Hello everybody. My name is Sean Kilcoyne and I am the San Francisco Silent Film Festival’s 2011 Silent Film Preservation Fellow. As many readers are undoubtedly aware, the San Francisco Silent Film Festival has emerged as one of film preservation’s most distinguished supporters. Because archival work is ultimately justified by providing the public with access to our collective cultural heritage - cinematic and otherwise - archivists are especially fortunate to enjoy such a relationship. Since 2006, the Amazing Tales from the Archives program has provided film preservationists with an invaluable opportunity to share their work and to enhance public appreciation for film archives. Classic modes of providing access to archival films - screenings at festivals, making prints available to other venues through loan, creating home video versions of films - are all essential activities, but ultimately, nothing is more important than cultivating an informed and appreciative audience to sustain preservation activities now and in decades to come.
By partnering with The L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation in offering the Silent Film Preservation Fellowship, the SFSFF has also provided the necessary opportunity and funding to enable recent graduates of The Selznick School to preserve several significant silent films. In 2008, the first year of the Silent Film Preservation Fellowship, Anne Smatla preserved Screen Snapshots (7th series). She was followed by Kyle Westphal in 2009, with McCall's Fashion News. Now, over the past year, Ken Fox has recreated the intertitles for the Douglas Fairbanks comedy Mr. Fix-It. Attendees of this year’s Festival will have the opportunity to see the world premier of the recently restored Mr. Fix-It on Saturday, July 16, at 6:30 pm.
As the 2011 Silent Film Preservation Fellow, one of my projects involves posting a regular blog every Friday between now and July 14, 2011, when the 16th Annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival officially begins. My entries will discuss some of the specific types of work that film archives do under the larger heading of preservation. I will also be focusing on the technical preservation backgrounds of several films in this year’s festival. If you are interested in learning more about these topics, please keep the SFSFF’s blog on your radar, and look for my posts every Friday between now and the 16th Annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival. Thank you.