Remembrance of Things to Come
Re-imagining the Past and Constructing the Future in the Film School Archive
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE CONFERENCE HAD TO BE RESCHEDULED TO JUNE 2021 DUE TO THE CURRENT CORONA CRISIS – MORE INFOR TO COME
This GEECT conference will be held in London on June 2021, at the University of Westminster’s Harrow campus (20 minutes by tube from central London). We will use student accommodation (en-suite single rooms) to keep costs low; the halls are two minutes’ walk from our lecture theatres, studios, post production and scanning facilities.
Many film schools have significant archives of student work (as well as teaching materials and other records) going back many years. We want to consider their historical, cultural and social significance, not just as of early works of important film makers, but also as a record of the responses across time of young people to the world at large, and the local community around their University, which can be of interest to researchers in many fields.
We will also consider the practice of the preservation and restoration of these collections, the cataloguing of associated metadata and contextual information, making the material accessible to students and researchers, and available online. Westminster has a scanning and restoration facility with a Lasergraphics 5K scanner and Phoenix restoration software, to which we are adding a Mk 1Northlight scanner. We will schedule hands-on workshops for those that want them to demystify film scanning, and allow participants time to scan a film from their own archive, with professional support.
- Conference sessions on the nature and importance of archives in general, of film school archives and memory in particular.
- Conference sessions on the aesthetics and science of imaging, looking at scanning, preservation and restoration; subjectivity and objectivity in assessing image quality.
- Short school presentations of their current approach to archiving (from thorough to negligible?). Individual school archives are relatively small, but collectively they may be significant.
- Practical workshops on film scanning and the chance to ‘scan a film from your archive’ (with professional help). We will also present our project to build a low cost Kinograph scanner with our students, and compare the technical and aesthetic quality of its output with the new Lasergraphics and the older Northlight scanners.
We would like to invite proposals for 20 minute panel presentations.
Please provide 200 word abstracts plus biography of 50 words
Please send all submissions to Peter Hort firstname.lastname@example.org
Please also feel free to suggest potential keynote speakers from outside GEECT/CILECT.
We plan to invite ‘School overview presentations’ (5 minutes maximum) from each participating school: brief overviews of what individual schools are doing with their archive.
Survey: we are preparing a questionnaire that will be circulated to allow us to gain an overview of what GEECT schools are doing in the area of archiving and preservation.
Please see the next page for a more detailed list of potential subject areas.
The Significance and Preservation of Film School Archives: Themes and ideas
What is an archive; What and who is it for? What should be kept?
- Methodologies of selection and classification; decisions about metadata will influence what can be discovered. Memory and history is constructed from what we have in the present.
- Is ‘a film’ the master? A viewing copy? The components to allow re-mastering?
- The evolving nature of the screen: how should we watch material from an archive?
- Theoretical perspectives and reflection on the practice of archiving.
- Legal and copyright questions around public access and streaming.
The specific relevance of film school archives
- What is the interest of student films? Student film as a cultural and historical practice that can give outside views of specific places and contexts.
- Time capsules of how people of film school age have interpreted the/their world without commercial pressures.
- Access to past work enables students and schools to situate themselves in a tradition that can be continued or questioned.
- Not necessarily just films: classes; teaching philosophies; backgrounds of students
- Links between National Archives and film schools. A network of film school archives?
Film Preservation & Archiving
- Physical storage and preservation. Can ‘passive archiving’ (e.g. leaving a film can in a cupboard) happen in a digital age?.
- Organising and integrating film archives with other archives within and outside the organisation.
- IT implications and long term digital storage
- Preservation or restoration?
Aesthetics and imaging technology
- Methodologies for evaluating image quality: the boundary of science and aesthetics.
- From preservation to restoration and enhancement (e.g. HDR or remastering). The opportunities and the tensions brought by technological advance.
- Scanning, now and the future. Will a scanned ‘archive master’ become the ‘original’?
- Videotape restoration.
Workshops/’hands on’ sessions
- Comparison of Lasergrapics, Northlight and Kinograph scanners
- The practice of scanning: bring and scan your film with professional support
- Kinograph self build scanner project: demo of a student built a low cost scanner
- Possible visits to labs and archives close to London
See also the Ecole Louis Lumière’s publication ‘Audio-Visual Archives and Memory in Schools’ (2015), on which we would like this conference to build: