the AFA site
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,
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
Many of our St. Louis shows are listed here chronologically, working
_____ . _____
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.
Boomsville (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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.:
2:30 p.m.: Film
Southwestern Bell Multipurpose Education Center
Thursday, July 20, 2006: Discover, Alter,
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
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
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
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
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
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"
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?
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.
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
Thursday, February 16, 2006: "What Beats a
'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
'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
'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
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
'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
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
Thursday, April 21, 2005:
'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
'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
'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
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.
Thursday, January 20, 2005... A Matter
'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
'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.
(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.
(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;
(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
'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.
(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 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.
FROM SAN JOSE:
'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
'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
'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
'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
'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
'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
'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 http://skybusiness.com/bertoia2/index.html 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
'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
'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
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
'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
'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.
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
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’
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 (www.aurorapictureshow.org) 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: http://www.afana.org/stapp.htm
‘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
Gary Singh wrote about our introduction of Isaan Thai
music to U.S. audiences in San Jose's Metro, February 27 - March 5
In addition, scholars wishing to know more about how Morlam
music fits within the Thai-Isaan cultural dynamic may visit: http://www.afana.org/morlam.htm
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,
'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
'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.
'Stonecutter' (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.
'Synchromy' (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.
'Gallery' (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.
'Housefly' (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,
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,"
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
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
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
Special note: Greg Freeman passed away in December, 2002.
We'll miss him. The following notice was printed in the
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
- Thomas Crone