Digital Asset Symposium (DAS) 2015 took place in New York City at The Museum of Modern Art on May 8. Event organizers and hosts were Chris Lacinak and PRO-TEK VP Tom Regal, who curated a show featuring a diverse collection of digital asset archiving stories and offering something for everyone. Read more!
Film Historian and PRO-TEK Restoration Expert Stan Taffel participated in this year’s Jewish Film Festival in Los Angeles, April 30 through May 7, 2015.
Taffel was panel moderator for a Q&A session with filmmakers Susan and Lloyd Ecker, leading the discussion on their book and documentary, The Outrageous Sophie Tucker. The Los Angeles premiere was featured on opening night of the festival.
The Outrageous Sophie Tucker tells the rags to riches story of iconic superstar Sophie Tucker who performed in vaudeville, Broadway, radio, television, and Hollywood throughout her 60 year career during the 20th century. Known as the “The Last of the Red Hot Mamas,” Tucker’s candor, bold sense of humor and powerful voice led the way for female performers like Mae West, Bette Midler, Madonna and Lady Gaga to follow in her footsteps.
Video of Taffel’s Q&A session is available on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jStJ2qE-nP8
More on the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival: http://lajfilmfest.org/2015-festival-highlights/
More on The Outrageous Sophie Tucker: http://www.sophietucker.com/
“What lovely Nitrate weather!” – Virginia Keane, wife of Film Historian Kevin Brownlow
From April 30 to May 4, 2015, The George Eastman House in Rochester, N.Y. held a unique film festival, “The Nitrate Picture Show: A Festival of Conservation”. The George Eastman House is home to a collection of over 28,000 films, though not all on Nitrate. Many of the features during this festival came from the Eastman collection as well as on loan from archives all over the world.
Ten feature films, several short subjects and panel discussions on the theme of Nitrate-based film stock took place. Writers, historians and film preservationists gathered, discussed and watched movies in The Dryden Theatre at The Eastman House, one of the last theatres (less than half-a-dozen) in the United States that can still project the highly flammable film stock. (As the industry shifted to Acetate-based and Polyester film stocks in the early 1950’s, Nitrate-based film negatives and prints retreated into vaults and became preservation elements.)
The festival was curated and managed by Festival Director Paolo Cherchi Usai, Executive Director Jared Case and Technical Director Deborah Stoiber. Many others deserve credit, too, especially the incredible staff of projectionists, 3 of whom were in the booth at all times during screenings. The Eastman House has a great legacy of not only preserving films, but also providing access. Read more!
The Manager of PRO-TEK’S Still Archives, Randy Gitsch, joined by his Cinerama Restoration Team production partner, Dave Strohmaier, gave a 90 minute classroom lesson on documentary film making and the digital remastering of Cinerama motion pictures at Innsbruck University on April 23.
In Innsbruck as the guests of Mr. Dietmar Zingl of Innsbruck’s Leo Kino theater, Gitsch and Strohmaier spoke before an auditorium of students in the University’s Department of American Studies where they were introduced by Dr. Christian Quendler, Associate Professor.
It took over sixty years, but the authentic location of comedic filmmaking pioneer Mack Sennett’s Keystone Studios has been properly recognized and dedicated. The studio was the birthplace of the “Keystone Cops” and the early playground of film legends like Charlie Chaplin.
Participating in the dedication ceremony on February 27, 2015, was Film Historian and PRO-TEK Restoration Expert, Stan Taffel, who spoke about Sennett’s filmmaking legacy and ground-breaking work in comedy. Taffel is one of PRO-TEK’s filmmaking experts often called upon for their knowledge of the motion picture industry and the medium of film. As authorities on restoration, preservation and archiving, the professionals at PRO-TEK are valuable film references, recognized worldwide for their understanding of cinematic history dating back to the silent era.
“Mack Sennett and other pioneers made it possible for those in the movie industry today to do what they do,” says Taffel. “He practically taught the world to laugh. For several decades of the 20th century, he honored us with his many gifts. It’s fitting that in the 21st century, we honor him.” Read more!
Hooray for Edendale? The Edendale Bowl? Edendale & Vine?
The famous song, outdoor venue, and street corner of the stars might have been labeled “Edendale” instead of “Hollywood” had history taken a different course.
Edendale (now Echo Park) is where the movie industry’s Los Angeles roots were planted in the 1910s, during the silent film era, before relocating to Hollywood. Studios were concentrated on a few blocks of Allesandro Street, now Glendale Boulevard, between Berkeley and Duane. While anyone driving along that stretch of Glendale today would have no clue of the area’s storied history, nestled within a self-storage facility remains one of the last vestiges – a century-old building that was once part of Keystone Studios, founded in 1912 by comedic film pioneer Mack Sennett.
PRO-TEK’s Stan Taffel is very familiar with this chapter of filmmaking history and with Sennett’s impact on the industry. He was asked to speak at a recent ceremony to preserve this legacy.
PRO-TEK Film Expertise Goes Beyond Restoration and Archiving
According to Stan, Mack Sennett was a west coast motion picture industry pioneer, relocating to California from New York and founding Keystone Studios in the early 1900s.
“Sennett was known as the ‘King of Comedy’ because he was credited with developing slapstick comedy. One of his most enduring comedic creations was the Keystone Cops, a bumbling group known for their ill-fitting uniforms and wild car chases.” Read more!
TUESDAY, MARCH 24, 2015
Four European theater owner/programmers have banded together to invite film restorationist Dave Strohmaier and his production partner, PRO-TEK Still Archives Manager, Randy Gitsch, to screen some of their digitally restored 3-panel Cinerama travelogues, 70mm Cinerama features and short-subjects in each of their cinemas in Karlsruhe and Dusseldorf, Germany, Innsbruck, Austria and Oslo, Norway.
Strohmaier and Gitsch have digitally re-mastered and re-copyrighted these widescreen titles, making them commercially viable once again, and are a part of their newly released DVD/Blu-ray release promotion. Read more!