Lum is exceptional, and the music is by jazz guitarist Sam Brown.

'Life and Death in a Pond' (1981) 13m, dir. Mel Waskin.  Of 250,000 tadpoles born in a pond, only 200 will survive to adulthood. Frogs, damselflies, and newts mate, and microphotography chronicles the evolution of their embryos. There's stuff here difficult for the faint-of heart: the diving beetle's larva (aptly named the water tiger), feeds on tadpoles by injecting an acid which it then sucks in through its horns. It feeds upside down, breathing through its tail, which is in contact with the pond's surface. Meanwhile, the damselflies' young, called nymphs, prowl the bottom, eating helpless tadpoles there. Like gangland bullies, the newts also eat tadpoles, but, like an old-fashioned Irish cop on the beat, the diving beetles return, and eat the newts. To illustrate that there really is justice in this insane world of the pond, tadpoles feast on the newt carcass. And we thought it was tough, topside. Featuring exceptional cinematography by Hans Pfetschinger.

'Nails' (1979) 13m, dir. Philip Borsos.  This wordless documentary demonstrates the making of square nails.

Thursday, January 20, 2005... A Matter of Perspective

'Seeds Scatter' (1984) 20m, dir. Georg Schimanski.  From the director of "Housefly" comes another film full of spectacular microphotography. Perhaps the most beautiful shot in this film is the magnificent time-lapse opening of a pinecone, displaying the forceful dispersal of seeds.

'Shoeshine' (1987) 10m, dir. Tom Abrams.  A story featuring Jerry and Ben Stiller, shot on the Staten Island ferry.

'Adventures in Perception (Escher)' (1971) 21m, dir. Han Van Gelder.  A beautifully crafted film on the two-dimensional drawings of M.C. Escher, master of perspective. A favorite of art school students everywhere, and an Oscar nominee in 1971 for Best Documentary Short;

'Glass' (1965) 10m, dir. Bert Haanstra.  One of the better-known documentaries to come out of Holland: a hand-blower embodies the eternal quality of blown glass against the uniformity of the machine-made variety. Check out the avant-garde Dutch jazz soundtrack with Theo Loevendie and Pim Jacobs.

'How Death Came to Earth' (1971) 15m, dir. Ishu Patel.  A riotous Indian tale told in a firestorm of color. Terrific tabla soundtrack. From the National Film Board of Canada.

'The Critic' (1963) 5m, dir. Ernest Pintoff.  A short abstract cartoon with a narration track written by Mel Brooks.  Brooks plays a grumpy old man who can't make heads or tails of the cartoon, voicing his opinions much to the dismay of the other theater patrons.

December 16, 2004...  A Film Feast for the Holidays

'The Red Balloon'
(1956 ) 34m, prod. Albert Lamorisse.  One of the most famous short films of all time, and the winner of the Academy Award for Best Short Film in 1956, this charming French classic, sans dialogue, teaches important lessons that only you can decipher.  In the streets of Menilmontant and Montmartre in Paris, a small boy is befriended by a red balloon.  Does the cheeky balloon represent his unrelenting mortality? His indomitable spirit?  The unbearable lightness of being?  Discuss!

'Silent Night: Story of a Christmas Carol' (c. 1950) 14 minutes, producer unknown.  Way before "Behind the Music" was pulling back the curtain on band Babylons, academic film was doing its own "behind the music" thing in its own way.  In Oberndorf, Austria, in 1818, certain events led to the creation of this most famous holiday song.  Black and white.

'How to Catch a Cold' (1951) 10m, Walt Disney Productions (presented by Kleenex).  How does a common man catch a common cold? In an animated cautionary tale, he does it with an adorably huge red nose.  Great color.
'Christmas Rhapsody' (1948) 11m, prod. Milan Herzog. What is it like to be a Christmas tree?  And more to the point, what was this tree smoking before it got all morose and poetical?   Black and white.
'Robert Frost's New England' (1975) 22m, prod. Dewitt Jones. The lyrical imagery of master cinematographer Dewitt Jones brings new richness to Frost's poems.   Good color.

November 19, 2004...

'African Pygmy Thrills'
(1930?) 10m, prod. Eugene W. Castle. Although the narrative of this documentary is characteristically condescending to "the primitives," there nonetheless remains some fascinating ethnographic material, including a soundtrack of indigenous music and the faithful recording of the complicated building of a vine bridge 50 feet above water. 'African Pygmy Thrills' is historically significant for one other reason: feature filmmaker Werner Herzog has cited his viewing of this film, as a child, as the impetus for embarking on a career in film.

'Heartbeat of a Volcano' (1970) 21m, prod. Bert Van Bork. Van Bork burned up two pair of shoes as he hung close to the carnage to capture spectacular shots of a volcanic eruption. The sequence was planned the day before the explosion, as Van Bork and assistant Ulf Backström reconnoitered the volcanic area, marking exit routes with reflective tape, and noting the location of lava vents. In one scene, geologists are shown fleeing the approaching lava, but the camera remains (Van Bork, his eye glued to the camera, was prevented from pitching forward into vents and calderas by the steady hand of Backström, holding tightly to the back of his belt). The hand of the AGI's John Shelton is in fine evidence here on the soundtrack, which is resplendent with time signatures from radio station WWVH, and motor sounds from seismometers to the generators powering field geometers.
'Patrick' (1973) 7m, dir. Gene Deitch. From the celebrated animator who designed the cine16 logo. As Patrick fiddles, magic passes in his wake, fish fly, and cakes grow on trees.

'George and Betty: Career vs. Marriage' (197?) 10m. Not quite what you'd expect from a "going steady" instructional film, this vignette is surprisingly well-acted and morally open-ended. Perhaps you and your beau could have a discussion session after this one.
'Butterflies in Formation: an Introduction to Public Speaking' (1982) 10m, dir. John Milestone. A funny clay animation film, about another kind of butterfly entirely.
'Mzima: Portrait of a Spring' (1983) 29m, dir. Alan Root. Joan and Alan Root were highly esteemed wildlife cinematographers for National Geographic and were famous for capturing natural phenomena on film that had never before been seen. This film is a study of the ecosystem of a body of water in Tsavo, where Root takes the camera to the underwater world of the hippo.


October 15, 2004... Trippin'

'With Epelli in Fiji' (198?) 13m. Another in the World's Children Series by Journal films. Great color and location cinematography as we follow Epelli in the daily tasks of sugar harvesting and fishing.

'Dr. Heideger's Experiment' (1969) 22m, dir. Larry Yust. An excellent adaptation of Nathaniel Hawthorne's classic short story. Excellent acting and editing makes this one of the more compelling classic short story adaptations on record.

'Focus on LSD and Other Psychedelics' (197?) 20m. These teens are straight-talkin' on the pros and cons of acid, man. Yeah, it's cool, LSD can make you totally dig the universe. But take it from me, man, you never know when you'll have a real bummer.

'Ballet Adagio' (1971) 10m, dir. Norman McLaren. The National Film Board of Canada's master of animation presents an austere dance production, stripped of the optical wizardry of Pas de Deux but beautiful nonetheless.

'Hansel and Gretel' 11m. A creepy adaptation of the classic tale. Who abandons their children in the woods at the insistence of their iniquitous stepmother?

'Joy Ride: An Auto Theft' (197?) 13m. Val and Tim "borrow" Randall's car for a short ride. They try to impress the ladies and things get out of hand. Accompanied by a totally groovy soundtrack.
'One Hundred Watts 120 Volts' (1977) 10m, dir. Carson Davidson. The mechanized production of Duro-Test light bulbs is filmed as a dance to the tune of the Brandenburg, as choreographed filaments, glass, and metal combine in a dynamic finale.

Friday, September 17th... All-Star Break
Presented as part of the Grand Center Anniversary at a location in Grand Center, to be announced

'Tops' (1973) 8m, dir. Charles & Ray Eames. One of a series of short films done by the noted designers, this one on the subject of spinning devices.
'The Street' (1976) 11m, dir. Caroline Leaf. Based on a Mordechai Richler story, animated in oil on glass. Beautiful and surreal. Blue-ribbon winner at the American Film Festival Awards, 1977.
'Gallery' (1971) 7m, dir. Ken Rudolph. What would you say if someone told you they could show you history of art in seven minutes? Rudolph can, and does.
'Le Paysagiste' (Mindscape) (1976) 8m, dir. Jacques Drouin. Alexandre Alexeieff, one of the best-known early animators, was the developer of the pinscreen technique, in which, using those toys you see at museum shops, each image was formed by the manipulation of pins. The National Film Board of Canada eventually acquired Alexeieff's pinscreen, which was used by Drouin in this beautiful but haunting story of an artist who wanders three-dimensionally through his two-dimensional world.

'Timepiece' (1965) 10 minutes, dir. Jim Henson. If you thought Henson was all about Muppets, think again. This Academy Award-nominated experimental short brought Henson critical acclaim for its bizarrely creative animation. It screened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1965.
'Pas de Deux' (1967) 14m, dir. Norman McLaren. A famous animator's most famous film. McLaren abstracts, using breathtaking slow motion and optically printed "tracers," the movements of a ballerina and her partner.
'Toot, Whistle, Plunk, and Boom' (1953) 10m, dir. Ward Kimball. An animated history of music through the ages, from prehistoric man to the modern symphony orchestra. An experimental departure from Disney's traditional approach to animation. 1954 Academy Award Winner.

'Karl Shapiro's America' (1976) 13m, dir. Arthur Hoyle. Pulitzer prize-winning poet Karl Shapiro speaks directly to things we know - daily experiences and familiar things; his words need no translation from "poetic terms." The film uses collage animation, photographs, American art, and live action as the visualization of his spoken poetry. "You can write a poem about anything, even manhole covers," Shapiro says - and he does.

August 19, 2004... Selections from the St. Louis Public Schools Collection

'The Imagination Film' (198?) 9 minutes. An animated tale of a girl who imagines her merry-go-round lion to take flight on a shockingly sugary sweet magical adventure. Great color.
'Everybody Likes Jazz' (1973) 10 minutes. An old ZOOM episode with two kids profiled in a first-person style -- one a New Orleans drummer, the other a St. Louis piano player. Great B-roll includes New Orleans marching jazz band footage. Great color.
'The Fight' (1969) 6 minutes. An early animated Disney educational film from the "What Should I Do?" series. Forgive and forget or smash his face? Perhaps you'll figure it out once you stop humming that plucky tune.
'Moonbeam Princess' (1967) 18 minutes. Produced by Gakken, this stylish film is made with Japanese puppets and optical effects. A kind-hearted woodcutter discovers something spectacular in the bamboo forest. Great color.
'The Groon' (1971) 5 minutes. A surreal animation of the mysterious, shape-shifting creature known only as the Groon. Written by Ray Bradbury.
'With Bekus in Nepal' (198?) 14 minutes. Part of the "World's Children Series" put out by Journal Films, we follow Bekus in his daily tasks, which include a visit to the blacksmith, a Hindu wedding, and the village musicians. Great color and cinematography.
'The Glug' (1982) 15 minutes. Preteen Tony drinks too much. His sister is worried. His friends are multicultural. Don't miss the rollerskating. Great color.

Thursday, July 22, 2004... Selections from the recent acquisition of films from the St. Louis Public School System. 

Thursday, June 17, 2004... Eames, Bertoia, and of the World of Design

'Harry Bertoia's Sculpture' (1965) 23m, dir. Clifford B. West. Born in Italy in 1915, Bertoia eventually moved to Michigan, attended Cass Technical High School, where he was introduced to metals, and moved on to the Cranbrook Academy, where he met fellow student Clifford West. Shortly after his marriage in 1943 (West was his best man), Bertoia moved to California at the behest of his friend Charles Eames, and collaborated on the design of the famous 'Eames Chair' produced by Knoll Associates. In the 1950s, he set up his own studio in Bally, Pennsylvania, where he designed the well-known 'Bertoia Chair', also for Knoll. Soon, he was experimenting with sculptures of different alloys and patinas, and would create 'musique concrète' soundscapes utilizing his sculptures. He died in 1978, a victim, says West, of heavy metal poisoning, acquired as a result of his constant proximity to metals and chemicals.

'Harry Bertoia's Sculpture' is, from a cinemagraphic and sound perspective, West's most progressive film, as abstract in filmmaking technique as the sculptures themselves. Opening with the camera slowly moving over what appears to be the surface of the moon, it suddenly falls back to reveal instead the texture of a sculpture. The film is one of constant motion, resulting from the vertiginous movements of West's camera, or the movement built into the sculptures themselves. The music, played by Bertoia, utilizing various objects alternately hammering or caressing his sculptures, is reminiscent of the work of Xenakis. From the perspective of West's career, the film marked the beginning of a new, bolder approach to camera movement, as seen in later films such as 'Bronze: River of Metal' (1972), and 'The Art of Rolf Nesch: Material Pictures' (1972). Visit for additional information on the sculptor.

'House of Science' (1973) 15m, dir. Charles & Ray Eames.  The pastiche of images was made originally for a multi-screen installation at Seattle World's Fair.

'Degas in the Metropolitan' (1974) 12m, dir. Charles & Ray Eames.  Here, we attend a retrospective of the work of Degas, seen through the eyes of the Eames.

'Powers of Ten' (1978) 10m, dir. Charles & Ray Eames.  One of the best-known academic films, 'Powers' documents microscopic and telescopic views of the human body, the world, and the universe, by increasing and decreasing  their dimensions by factors of ten.

'House: After Five Years of Living' (1955) 11m, dir. Charles & Ray Eames.  OK, no one's perfect:  here's a film that could fall into the category of being self-indulgent, a tour of the Eames' own home, interiors, exteriors, and objects of art. 

'World of Franklin and Jefferson' (1976) 28m, dir. Charles & Ray Eames.  For the bicentennial, the Eames produced a retrospective on the lives of two individuals instrumental in creating a new nation.  Among the interesting cinematic techniques is a dual on-screen timeline, comparing the events in the lives of Ben and Tom.


Thursday, May 20, 2004...End of the World As We Know It

'Power and the Presidency'
(1974) 30m, prod. Jack Willis. Another extremely good film treatment on a theme of U.S. history is this discussion of important aspects of the Washington, Jackson, Polk, Lincoln, McKinley, and Teddy Roosevelt administrations. Narrated by George C. Scott, this film was originally broadcast by CBS News as part of an eleven-part series called 'The American Parade'. What made 'Power' (in its 1/2 hour school version distributed by BFA) exceptional was its creative pastiche of still photography, cut-out animation, and live action sequences, done by the Cinema Fair company team led by animation director Stanley Smith and art director Joanne Mitchell. The events making up the drama of each administration are presented in such a way that the constantly shifting plains of animation seem to represent a stage of moving sets, constantly in motion, edited in a remarkable series of rhythms by Larry Plastrik and Todd Martin. To illustrate the tremendous toll in human lives that was necessary to secure additional land for the United States, stills of countryside are rapidly interspersed with those of dead soldiers lying on a battlefield, each image being shown several times in a sequence lasting several seconds.

'Omega' (1970) 13m, dir. David Fox. We're not exactly sure what the meaning of Fox' psychedelic fantasy is, but the notes say it's about the end of the world. I'm sure 'ciné16' viewers stoked on blue barrels, windowpane, and/or 'shrooms will be better able to explain this bombastic, colorful, spaced-out film than WE can.

'The Lottery' (1969) 20m, dir. Larry Yust. Today, Fellows, California lies forlornly somewhere along the two-lane meandering strip of decayed blacktop known as Highway 33. Just a few houses dot the sparse townscape in which remnants of foundations and iron-pipe fences are encased in many varieties of overgrown weeds. One of the few remaining residents eyes passing cars warily as he hoses down his pickup truck in the dying December light, curious as to what would bring anyone new to visit a town long past its glory, if in fact that word was ever used to describe Fellows. In 1969, however, it was a small town populated by agricultural and oil workers, who joined Yust's crew as extras for a film that has become legendary as one of the best selling (and most controversial) ed films ever made, Shirley Jackson's 'The Lottery'. Jackson's dark story was nearly kiboshed by ranking Encyclopaedia Britannica Films executives, who considered Yust's adaptation a little too realistic for the classroom. With sterling performances by William Fawcett (as "Old Man Warner") and cinematographer Isidore Mankofsky (who managed to get the thing done in spite of uncooperative weather conditions), 'Lottery' remains one of the more memorable films of the era. Not everyone in the graphics department et EB felt the same way as a few on the executive board, however, as evidenced by a promotional photograph that had been heavily doctored to reveal the bloody end of the "winner", which ciné16 found hidden in the promo folder deep in the EB archives...

'La Jetée' (1963) 29m, dir. Chris Marker. Told through still photos and narration, the story of a post-apocalyptic attempt to change the present by reworking the past. A remarkable and pensive film suggesting the folly of attempting to reorder the inevitable, and one which has influenced countless filmmakers.


Thursday, April 15, 2004... Mad Sort-of Genius

'Vive Le Tour' (1976) 20m, dir. Louis Malle. To a terrific music score by George Delerue, fast, out-of-control, crazy bicyclists compete in the annual madness known as the Tour de France. I'd probably be more scared of getting hit by the drugged-out Italian biker than by any of the juiced-up beaters in 'Red Asphalt'; eventually he passes out, falling off his bike...

'Taxes: the Outcome of Income' (1975) 10m, dir. Veronika Soul. Is it possible to make an interesting, funny, yet informative film about the history of a tax bureau, and the minutiae surrounding the manner in which it collects taxes? Soul's visually stimulating short about Revenue Canada makes the case that any subject can be entertaining in the hands of a motivated and creative filmmaker.

'Psychopath' (1961) 30m, prod. Robert Anderson. This film consists of interviews with the patient, his psychiatrist, his incarcerators, and others involved in the young man's life. Filmed in Montreal in 1961, we visit with a man whose crime was robbing a postal sub-station of stamps, and later, attempting to commit suicide, and threatening the life of the doctor who pumped his stomach. He can't hold a job, reads voraciously, and writes well. Everyone who watches this film will form his or her own judgment as to whether our man is a future ax-murderer, or merely wants to be left alone. Along the way, we meet essential Canadian archetypes: Detective Gordon MacKenzie of the Montreal PD, a disgruntled counselor for the Catholic social service agency, a Scottish parole officer, and the jovial French-Canadian prison warden who enjoyed walking the grounds with the subject. While we're not in complete agreement with the psychiatric assessment, we do understand why the principals are up in arms: our engaging patient just can't keep the smirk off his face as he relates his escapades, and the troubled effect on his more traditionally educated adversaries obviously delights him no end...

'Tennessee Williams: Theatre in Process' (1976) 25m, dir. Richard Slote. The playwright oversees his "The Red Devil Battery Sign", engaging in a press conference, rehearsal, the opening, and --- you guessed it --- the rewrite. With Anthony Quinn, Claire Bloom, Katy Jurado, and Annette Codona (sp?)...

Thursday, March 18, 2004... Art of the Bisque

'The Rice Ladle'
(1982) 30m, dir. Oliver Howes.  In one of a series of documentaries from Film Australia, the older working woman of Japan is contrasted with rising pop star Fumiko Saweda, fresh out of the Watanabe Academy pop-mill. On the way, we meet department store greeters, flight attendants, and the less glamorous world of the server in a sushi establishment, as we're serenaded with koto and gagaku. Seemingly the possessor of very little talent, Fumiko suddenly falls in with an ice-cream company, which produces her mega-hit commercial "Pop-Up Love Feelings".

'Memories of Monet' (1984) 30m, dirs. Meredith Martindale & Toby Molenaar.  The film is as lush and radiant as a Monet painting, with those great juxtapositions of painting and the part of the garden which inspired it. But it's more than a pretty picture. There is a wonderful story from an American artist who visited Monet. With great music from Eric Satie.

'The Portable Phonograph' (1977) 20 m, dir. John Barnes.  Here, a vintage recording of Debussy's Nocturne played by Walter Gieseking becomes the vehicle by which four lovers of the humanities hover together in a cold post-apocalyptic shack of sandbags to mourn weekly over lost art and loves gone by. Barnes, who must be considered among the greatest filmmakers ever to work in the educational world, forcibly illustrates, through flashback sequences and close-up shots, how the humanities - music, painting, literature, and theatre - are perhaps the most enriching of all human endeavors.

'Sorcerer's Apprentice' (1962) 15m, dir. Edward English.  Lisl Weil, a dancer who often performed in New York with friend Tommy Sherman and his Little Orchestra Society, was also a splendid charcoal artist. Here, accompanied by Sherman's interpretation of Dukas, she soars across the screen, drawing imaginary characters on a massive blank board in a film that has tremendous affective value for both art and music students.

Thursday, February 19, 2004...  Making the Trip

'Third Avenue El'
(1955) 10m, dir. Carson Davidson.  A crazy drama played out on New York's Elevated, with music by Wanda Landowska.

'Vive Le Tour' (1976) 20m, dir. Louis Malle. This lesser known film of the prolific French New Wave director (you won't find this film listed on IMDb) is set to a terrific music score by George Delerue; fast, out-of-control, crazy bicyclists compete in the annual madness known as the Tour de France.

'Thanks for the Ride' (1983) 30m, dir. John Kent Harrison. Although later than 'Reason' and 'Game', this film is another thought-provoking treatment on a similar theme. An exceptional sociodrama from an Alice Munro short story in which wealthy boys do some slumming with local girls in a resort town while on a summer vacation. A poignant tale of class and culture.

'Doubletalk' (1976) 10m, dir. Alan Beattie. Ever been scared to meet someone's parents on a first date? This film chronicles one such uncomfortable event in which we hear not only the spoken words but also the unspoken thoughts of the characters. The film is so quick and witty that it takes a few screenings to get all of it.

'Le plat du jour' (1972) 15m, dir. Georges Spicas. This is another of those witty foreign shorts that is good enough that it has undoubtedly won prizes yet appears neither in the best-known film histories and catalogues nor on the internet. 'Plat' is a non-narrated series of vignettes taking place in a terrible French restaurant, starring the animated Max Durand.

Thursday, January 15, 2004... Nothing Strange

'The Big If'
(1981) 10m, dir Bratislav Pojar. What if ordinance suddenly turned into large, colorful, floating balloons? This remarkable Czech film explores a new fantasy of warfare.

'Seven Authors in Search of a Reader'
(1965?) 20m, dir. Franz Weisz. Unfortunately we've been able to find nothing describing the philosophy of the filmmaker, who bases this non-narrated tale on a "tableau-vivant" of Seurat's impressionist masterpiece 'La Grande Jatte'.

'Le Paysagiste'
(Mindscape) (1976) 8m, dir. Jacques Drouin. Alexandre Alexeieff, one of the best-known early animators, was the developer of the pinscreen technique, in which, using those toys you see at museum shops, each image was formed by the manipulation of pins. The National Film Board of Canada eventually acquired Alexeieff's pinscreen, which was used by Drouin in this beautiful but haunting story of an artist who wanders three-dimensionally through his two-dimensional world.

'Zero de conduite' (Zero for Conduct) (45m) 1933, dir. Jean Vigo.
While both surrealistic and absurdist, Vigo's tale of youthful revolt in a boarding school, with its humor, pathos, and anger, was ultimately banned from public showing by French authorities until 1944, eventually taking on added significance as a prime influence to François Truffaut's epic film '400 Blows'. The film is at least partly autobiographical, as Vigo, the son of an anarchist who may have been murdered by French authorities, grew up in a stifling boarding school environment similar to this one, with its petty rules and ignorant administrators.

Thursday, December 18, 2003... Only the Lonely (guest programmer Jodi Everding)

'Mr. Nobody' (1987) 30m, dir. Lyn Wright.  Meet Jack Huggins, a compulsive hoarder and cat owner who admits to having "a bit of a problem, nothing unusual, really..." -- that is, until the neighbors complain about the aroma wafting toward their home. The municipal government attempts to fix the house and yard, while the department of social services tries to fix Jack. The film asks us, when is intervention warranted? What is eccentric, and what is incompetent?

'Raft' (1974) 30m, dir. George Sluizer. Now a noted feature filmmaker, Sluizer made memorable documentaries throughout the 1970s. Filmed in the state of Maranhão, the caboclos of NE Brazil build a raft of 8000 logs of balsa wood, then take it down the Balsas River. The raft becomes a floating compound, complete with livestock, for the workers and their families who travel 700 miles in three weeks to sell the wood.

'Face of the High Arctic' (1958) 13m, dir. Dalton Muir. A majestic fly-over visit to the remote Queen Elizabeth Islands. The terrifyingly lonely and beautiful desolation is captured by cameraman Muir, augmented by Strowan Robertson's poetic description of the extreme land formations, and a wonderful score by Robert Fleming.

'Why Don't You Dance?' (1990) 13m, dir. Steven Condiotti. From a story by Raymond Carver, filmed in El Cerrito, CA. A sad man puts his possessions on in his front yard to sell, and two strangers arrive as buyers. They remain, to become part of the tableau. A beautiful, touching film.

Thursday, November 20, 2003...  Behind the Screens (presented in cooperation with Cinema St. Louis and the St. Louis International Film Festival)

'Frame by Frame' (1973) 13m, dir. Paul Burnford/Jerry Samuelson. This film provides an encyclopedia of animation techniques including pixelation, kinestasis, and time-lapse.

'Practical Filmmaking' (1972) 15m, dir. Bill Brame. A demonstration of great casting and camera tricks in the making of the blaxploitation pic "Miss Melody Jones."

'Sixty Second Spot
' (1973) 25m, dir. Harvey Mandlin. A fascinating look at the process of making a commercial in the Mojave desert; ends by showing the completed work.

'Ink, Paint, Scratch' (1979) 11m, dir. Robert Swarthe. Great ways to make a film as a non-photographic process.

'The Magic World of Karel Zeman' (1969) 15m, dir. Zdenek Roskopol. A rare Prague title showing the special effects master's approach to fooling us in Captain Nemo and dinosaur films. Enchanting and masterful.

'Claymation' (1978) 17m, dir. Will Vinton. Shows how Will goes about making a clay film. Great stuff on choosing clays, dyeing, and shooting. A landmark.


Thursday, October 16, 2003... A Different Kind of Canvas

'Marcelo Ramos: Artesano Pirotécnico' (1980) 15m, dir. Judith Bronowski. The Ramos family from San Pedro Zumpango, Mexico build their fireworks and mighty rockets for the La Purísima Concepción festival. Even grandma gets involved, weaving fuses, and the two-year olds are running around stuffing powder in tubes. Bronowski is probably the greatest of all the filmmakers who explored the Mexican artisan genre; this film explains why. (In Spanish)

'In Praise of Hands' (1974) 28m, dir. Donald Winkler. This amazing non-narrated film documents craftspeople from the world over, including those who make the fascinating Ocumicho clay figures of Michoacán, the beadwork of the Huichol Indians, and Indian puppet shows from the sub-continent.

'The Nuer' (1970) 75m, dir. Hilary Harris, George Breidenbach; prod. Robert Gardner. The Peabody Museum film crew from Harvard travels to the village of Lara, to the Gaajak Jikany region of southwest Ethiopia, next to the Baro River. They lived with Nuer herdspeople during the dry season of 1968, chronicling their life. The Nuer discuss the return of a barren bride (her brideprice was 25 head of cattle, but the bride's family claims the husband is impotent), drink grain beer, build a house of straw and clay, and sacrifice a goat to appease a ghost; the women pound grain and tend to the children. Interesting sequences cover two ritual scarification events. For more on this film, visit:

Thursday, September 18, 2003...   Art and Commerce

'De Kooning on De Kooning' (1982) 58m, dir. Charlotte Zwerin.  Producer Courtney Sale visits with the artist and wife Elaine, and intersperses old film clips and photos with contemporary interviews and paintings. The beauty of De Kooning's work is stunning, the color is magnificent, and yet we see the beginnings of the artist's descent into his final world of dream. 

'Raymond Loewy: Father of Industrial Design' (1979) 15m. prod. Suzanne St. Pierre. From a '60 Minutes' piece hosted by Morley Safer, the famed 85 year old designer here goes to the hardware store, and rates the packaging of roach poison and batteries. You've seen Loewy's autos in photographs, and still see his Exxon, Coca-Cola, Shell, logos daily.  See  for more information on Raymond Loewy's work.

'Entr'acte' (1924) 15m, dir. René Clair. A surreal collaboration between many of the leading lights of the Dada set, including Man Ray, Georges Auric, Marcel Duchamp, and Francis Picabia, who characterized the film by stating that it "respects nothing except the right to roar with laughter".  Here, everything is absurd, from the camel-led funeral, to the chess players (Ray and Duchamp) being doused with water.

‘Face Value’ (1965?) 20m, prod. Walter Landor & Associates. Landor was a legendary packaging designer born in Munich in 1913, and influenced by the Bauhaus. In 1941, he moved to San Francisco and founded his design firm, which was located, for a time, aboard the ferryboat "Klamath", moored at Pier 5. In the mid-1960s his firm accepted the job of re-branding Falstaff beer. Focus groups indicated the beer was perceived as having the characteristics of "cool refreshment, masculinity, tradition, contemporary". Unfortunately, the new Landor label wasn’t as classy as the previous one, and the contemporary design was tacky (did Landor also work on "Burgie" of the same era?) Judge for yourself: there are two commercials from the era in the film. Did people "buy" it? Falstaff went out of business soon thereafter. For more on Landor, visit:


Thursday, August 21, 2003...  In the Age of Spectacle (79 minutes)

'Cutting Edge: Man Who Skied Antarctica' (1980) 18m, dir. Eric Perlman. Yuichiro Miura is famous as the man who skied down Everest, reportedly attaining speeds of over 100 mph down 45 degree slopes, stopping with a parachute. In tonight's film, he attempts to ski down an 8000 foot peak in Antarctica, gets buried by an avalanche, then does it again successfully the next day down slopes of 60 degrees. 

'Gazelle' (1984) 11m, dir. Peter Chermayeff. A non-narrated slice-of-life film shot in the Ngorongoro crater in Tanzania.

'Magicians of India' (1940?) 10m, uncredited director. This gem combines the best in colonialist attitudes with some truly amazing magic from the fakirs shot in real-time with no edits (we can't figure how they do it either). 

'Flamenco at 5:15’ (1983) 30m, dir. Cynthia Scott. Skeptics may raise an eyebrow when considering a film on Spanish Dance shot in a studio in Montreal, featuring dancers under the tutelage of a Russian émigré, but enough critics were taken in that this film won the Oscar for documentary short subject in 1983. 

'Frog Prince' (1950?) 10m, dir. Lotte Reiniger. Breathtaking fairy tale silhouettes by the famous early 20th century German animator.


Thursday, July 17, 2003 at Mad Art...   "Lost" films for the Aurora Picture Show's ‘Media Archaeology’ program.

Earlier this year, Houston's Andrea Grover asked several film archives to participate in a film symposium on elements specific to their collections.  We were among those chosen to participate.  We've elected to present an important part of our collection, "lost" films that will, in all probability, never be in distribution again in the United States.  Although the program is scheduled to run in Houston in Grover's Aurora Picture Show ( in 2004, we are screeing it this month for St. Louis audiences before it heads south.  Our film notes are as follows:

The mission of The Academic Film Archive of North America (San Jose, CA) is to acquire, preserve, document, and promote academic film by providing an archive, resource, and forum for continuing scholarly advancement and public exhibition. We have presented more than 325 programs in San Jose (since 1996), and launched programming in St. Louis, Missouri, in October, 2002. We are the only institution in the U.S. dedicated to documenting the history of this endangered film genre.

What is "academic film"? Of the over 100,000 educational films made in North America between the early 1900s and approximately 1985, many of the best were in the subject fields of art, history, social science, literature, and science. These we refer to as academic film, as opposed to those made in health, safety, civics, and other non-academic educational subject areas, which are not the focus of our collection or programming.

Why is academic film important? With the launching of Sputnik in late 1957, millions of dollars in federal funds soon became available to academic film companies, as government and education officials desperately raced to bring American students to an academic level above that of their Soviet counterparts. Federal funds flowing to academic filmmakers via film companies represented the greatest governmental largesse ever bestowed on makers of non-feature films. We often refer to this as a socialist film movement thriving in a capitalist context.

Of the more than 2,000 films in our archive, approximately 13% are what we consider "lost" films. These films are no longer distributed, and in the vast majority of cases, the copyright owners have disappeared, died, or gone out of business. They are films that have little chance of being resurrected, because they are out of circulation, and are largely forgotten. Nearly all film companies stopped producing academic material in the 16mm format by 1985, and very few of these lost films were ever distributed on VHS.

It is these "lost" films that are the focus of tonight’s presentation. They run the gamut from art, to literature, to animation, to international culture. Each of them are memorable, and, in their own way, exceptional pieces of filmmaking. They make the case, better than words can, of the importance of recognizing the genre of academic film, and the critical need to save them. Although we think these are among the finest of the Lost, we would find it just as easy to create ten additional such programs with lost films as important and interesting as the ones you’ll see tonight.

The films on tonight’s program are as follows:

‘Symmetry’ (1966) 10m, dir. Philip Stapp. Stapp was one of the greatest animators working in the 1950-1975 era, using stylized, often pointillist abstract imagery, in a floating world sometimes surrealist, at other times reminiscent of Japanese "ukiyo-e" illustration. His spectacular ‘Symmetry’ is his greatest film, a fantasy of dancing images breaking apart, spinning, and converging. For more information on Stapp, visit:

‘Silent Snow, Secret Snow’ (1966) 15m, dir. Gene Kearney. Alienation, angst, and schizophrenia are the themes addressed subtly and powerfully by Kearney in this adaptation of a story by Conrad Aiken.

'Iran' (1971) 18m, dir. Claude Lelouch. Far more than a travelogue with pretty pictures, this little-known film is among the best of its type ever made. 'Iran' consists of spectacular geographical and archaeological footage interspersed with "slice of life"' shots, with the best juxtapositional editing we've ever seen. This is a buried masterpiece from the director of ‘A Man and a Woman’, ‘Happy New Year’, and ‘And Now My Love’. Lelouch seems reluctant to discuss this film, and why? We suspect the Shah of Iran may have been involved in funding it, judging by the heroic equestrian footage toward the end of the film, and the more than occasional showcasing of the royal family. One could further guess that international dissatisfaction with the excesses of the Pahlevi regime negatively affected the distribution of the film, a shame, because few films treating similar themes are its equal. The musical score by Francis Lai is a priceless timepiece, resplendent with heavy early-70s euro-pop wah-wah guitar. An intriguing, beautifully crafted, and dynamic film, this visual poem transcends the didactic.

‘Hands of María’ (1968) 15m, prod. J. Donald McIntyre. Mara Martinez was a well-known and historically significant Jemez potter from San Ildefonso, New Mexico, whose work is in most major southwestern museum pottery collections. Here, she is seen building large pieces by building coiling ropes of clay. An unusually large percentage of lost films are based on southwestern or American Indian themes, perhaps reflecting the fact that, from a school curriculum perspective, they are no longer the ethnicity du jour

‘Visite à Picasso’ (1950) 20m, dir. Paul Haesaerts. A poetic treatment which includes the artist painting on glass while facing the camera, shot at Picasso’s home in Vallauris, accompanied by some fairly moody organ music in this very dark film. The artist here takes on the character of an eminence-grise, an alchemist engulfed in the "sol y sombra" of his laboratory-studio, filmed in gorgeous black and white.

'Gallery' (1971) 7m, dir. Ken Rudolph. In seven minutes, Rudolph astoundingly serves over 2,000 major works of art.  It's dizzying and brilliant, your MFA in Art History in a bottle.  

Jintara Poonlarb and AFA's Geoff Alexander, May 8, 2003

Friday, July 18, 2003 at Gallery Urbis Orbis... Make Mine Morlam: Cutting Edge Culture from the Rice Paddies of Roi-Et to the Back Streets of Bangkok

This show is a special one-night-only program held at Gallery Urbis Orbis, 1409 Washington Street, St. Louis, telephone (314) 406-5778.  Academic Film Archive of North America director Geoff Alexander is the first western scholar to compile research on Morlam, a fascinating form of music from the Isaan area of Thailand, that is some of the hottest music coming out of Asia today.  He'll be here to present a Morlam program on video CDs, a media format rarely seen in the U.S., but common in Asia. 

On the program:  We'll be featuring 20-odd songs from our extensive Morlam video CD library, PLUS the brand-new VCD made of Jintara Poonlarb's red-hot road show.  This show includes 50 dancers, twelve musicians, and she performs morlam, lukthung, and string music from Thailand.  She is an exceptional performer, and this is a rare opportunity to see her in action.  Our notes to the morlam portion of the show are extensive, and can be viewed (and printed) by visiting:

Gary Singh wrote about our introduction of Isaan Thai Morlam music to U.S. audiences in San Jose's Metro, February 27 - March 5 issue:

In addition, scholars wishing to know more about how Morlam music fits within the Thai-Isaan cultural dynamic may visit:


Thursday, June 19, 2003: Word Up

'Alphabet Conspiracy' (1959) 55m, dir. Robert Sinclair.   Frustrated by the ambiguity inherent in the English language, the Mad Hatter (Hans Conreid) and Jabberwock attempt to destroy Language by lighting an explosive charge under the world's great literature. They convince a young girl to join their conspiracy, when "Dr. Linguistics" arrives to illustrate the value of the written and spoken word. Guests range from jazz trumpeter Shorty Rogers, who banters in beat phrases, to psychologist Keith Hayes, a researcher on chimpanzee communication, and his simian subject, Viki.

'Strange Case of the English Language' (1968) 48m, prod. Andy Rooney.  Rooney's tenure as '60 Minutes' resident curmudgeon often masks the fact that he was a magnificently witty writer. His observations on communication are delivered with irony, amusement, and intellectual bewilderment by host Harry Reasoner. John F. Kennedy's infamous "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech is but one of the many amusing anecdotes of miscommunication. But the real highlight of this film is an amazing interview with Peter Ustinov, who mimics American speech patterns.


Thursday, May 15, 2003: Building Circus

'Conversation with Frank Lloyd Wright' (1953) 30m, prod. Ben Park.  The 83-year-old cantankerous architect turns the tables on young interviewer Hugh Downs.

'John Ringling's Ca'D'Zan' (1973) 30m, dir. Ann Zane Shanks.  A tour of the Xanadu-like private castle of the circus king.

'Building a House (Bozo People)' (1967) 8m, dir. Hermann Schlenker.  The Bozo are a people of Mali who make exceptionally well-crafted homes out of local vegetation, documented here by one the great ethnographic filmmakers.

'Calder's Circus' (1963) 17m, dir. Carlos Vilardebo.  From his home in Sache’ France, the gruff and funny Alexander Calder hosts, in French and English, a circus consisting of his small wire, cork, and cloth sculptures. They perform to the tune of Mrs. Luisa Calder’s Victrola, attended by a small-but raucous audience. This film documents some of Calder's finest work, which he stopped formally exhibiting "when it filled 5 valises."

Thursday, April 17, 2003: The Material

'Ostrich' (1984) 12m, dir. Peter Chermayeff.  Featuring the eating, dancing, and mating rituals of ... the ostrich.

'Bate's Car: Sweet as a Nut' (1974) 15m, dir. Tony Ianzelo. Harold Bate is an eccentric British inventor whose old car runs on 'the material', which we soon find to be chicken droppings (the engine compartment is full of weird gauges, hoses, and pumps invented by him, and the damn thing actually runs...) Bate also showcases his perpetual-motion bicycle, which the assistant cameraman rides but cannot stop (oops, Bate forgot to install brakes). Ianzelo’s portrayal of this brilliant and ultimately odd inventor, which was shot in one day as a vignette while the crew was engaged in working on another film deemed more important, is funny, whimsical, and intelligent, and one of the more memorable films ever produced by the National Film Board of Canada.

'Tops' (1973) 8m, dir. Charles & Ray Eames.  One of a series of short films done by the noted designers, this one on the subject of spinning devices.

'Story of a Writer: Ray Bradbury' (1963) 20m, dir. Terry Sanders.  A self-effacing Bradbury is shown hacking away at stories in his basement, at rocket sites, and undergoing a strict editing process in his living room joined by fellow writers. A compelling film about a legendary writer about to enter his prime.

'Mother Goose Stories' (1946) 15m, dir. Ray Harryhausen.  Four fairy tales in a magnificent puppet film.

'Mesa Verde: Mystery of the Silent Cities' (1975) 14m, prod. Bert Van Bork.  Flying within impossibly narrow canyons to achieve dizzying shots of cliff dwellings, Van Bork burned through two pilots, one of whom quit in the middle of the shooting out of fear for his life. Jack Palance narrates.


Thursday, March 20, 2003... "Poetry and Motion"

'Wholly Communion' 
(1965) 35m, dir. Peter Whitehead. London's Royal Albert Hall, 1965: a poetry convention featuring Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Adrian Mitchell, and Ernst Jandl (whose wordless poetry brings down the house in a pandemonious riot).  About halfway through the film, the poets start heckling and fighting each other, and it breaks down into a great anarchic mess.  A great document of the short era between "beat" and "hip."

'Frank Film'
(1973) 9m, dir. Frank and Caroline Mouris.  An autobiography; an endless collage consisting of over 10,000 magazine cutouts; a stream of consciousness that wells up, exceeding its banks.  (1973 Academy Award Winner.)

'Karl Shapiro's America'
(1976) 13m, dir. Arthur Hoyle.  Pulitzer prize-winning poet Karl Shapiro speaks directly to things we know--daily experiences and familiar things; his words need no translation from "poetic terms."   The film uses collage animation, photographs, American art, and live action as the visualization of his spoken poetry. "You can write a poem about anything, even manhole covers," Shapiro says--and he does.

'In a Dark Time' (1964) 30m, dir. David Myers.  Just before his death, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Theodore Roethke shares his poetry and his world, as he sits in corner wing chair, in shadows, or singing in front of fireplace, cigar in hand, Scottish brogue for an Irish song.  And reminding us: "the void is always there, immediate and terrifying ..."


Thursday,February 20, 2003... Celebrating Black History

(This program will be presented in partnership with the Henry Hampton Collection of the Washington University Libraries and introduced by Professor Leslie Brown of Washington University: )

'American Shoeshine'
(1976) 30m, dir. Sparky Greene.  In this deep and entertaining exploration of the world of the shoeshine artist, a dozen or so shoe shiners, armed with hot-poppin' rags and street-corner philosophy, introduce us to their world. This tribute to the rhythm and poetry of a profession not only documents a type of work; it pays tribute to the individuals who inhabit a profession. No longer in distribution and rarely seen, few prints of this film exist.   (Academy Award nominated in 1976.)

'Eyes on the Prize: Ain't Scared of Your Jails'
(1987) 57m, prod. Henry Hampton

 In this episode of the acclaimed PBS civil rights documentary series "Eyes on the Prize," college students begin to take a leadership role in the civil rights movement. Lunch counter sit-ins spread from Nashville, Tennessee, through the South, giving life to a new force within the movement--the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). The following year, many of these students found themselves facing death trying to break down segregation in interstate bus travel below the Mason-Dixon line, on the Freedom rides initiated by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE).  Presented in partnership with Washington University Libraries' Henry Hampton Collection.


Thursday, January 16, 2003... " Send Me a Postcard "

'Toot, Whistle, Plunk, and Boom'
(1953) 10m, dir. Ward Kimball.  An animated history of music through the ages, from prehistoric man to the modern symphony orchestra.  An experimental departure from Disney's traditional approach to animation.  (1954 Academy Award Winner.)

'Floating Logging Camp'
(1979) 20m, dir. Carl A. Jones.  A fascinating look at a nomadic village of loggers in remote Alaska.  As the work moves to different localities, so does their village, moored offshore and built on log rafts. 

'Volcanoes: Exploring the Restless Earth'
(1973) 18m, prod. Bert Van Bork.  In 1957, Van Bork was hired to produce films for Encyclopaedia Britannica, and soon became famous for his stunning geological studies and infamous for his daring in obtaining footage under extremely arduous volcanic conditions. In this film, Van Bork takes us on a terrifying and beautiful excursion to lava streams, fountains, and fumaroles, from Vesuvius to the newly-formed Surtsey.

'One-Eyed Men Are Kings'
(1974) 15m, dir. Edmond Sechan.  In this 1974 Academy Award winner, a man fakes being blind.  Can we let him get away with this?

'Carnivorous Plants'
(1979) 10m, dir. Thomas Stanton.  This insidious film was made by cinematographer Ken Middleham, who causes us  to stop and wonder what's going on at our window sills while we're asleep at night.

'Killers of the Insect World'
(1939) 10m, prod. Woodard Production.  Pre-1960 educational films on animal subjects were often sensationalist, portraying subjects as deadly, anti-human, or bizarre. Here, we see insects as gladiators in a specially  lit arena, spiders pitted against scorpions, then scorpions against each other in a deadly  match of titans posing as educational fare.

(1960) 6m, dir. Gerald McDermott.  One of the outstanding animators of his generation, McDermott (who has gone on to become a noted author of children's books, and a winner of the Caldecott award on three occasions) made this film at the age of 19. Influenced by Klee and Matisse, this short includes approximately 2000 animation cels.


Thursday,December 5, 2002... Music, Madness and Matisse: a Journey

'Glenn Gould's Toronto'
(1979) 30m, dir. John McGreevy.  The reclusive and eccentric classical pianist hosts a tour of his hometown. A challenge of making the film was that Gould never actually went anywhere; the director presents Gould's reaction to places he had never encountered.

'Clown' (1969) 15m, dir. Richard Balducci.  One of the most popular academic films of all time.  On the surface: a cute-kid-and-dog story. Underlying is a subtext that fascinates.
The camera work by Guy Suzuki takes wonderful advantage of the terraces of Montmartre.

'Rendezvous' (1977) 10m, dir. Claude Lelouch.  Having rigged a camera to a Mercedes, Lelouch drove through pre-dawn Paris in a wild tour through well-known sites, in what appears to be a frantic nine-minute race to a meeting with his wife at Sacre Coeur, overlooking the city. The director uses a Ferrari for the sound track and accelerates the speed of the film, in a wonderful work of cinematic slight-of-hand.

'Matisse: a Sort of Paradise' (1969) 30m, dir. Lawrence Gowing and John Jones.  With striking Technicolor pastiches of numerous paintings, this film profiles one of the great artists of the 20th century. Accompanied bythe music of Eric Satie, played by pianist Aldo Ciccolini.


Thursday, November 7, 2002...  Shorts of all Sorts

'Pas de Deux'
(1967) 14m, dir. Norman McLaren.  A famous animator's most famous film.  McLaren abstracts, in breathtaking slow-motion, the movements of a ballerina and her partner.

'Operation Cue'  (1964) 15m, uncredited director.  The Office of Civil Defense matter-of-factly answers the question: what happens to people and buildings in a nuclear explosion?  A classic document of the Cold War.

(1971) 8m, dir. Norman McLaren.  "See" music happen as colors stretch, collide and gyrate to create this film's unique soundtrack, literally drawn onto the film by the

'The Street'
(1976) 11m, dir. Caroline Leaf.  Based on a Mordechai Richler story, animated in oil on glass.  Blue-ribbon winner at the American Film Festival Awards, 1977.

(1971) 7m, dir. Ken Rudolph.  What would you say if someone told you that in seven minutes they could tell you everything you'll ever need to know about art? Rudolph
can, and does.

(1982) 16m, dir. Georg Schimanski.  Startling microphotography: houseflies flying in place, feeding off  glass-top tables and standing still long enough to photograph every hair and orifice.

'The Fly'
(1980) 3m, dir. by Ferenz Rofusz.  The Oscar winner for best animation short, 1980.

'Gerald McBoingBoing'
(1950) 10m, dir. by Robert Cannon.  A Dr. Seuss story about a boy who is persecuted for his terrific speech impediment. One of the funniest and most remarkable cartoons ever made.


Thursday, October 3, 2002... But is it Art? 

'New York School'  (1975) 55 minutes, dir. Michael Blackwood.  An animated Jackson Pollock changes into his paint-encrusted work shoes, mad-scrambles over floored paintings, then peers through a clear horizontal "canvas" of Lucite, attacking the camera with a machine-gun of black paint.   Pollock is just one of the artists in this documentary that tells the story of the advent of abstract expressionism, often referred to as the first major art movement invented in America.  In addition to Pollock, we see and hear from Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko, Robert Motherwell and other artists and critics of the 1950s.

'Timepiece' (1965) 10 minutes, dir. Jim Henson.  If you thought Henson was all about Muppets, think again.  This Academy Award-nominated experimental short brought Henson critical acclaim for its bizarrely creative animation. It screened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1965.

'Running Fence' (1978) 58 minutes, dir. David and Albert Maysles and Charlotte Zwering.  This 1978 Academy Award-nominated "fly on the wall" doc tells the story of the long struggle by artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude to build a 24-mile fence of white fabric over the hills of Northern California, disappearing into the Pacific.  The question of whether Christo's idea "is art" is addressed rather, um, directly by some neighbors.  The human drama associated with getting this project to happen makes it as much performance art as monumental sculpture.


ciné16 in the S. Louis press

Greg Freeman described the arrival of ciné16 St. Louis in his column in the Metro section of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on October 1, 2002:

St. Louis fares well as site for screening classic documentaries

By Greg Freeman

A California-based arts organization that screens classic documentaries and
academic films has chosen St. Louis as its first sister city. And it's all because
of a man who worked at a radio station here one summer 31 years ago.

Geoff Alexander is director and chief executive of the Academic Film Archive
of North America in San Jose, Calif. Formed in 1996, the organization
preserves academic and documentary films and promotes film literacy.

The nonprofit organization archives and shows only 16 mm films and
so-called educational films. Videos are never shown.

Most people think of educational films as those campy, sometimes blurry,
steadfastly earnest movies that tried to teach schoolchildren morals and
ethics in the 1950s. That's not what the archive collects. It focuses on art,
history, social science and literature. And it has continuous free film events
for the public.

Most recently, for instance, it showed "The Great Dictator," a film by Charles
Chaplin that made fun of Adolf Hitler -- at a time when many thought such a
film was politically incorrect. Past showings have included films on black
dancers, featuring such dance greats as Alvin Ailey and Arthur Mitchell;
shorts on modern art featuring Jasper Johns and Jack Tworkov; and even a
funny short film that features a young Liberace -- in his pre-glitter days --
serenading a live turkey.

Alexander worked at the old radio station KDNA here during the summer of
1971, as part of an exchange program that several radio stations around the
country were involved in at the time. He came here from California. "The
radio station was in the Gaslight Square area, and it was pretty bad in those
days," he said. "We would sit on the balcony and listen to gunshots and see
and hear all of humanity go by."

Until two years ago, Alexander had never been back to St. Louis. But when
he returned here on business for a client, he was impressed. "That whole
area that had been in bad shape when I had been in St. Louis before was
gone and really good neighborhoods had sprung up. I took a walk and visited
the Central West End, a wonderful neighborhood. I was very impressed with
the architecture. And the people were nice, very cultured, very intelligent,"
he said.

While here, Alexander visited various restaurants and bars. "Whenever I told
them what we were doing in San Jose, people would tell me how great it
would be to have something like that here."

He returned to California with good thoughts about St. Louis. "I found St.
Louisans to be culturally sophisticated and receptive" to the type of work the
archive does.

With the help of St. Louisans Margie Newman and Marc Syp, the first free
screenings will be here Thursday evening at the Mad Art Gallery, a renovated
police station at 12th and Lynch streets. Doors will open at 7 p.m.; the films
will be shown starting at 8 p.m. The theme of the first screenings, "But Is It
Art?" will feature three films: "Running Fence," a documentary about the
artist Christo and his efforts to stretch 24 miles of white fence made out of
fabric across Sonoma and Marin counties in California; "New York School," a
documentary about the artist Jackson Pollock; and "Timepiece," a 1965
Oscar-nominated, 10-minute animated short by Jim Henson before his
Muppets fame.

The screenings will be monthly and will be free, said Newman, who also
serves on the association's board.

The association likes St. Louis so much, both Alexander and Newman said,
that it is considering moving its entire operation here. "We'd love to see it
happen," said Newman.

The archive's decision may hinge on what sort of response St. Louisans have
to the offerings here. If St. Louisans are welcoming, the city's chances are

Getting the archive to move here would be a nice feather in the city's cap.


Special note:  Greg Freeman passed away in December, 2002.  We'll miss him.  The following  notice was printed in the Post-Dispatch:

Greg Freeman: 1956-2002

Gregory B. Freeman, a columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and public-radio commentator, died this morning after having been stricken at his home.

Mr. Freeman, 46, joined the Post-Dispatch as a reporter on March 24, 1980, and began writing columns in 1989. He became a full-time columnist in 1992. He had been the host of a regular current-events radio show, known as St. Louis on the Air, on KWMU-FM since November 1999, and hosted a television show, "Mosaic with Greg Freeman," on KETC-TV Channel 9, from 1997 to 2001.

His wife, Elizabeth Freeman said he collapsed this morning in their Central West End home. He was unresponsive and his family attempted to revive him. St. Louis Fire Department paramedics rushed him to Barnes-Jewish Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 7:57 a.m.

Mr. Freeman was born in St. Louis and grew up in the Penrose neighborhood. He graduated from Beaumont High School and went to Washington University, where he graduated with a degree in Spanish in 1978. While at Washington University, he worked on Student Life, the college paper, and at the St. Louis American.

He also worked a college internship at the former Washington Star. He and his wife met while they worked together at Student Life, and they were married in 1979. They have one son, Will, 21

Mr. Freeman also worked Oakland Press in Pontiac, Mich., and the Belleville News-Democrat before he joined the Post-Dispatch.

He covered St. Louis City Hall and was promoted in 1987 as the editor over local political reporting. In his column, he wrote on a wide range of subjects about St. Louis and its people, politics, race relations, cultural and social trends, and his family. He wrote and worked to promote racial harmony.

"Greg loved St. Louis, and believed that St. Louis was never recognized for its full potential," said Elizabeth Freeman. "He was always a great proponent of St. Louis and city living."

Terrance C.Z. Egger, publisher of the Post-Dispatch, said, "We are all shocked by the loss of such a beautiful man. We are also very blessed to have had Greg in our lives and to have had such a wonderful leader at our newspaper and in our community. His hope and optimism for the St. Louis region, especially the people who call this home, should be an inspiration to all of us."

Editor Ellen Soeteber said, "In person, Greg was just the same as he appeared to be in print and in public -- warm, funny, modest, generous, principled. He was a wholly decent man. He was beloved in St. Louis, and his passing leaves a big hole in our community."

St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay said, "Greg was a great journalist and a great guy. His easy-going manner belied a strong passion for improving the community in which he lived. His column was a must read for me because of its insights and ideas to improve the City of St. Louis. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, his friends and his colleagues. Our City is a better place because of Greg Freeman."

Mr. Freeman had suffered from medical complications in recent years. In 1999, he had surgery for prostate cancer. A year later, he was diagnosed with limb-girdle muscular dystrophy, and had been using a wheelchair for about a year. In 2001, he received a kidney transplant from his sister, Cheryl McKinney of St. Louis.

Since that operation, Mr. Freeman had been a champion of organ donations and transplants. Over the years, Mr. Freeman has been active in journalism associations. He was a past president of the Press Club of Metropolitan St. Louis and of the local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He was executive chair and past president of the Greater St. Louis Association of Black Journalists.

In 2001, he was named a "Media Person of the Year" by the St. Louis Press Club. He is a co-founder of Bridges Across Racial Polarization.

"...while the movies are quality, it has to be noted that the ciné16 performances have been
drawing some of the coolest and most attractive crowds in town; no lie. I'm just sayin''
- Thomas Crone

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