Category Archives: children’s films

Animation films from the HFA collections

Unid scratch film_KAqua

There are some amazing animated films that have been gracing our film benches over the past few months. Some favorites we’ve inspected include Sleeping Beauty (1934) by Russian filmmaker Alexander Alexeieff, inventor of pinscreen animation, Perpetual Motion (1992) and a beautiful scratch film (pictured above) both from the Karen Aqua Collection.


Perpetual Motion (1992)

We especially enjoyed inspecting a print of Adventures of an * (1957), a moving short that depicts the life cycle of a man from childhood to adulthood, and utilizes a brilliant jazz score to offset the images.


The Adventures of an * (1957)

You can explore the holdings in our Animation Collection on the HFA website and through the Harvard Library Catalog, HOLLIS+.

[note: since this posting we have learned that the unidentified scratch film pictured at the top of this page was likely produced by one of Karen Aqua’s students as part of Aqua’s animation workshop course. Many thanks to Ken Field for his insight about this collection!]

Christmas programs this weekend

This weekend the Harvard Film Archive brings some winter revelry to the screen with Another Kuchar Christmas and the Annual Vintage Holiday Show.



‘Tis the season for festive video offerings! Join us for four short films from prolific artist George Kuchar (1942-2011) on Saturday December 20 at 7pm. Come share in Kuchar’s feasts of the senses with his singular take on the rituals and feelings brought to the fore at Christmas.

VINTAGE HOLIDAY SHOW – Sunday afternoon – free admission!

Every December, we scour the Harvard Film Archive’s collection for winter-holiday-themed films and present them for free the weekend before Christmas.  Like everything else at this time of year, it tends to be very Christmas-oriented, but we are not trying to push religion on you.  In fact, yours truly, the curator of this screening, is an atheist.  Nevertheless, I enjoy a Christmas movie as much as the next atheist, and a lot of them were made over the years!

The program is always free, appropriate for all ages, and a lot of fun!  Since this is a shorts program, you are welcome to stay as long as you like, and we don’t even mind if you bring a baby along.

This year’s lineup includes some animated shorts, a locally-produced film about Christmastime window-shopping, which depicts some nice Downtown Crossing window displays, and a “meaning of Christmas” TV special starring a young Seth Green.

We hope to see you Sunday the 21st at 3pm!

Click here for a link to the program.

figgy duff

Madeline Brandeis

Madeline Brandeis wrote books for children nearly a hundred years ago, and today, thanks to the HFA’s Howard E. Burr Collection, we learned she also wrote, directed, and produced films.  We intend to do more research, but from our first cursory investigation of the internets, we have discovered she began as a filmmaker and went on to have a filmmaker as an author of children’s books.

Very little has been written about her, and few films seem to survive.  The HFA has a print of her first movie, a feature (an hour or so in length), originally called THE STAR PRINCE (1920) and later re-titled TWINKLE TWINKLE LITTLE STAR (this is the title on our print, distributed by Minot Films).

The HFA also has a print of THE WEE SCOTCH PIPER, published as a book in 1929.  It appears the film was made in 1928, although the 16mm print we have is copyrighted 1938 by Pathé Exchange, Inc, the year following her death of injuries sustained in a car accident while she and her daughter were driving from New York to Los Angeles.