Friday, December 05, 2014

AIFF 2014: Who Is Rick Prelinger?

Image from Spots Unknown
Lots of really interesting people show up in Alaska at one time or another, and they can walk down the street and you would just see "a tourist" or "some old guy" or whatever.  I never would have known who the man in the museum waiting for his wife one Sunday afternoon was 25 or so years ago if the museum director hadn't said, "Steve, have you met Arthur Miller?"

Well coming to Anchorage for the festival is one Rick Prelinger.  He teaches at UC Santa Cruz but more important he's a HUGE old film buff - specifically home videos and sponsored videos made to promote companies, ideas, and, not incidentally, cultural values.  So if you see this guy on the left, say hello.

In my tips for how to get the most out of the festival I include the advice to go to programs that include the film maker.  Well, I think in this case, it's a chance to meet a man who has spent a lot of time and effort learning about film making in the US and how it shapes us as a nation.  This is a big deal.

 He collected thousands of such films and we'll have the chance to see a road trip across the US made up of many of these old films and you'll be able to hear him talk about his truly remarkable Prelinger Archives that is part of the National Archives now.

Check out this short video to learn about one big aspect of Rick Prelinger.

 You have a chance to see his film Saturday night and see and hear him on a panel Sunday at the Museum.   From Festival Genius:

Matches: participants
No More Road Trips? isn't a conventional documentary. It's made completely from home movies that were shot by hundreds of people, starting in the mid-1920s. Its narrative traces a composite automobile journey from the Atlantic to the Pacific, beginning with the shoreline and historical monuments of New England and ending on a beach in southern California.
Sat, Dec 06, 9:00 PMAnchorage Community Works
Matches: synopsis
Join us for a scintillating and wide-ranging panel discussion on the history and future of moving image preservation in Alaska and the U.S. Our panel of experts will consist of Bob Curtis-Johnson of Summit Day Media in Anchorage, Kevin Tripp and Greg Schmitz of the Alaska Moving Image Preservation Association (AMIPA), and San Francisco Film Archivist and Filmmaker Rick Prelinger. 
Sun, Dec 07, 6:30 PMAnchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center

Here's what Wikipedia says about him:
"He worked at The Comedy Channel from its startup in 1989 until it was merged into the comedy network HA!, and then worked at Home Box Office until 1995. Rick has taught
in the MFA design program at New York's School of Visual Arts and lectures widely on American cultural and social history and on issues of cultural and intellectual property access. He sat (2001–2004) on the National Film Preservation Board as representative of the Association of Moving Image Archivists, was Board President of the San Francisco Cinematheque (2002–2007), and is currently a board member of the Internet Archive. In July 2013, he was appointed Associate Professor in the Department of Film & Digital Media at UC Santa Cruz.
His feature-length film Panorama Ephemera, depicting the conflicted landscapes of 20th-century America, opened in summer 2004. With spouse Megan Prelinger he is co-founder of the Prelinger Library, an appropriation-friendly reference library located in San Francisco. In recent years he has produced archival compilation films on the history of San Francisco (Lost Landscapes of San Francisco, eight annual films, 2006–2013, and Lost Landscapes of Detroit, three films, 2010–2012 and a fourth, "Yesterday and Tomorrow in Detroit", 2014.) He was awarded a Creative Capital grant in 2012 to make the film No More Road Trips?, which premiered in Austin, Texas, at South by Southwest in March 2013.[5]He wrote The Field Guide to Sponsored Films (2007) which "describes 452 historically or culturally significant motion pictures commissioned by businesses, charities, advocacy groups, and state or local government units between 1897 and 1980." It is available as a book and as a free PDF from the National Film Preservation Foundation. He worked at the Internet Archive (2005–2007) on a large-scale texts digitization project and (2004–2005) helped organize the Open Content Alliance."

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