Author Archives: conservator3

Our blog is expanding!

Top of a film bench with inspection equipment

Harvard Film Conservation Center inspection bench

Greetings friends and followers from the blog-o-sphere! Here at the Harvard Film Conservation Center we work closely with the dynamic collections from the Harvard Film Archive, as well as all film collections from the greater Harvard Library. In the interest of representing our diverse projects and preservation activities, we are expanding our blog and giving ourselves a new look (sound familiar?) We hope you will enjoy our newly expanded HARVARD FILM CONSERVATION blog: News from the Harvard Library’s Film Conservation Center!

Please continue to follow us to get the latest news on our conservation work, incoming collections, interesting finds, new finding aids, and local events! You can also check with us on Twitter @HLFilmPreserve

Thank you, dear readers and see you at the movies!


Our annual holiday show!

Greetings film revelers! Our annual holiday show with treats from the vault will come a little early this year.

six minature penguins climb a whale's back in a still frame from an animated color film

Six Penguins (1973)

Join us SUNDAY 12/4:

4:30PM: VINTAGE HOLIDAY SHOW —  a FREE screening of shorts that is fun for the whole family.

This year will feature several shorts from the Boston Public Library Collection, as well as Vintage Holiday Show favorites THE GREAT TOY ROBBERY (1963) and A FIGGY DUFF CHRISTMAS (1978)



George Kuchar and friend and fellow artist Karen Redgreen explore the San Francisco holiday season with hilarity and gusto!

An illustrated cut-out Santa Claus propped beside a coffee table with Halloween masks and a painted backdrop

Visit for detailed information and upcoming screenings!

See you at the movies!

October is Archives Month

October is the time each year when archival institutions across the country celebrate American Archives Month! Once again our crew here at the Film Conservation Center will be joining the revelry with participation in #AskAnArchivist Day on OCTOBER 5!

A graphic with several speech bubbles of potential questions for Ask An Archivist Day.

Image courtesy of the Society of American Archivists

Write to us on Twitter @HLFilmPreserve with the hashtag #AskAnArchivist with your burning questions: What is the oldest item in your collection? The strangest? What is the best way to preserve my family films? Where do you store your films? How are you preserving new materials?

Want to know? Just ask and we’ll do our best to answer!

Many thanks to the Society of American Archivists for organizing this virtual event.

Home Movie Day update

Greetings Home Movie Day fans!

As many of you know, the annual Home Movie Day event occurs each October. Because of a hectic season here at the HFA we will not be hosting the event next month. Instead, we’ll hold an alternate HMD Boston next spring on MAY 6 2017!

May 2017 calendar with Saturday May 6 circled in red.

Details will be announced here on the HFA Collections Blog as the date approaches. In the meantime, feel free to contact us for home movie advice and questions regarding film care for your family treasures.

See you in May!

A baby pulls 16mm film loose from a film reel.

We have a new look!

Hello dear readers and welcome to our updated Harvard Film Archive Collections Blog!

We’ve changed the look and structure of this blog in the spirit of accessibility. Going forward, this blog will feature easier to read text and contrast, helpful alt text for our lovely images, and accessibility across platforms.

We hope that this change will provide better accessibility for all who wish to follow our work with the HFA film collections, special projects, musings on film history, and observations about the place of the archive in preserving the many aspects of media that surrounds us.

Thank you to the WordPress Accessibility team for providing the tools for this update, and thank YOU dear readers! We hope you continue to follow us in good health.

See you at the movies!

The Soviet Film Collection catalog is searchable online!


It’s been a minute since we’ve revisited the Soviet Film Collection in the blogosphere, but work on the collection has been continuing here at the archive. We are happy to announce that the catalog of films is now searchable online in HOLLIS+, the Harvard Library online catalog.

A staff screening of a few short films from the collection introduced a new favorite for our conservation team: Lõputu Päev or Endless Day (1971/1990), directed by Jaan Tooming & Virve Aruoja.

This experimental film was banned under the Soviets and ordered for destruction at the time of its initial production in 1970. Fortunately, Director Virve Aruoja saved the prints and brought them safely out of the country. The film was completed in 1991 after decades of hidden storage but not released until 2006. This delayed premiere did not do much to dampen the powerful effect of Endless Day; the film unfolds like a visceral absurdist dream with jarring movement and a cutting soundtrack. The National Gallery of Art has a wonderful article on the film’s history and production, which can be found here.

You can also view the film in its entirety online through the Estonian Public Broadcasting website.


We will continue posting about screenings and new finds from the Soviet Film Collection as they occur. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy searching the catalog and finding your own favorites!

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!]

A very merry weekend of holiday films at the HFA

It’s that time of year again!

The Harvard Film Archive invites one and all to warm up with Christmassy film and video offerings from our collections the weekend before Xmas. Join us Friday, December 18 for Dear Video Diary: Christmas with Anne Robertson and George Kuchar and Sunday, December 20 for the free Annual Vintage Holiday Show!




Navigate the holidays with film and video diaries from Anne Charlotte Robertson and George Kuchar as they direct their cameras at visions of family, friends, food, and felines. The two filmmakers eloquently document the chaos and melancholy that many often feel, but few confront, during this festive season.




FREE AND FAMILY FRIENDLY! The Vintage Holiday Show is a 90-minute program of short films for both kids and adults curated by Harvard’s Film Conservator, Liz Coffey!

Wrap up your weekend and join in the merriment with the HFA’s annual event of holiday-themed gems from our archives. Experience the jolly spirit of viewing 16mm and 35mm films projected in all their glory. This year’s lineup includes CHARLIE’S CHRISTMAS PROJECT (1988), featuring a young Seth Green in the follow-up to last year’s audience favorite, CHARLIE’S CHRISTMAS SECRET (1984) and a TV adaptation of Dylan Thomas’ A CHILD’S CHRISTMAS IN WALES (1987).

VINTAGE HOLIDAY SHOW-  Sunday December 20 at 5PM

All screenings held at the Harvard Film Archive Cinematheque at 24 Quincy Street in Cambridge, MA.

A good time will be had by all!