Visible Evidence 18

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I attended the 18th annual Visible Evidence Conference at the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, August 11-14, 2011. VE18 brought together over one hundred students and scholars of documentary film from all over the world to watch films and hear papers about every aspect of non-fiction documentary from German television and animation to Queer politics and travelogues.

Despite the usual technological glitches and approximations of being on schedule, most of the presentations I visited were well-attended.  My favorite events included Concordia University’s Randolph Jordan’s paper on sound manipulation of the World Trade Center attacks  and a screening of ‘A Boatload of Wild Irishmen’, MacDara O’Curraidhim and Brian Winston’s documentary about the filmmaker Robert Flaherty.

New Acquisition

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‘Hold still, Hollywood’ : the photography of Buddy Longworth

The Fine Arts Library has acquired one of the earliest collections of Hollywood promotional and publicity stills: Hold still, Hollywood by Bertram (Buddy) Longworth (Los Angeles : Ivan Deach Jr., 1937). Longworth worked for both Universal and MGM and ran his own studio where he printed and sold portraits as well as unusual composite and montage photographs. Our copy is one of 500 ‘special’ editions housed in a custom-designed clamshell box with the owner’s name embossed within (in this case, to Ray Enright, the director) and includes an inscription from Longworth to Enright.

This composite portrait of the actress Ruby Keeler is emblematic of the charming, thoroughly modern, and downright experimental photographs that distinguish Buddy Longworth’s work.

 

 

 

July, 2011

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Now that summer is here, things have started to slow down. Although screenings continue at the Harvard Film Archive and faculty are in touch about their reading and screening lists for the Fall Semester, we’re pretty much in clover until September. Keep watching the skies, for I’ll be attending the 18th Annual Visible Evidence conference (on documentary film) in New York City in mid-August and I promise a complete report here!

Do send in your comments or queries to me here or directly to my e-mail at  rsennett at fas.harvard.edu. Thanks, and have a great July!

 

June 2011

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“By your students, you are taught”. This truism, from Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “The King & I” was never truer than in the Brave New World of Film Studies at Harvard. Every month, the number of students I meet, classes I visit, and faculty I consult tells me more and more about the rich and widening world of film studies reference and research. As this is my first blog entry, it will be filled with a potpourri of recent transactions (all since January); I hope in the future to be able to update this blog monthly and spend more time detailing specific research or reference quests.

 

I have met with or corresponded with many members of the Harvard faculty — Matthew Levay, Haden Guest, Timothy Hyde, Cemat Kafedar, Steven Caton, Joanna Lipper, Louis Menand, and Tamsin Jones. Haden is teaching a course on Hitchcock, and virtually his entire class has come to visit me at one point or another for research advice. I’ve fielded questions about Korean film which I referred to the Yenching Library, and questions about Ukrainian film that was passed on to our Russian specialists.

 

Researchers have made personal appointments with me to consult pieces of the Harvard Film Archive collection — the John Marshall Collection, the Jan Lenica Collection, and the Hollis Frampton Collection. I’ve also started to call back (from the Depository) boxes of film stills from the Lothar and Eva Just Film Stills Collection. I’ve worked with the Harvard Library selectors in French (Mary Beth Clack), German (Sebastian Hierl) and Spanish/Latin America (Lynn Shirey).

 

And, of course, you are looking at one of my newest and most interesting accomplishments, the Library Guide to Film Research at Harvard, on our new Springshare platform, which is replacing the old Reel Research i-site. Keep watching this spot for more chatter, questions, and updates!

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