Monday, December 11, 2017

AIFF 2017: Saving Brinton Look At A Few Of Those Old Movies With John Zahs

Saving Brinton tied fort 3rd in the AIFF 2017 documentary category.(See all the winners here.) It won the audience award for docs.  Here's part of Mike Zahs' talk after it was shown in Anchorage with some of the recovered footage he discovered.  This is neat old (first decade of 1900) footage.  They were already using the medium to make things disappear and reappear.

But before we get to the video [you can skip to down below if you can't wait]  I've been thinking a lot about documentaries this week - how they're structured particularly. Most of the docs I've seen this week are narrated only by the characters in the movie.  There's no traditional omniscient voice telling us what's happening.   Saving Brinton had the benefit of a main character who is articulate, knowledgable, and infectious, and visually arresting.

John Zahs, AIFF 2017

There were other docs that weren't so lucky to have characters that could tell their stories so well, or to have stories that were easy to tell because they were pretty tangible.

And his story is tangible and compelling.  Zahs discovers all the old films - really old, first decade of 1900 - saved by the Brinton estate.  The Brintons owned movie theaters throughout the midwest.  The films were mostly very well preserved and amongst them are films thought to have been lost to the world.  The movie chronicles this.

After the showing of Saving Brinton, director Tommy Haines and  Mike Zahs did a Q&A in the dark.  But Zahs surprised the audience by showing some of the vintage films he found and restored.  Since there was something to see, I turned on my video camera.  I did ask for (and got) permission from John Zahs to put them up here.

Saving Brinton was only shown once and I'm hoping it will be available again in the Best of The Fest Sunday night. [It wasn't.]

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