Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Archivist's Corner

Hello world!  My name is Scott Williams, and I am this year's San Francisco Silent Film Festival Selznick School Film Preservation Fellow. (phew, that's a mouthful!)  As a student of the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation at George Eastman House, I have spent the past nine months studying film both as an art form and as an important cultural object.  My goal as a blogger for the festival over the next few weeks is to try to reconcile those disciplines and provide some context for the function that archivists and preservationists play in returning these classic films to their original glory.  I am honored this year to be the latest in a line of esteemed colleagues and friends who have been involved in the success of one of silent film's greatest events: the San Francisco Silent Film Festival.

This year, perhaps more than any other in the history of the festival, is significant for the role the San Francisco Silent Film Festival will play in film culture.  With the critical and commercial success of Hugo and The Artist, the general public and the media have found a renewed sense of interest in silent film as an art form.  More eyes than ever are on the silent film community.  The irony of this sudden attention certainly isn't lost on film historians and archivists, as digital technology quickly replaces photochemical film as the most popular method of film making and as an exhibition medium.

But my goal in blogging for this year's festival is not to wax nostalgic about the golden age of film or brood about how digital cinema is ruining our motion picture heritage.  Rather, I want to show how archives, production houses, studios, and laboratories are using digital technologies to revisit, reconstruct, and restore silent films in ways that weren't possible a decade ago.  And by using digital restoration and distribution technology in conjunction with traditional photochemical preservation, the dedicated community of people striving to further their appreciation for silent film now have more tools to fight their cause than ever before.  For silent film, these are exciting times indeed!

So please join me over the next few weeks as I try to provide a little insight and background to some of the gems at the 17th Annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival.  I'll be posting a new blog about exciting restoration projects related to the festival each Friday.  I hope you'll join me for the journey, and I look forward to seeing many of you in July!

Friday, May 11, 2012

The 17th San Francisco Silent Film Festival

SFSFF17 Announcement Party Invitation
From the same team that brought you NAPOLEON
come the best four days of summer:
July 12 - 15, 2012
Castro Theatre
Pandora's Box

This year brings a full array of beautiful new restorations, beloved favorites, rediscovered classics, and revelations
-- all accompanied live by the best musicians in the field.
Visit our website to see the entire program and to
Silent Film Festival Members get discounts on tickets and passes to SFSFF17  
and to Silent Film Festival events throughout the year.  
Member benefits at different levels can also include admission to the  
Opening Night Party, early entrance privilege, reserved seating, and access  
to the Spotlight Lounge on the Castro Mezzanine -- and more!