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  • Archival News

San Francisco Bay Area Television Archive, San Francisco State University

With the cooperation of WNET, KQED, and the Library of Congress, the San Francisco Bay Area Television Archive provided the funding and coordination to remaster and digitize the ten-part TV series made by Dr. Maya Angelou for KQED in 1968, Blacks, Blues, Black!, which examines the influence of African American culture on modern American society. Once thought to be lost, the full program is now accessible online through the San Francisco State University’s DIVA system. Archivist Alex Cherian found a 16mm excerpt of the program in the Television Archive’s KQED collection and oversaw the long process of locating the full series at the Library of Congress and securing permissions from WNET (who made the LOC deposit of the series on 2-inch video) and KQED (the likely rights holder) to then process and digitize the series.

The Film & Media Archive at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri

The Film & Media Archive at Washington University in St. Louis recently acquired the Jack Willis Collection. Willis, a documentary filmmaker and television producer, donated several titles on 16mm film and video, including those produced for public television: Stella Adler; The House of Mirth; Appalachia: Rich Land, Poor People; Fidel at 60; and Lay My Burden Down, an Emmy-nominated film about black tenant farmers and their families in Alabama. The bulk of the Jack Willis Collection is comprised of 16mm film material shot and partially edited for a never-finished production about the civil rights era in the United States that Mr. Willis filmed in 1980. Interviewees include Ella Baker, C. C. Bryant, Ed King, Dr. Gwendolyn M. Patton, Rosa Parks, Wazier (Willie) Peacock, and others. Additional footage includes the activities and celebrations surrounding the twentieth anniversary of the sit-ins in Greensboro, Alabama.

Also, a new screening series at Washington University, The Henry Hampton Minority Documentarian Series, opened with a screening of Thomas [End Page 288] Allen Harris’s Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People in conjunction with the twenty-third annual Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival last fall. The series seeks to share documentary films made by minority filmmakers or those that depict the stories of often underrepresented groups, with a focus on the African American experience.

Reserve Film and Video Collection, New York Public Library

In 2014, the Reserve Film and Video Collection at the New York Public Library received a grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation to preserve six Youth Film Distribution Center (YFDC) titles. The selected titles are representative of the type of work the center distributed, emphasizing urban experiences, often told from the perspective of African American and Puerto Rican youth. Work on these restorations has resulted in Reserve Film and Video Collection staff coming into contact with scholars and filmmakers doing research on or associated with the YFDC and other historical youth media agencies, both in New York and around the country, such as the Film Club, 92Y, Yellow Ball Workshop, and the Studio Museum of Harlem.

The New York Public Library recognized the importance of the YFDC collection since the distribution cooperative’s founding and has acquired a range of films it distributed over decades. When the library undertook a preservation initiative in the late 1990s, several of these titles were selected, including Sides, a short narrative work about an interracial romance, made by a Japanese American teenage girl, and A Memory of John Earl, in which a young African American filmmaker recreated a real-life racial encounter he’d experienced. In 2001, working with Rodger Larson, who founded of the Young Filmmakers Foundation in 1968, the library accepted a donation of approximately two hundred additional titles, all in the original 16mm production format.

News from the Black Film Center/Archive, Indiana University Bloomington: Public Programs

The Black Film Center/Archive (BFC/A) continued its programming relationship with the Indiana University Cinema with film screenings through the 2015 spring semester. During the spring semester, the BFC/A hosted two programs at the Indiana University Cinema: “Black Silence: Films by Zeinabu Irene Davis and Charles Lane” and “Just Another Notion: Short Films by Mike...


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