Archive | Films RSS feed for this section

Home Movie Day Around the World

17 Oct

Just a reminder that Home Movie Day in St. Louis happens tomorrow at St. Louis Central Public Library in the Creative Experience Room, 1pm – 3pm.

Washington University Film & Media Archive and the St. Louis Central Public Library host this event that invites the public to share their Regular 8mm, Super 8mm, 16mm, VHS and DVD home movies. In addition to screening home movies, the event provides an opportunity to learn how to care for home movies. 

Home Movie Day is an international event and the Center for Home Movies has been highlighting films from around the world. Below is a home movie that was shown at Home Movie Day Hirosaki, Aomori, Japan. (Junji Shinohara, 1975, Super 8, color, silent, 7:00. Location: Natsudomari and Asamushi, Japan).

The Center for Home Movies has also highlighted the films of Peter Mork. (1969-1970, 8mm, color, silent with commentary by Peter Mork, 8:35. Locations: Lake Ossipee, New Hampshire; Weston, Massachusetts; 3. Nantucket, Massachusetts).

These films show the unique and special nature of home movies, both personal in nature and a visual record of how culture, fashion, cities, and places have changed over the years, they can be enjoyed by anyone.

Home Movie Day in St. Louis is free and will be held in the Creative Experience Room, 1pm – 3pm. Film drop off will begin at noon.

For more information about this event, contact WU Film & Media Archive.

RAWSTOCK Film Screening

21 Mar


The Washington University Visual Media Research Lab presents RAWSTOCK, a free archival screening night where anything goes!

Join us as we unearth the rarest treasures hidden deep within the vaults of Washington University Libraries. From educational films to burlesque acts, there’s no telling what we will find!

2712 Cherokee St.

St. Louis, MO 63118

Friday, April 25 ~ 8 p.m.

Check our Facebook event page for updates:

For any questions contact the Film & Media Archive at or 314-935-8679.



Inside the Film Archive

14 Feb
Film & Media Archive stacks

Washington University Film & Media Archive stacks

The climate controlled vault at the Film & Media Archive was designed to address the challenges of storing film and other media to ensure the material lasts for the maximum amount of time and remains in the best condition.

Film preservation efforts varied over time, but unfortunately 90 percent of all American silent films made before 1929 and 50 percent of American sound films made before 1950 are lost. ( Dave Kehr (14 October 2010). “Film Riches, Cleaned Up for Posterity”New York Times.

To properly store film the temperature and humidity must be controlled and provide a stable environment for the materials. Filmmakers and historians recognized the need for this and the Museum of Modern Art in New York was one of the first institutions to collect and preserve film. Followed by the founding of the  George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film in 1947, the American Film Institute founded in 1967, and The Film Foundation, created by Martin Scorsese in 1990. This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but over the years film preservationists have  continued to make advances in how film is stored and treated.

The Washington University Film & Media Archive currently contains 6,500,000 feet (based on can size),  1,300 linear feet (manuscript boxes), 19,900 video tapes, 10, 150 audio tapes, 4,650 books, 160 CDs, 800 DVDs, and 25,000 photographs.

 Photos by Alison Carrick. 

The Harry Wald Collection

3 May
Film cans from the Harry Wald Collection

Film cans from the Harry Wald Collection. Photo by Alison Carrick.

In Fall 2012, the Film & Media Archive acquired The Harry Wald Collection, an assemblage of burlesque films largely from the 1930s to the 1960s. The collection consists of 250 reels of 35 mm film, including the original negative of Tijuana After Midnite (1954).

Harry Wald owned and operated theaters in the St. Louis area for many years, including the Grand Theater, formerly located downtown on Market Street near Broadway. The Grand Theater produced burlesque and comedy shows from the 1940s until 1963 when it was demolished.

The World Theater, formerly located on St. Charles Street and now demolished as well, went through many changes over the years. Under Wald’s ownership, the theater showed risqué movies and also produced stage shows. The collection includes the original negative of Tijuana After Midnite (1954), a film produced by Wald, and  Dance Hall Racket (1953) written by and starring the comedian, Lenny Bruce.

This collection will provide not only a cultural history of mid-twentieth century America but is also part of St. Louis history, and documents the burlesque and variety shows which were produced at that time.

Film cans from the Harry Wald Collection

Film cans from the Harry Wald Collection. Photo by Alison Carrick.

Film cans from the Harry Wald Collection

Film cans from the Harry Wald Collection. Photo by Alison Carrick.

Home Movie Day in St. Louis, October 20, 2012

12 Oct

Come join us for Home Movie Day in St. Louis!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

West Campus Conference Center

Noon- 3 pm

Washington University Film & Media Archive hosts the annual Home Movie Day, an international event that invites the public to share their Regular 8mm, Super 8mm, 16mm, VHS and DVD home movies. In addition to screening home movies, the event provides an opportunity to learn how to care for home movies.

Home Movie Day in St. Louis is a free event and will be held at the West Campus Conference Center from noon to 3 pm on Saturday, October 20, 2012.

This year we are proud to debut a recently preserved film featuring the only known footage of the influential writer, editor, and critic, Ford Madox Ford. Washington University’s Film & Media Archive was recently awarded a National Film Preservation Foundation (NFPF) grant to preserve the George T. Keating Home Movie featuring Ford Madox Ford. This 16mm film consists of images of Mr. Ford enjoying an afternoon with family members and friends on the grounds of Mr. Keating’s home in Plainfield, New Jersey, circa 1929. As the only known footage of Mr. Ford in existence, this rare portrait preserves the legacy of one of the most prolific writers of modernist literature.

George T. Keating Home Movie featuring Ford Madox Ford

George T. Keating Home Movie featuring Ford Madox Ford

In addition to this rare find, and a program of films from the Film & Media Archive’s Collection, we will be screening participants home movies. Home Movie Day is an annual international event that was started ten years ago by a group of film archivists who were concerned about the fate and condition of the home movies of the 20th century. As technology changed people began to get their films transferred to VHS and DVD, and sometimes discarded the original films. Participants of Home Movie Day can watch these unique, irreplaceable films and learn about how to care and preserve their 8mm, Super 8mm, and 16mm films. As the Home Movie Day site states,

Original films (and the equipment required to view them) can long outlast any version on VHS tape, DVDs, or other digital media. Not only that, but contrary to the stereotype of the faded, scratched, and shaky home movie image, the original films are often carefully shot in beautiful, vibrant color—which may not be captured in a lower-resolution video transfer.

Contact the Film & Media Archive ( or 314-935-8679) for information about including your home movies in the program.

Film & Media Archive Vault

17 Aug
Film & Media Archive vault

Film & Media Archive Stacks

The vault in the Film & Media Archive at Washington University is a climate controlled environment specifically designed for film, audio, and video material. When Washington University acquired the Henry Hampton Collection in 2001, a climate controlled vault was designed and built to properly house and preserve this material. The Archive employs two Image Permanence Institute Preservation Environment Monitors and the Climate Notebook Software to ensure that vault temperatures remain within the ISO “cool” standards and that relative humidity remains between 30% and 50%. Temperature and relative humidity is monitored twenty-four hours a days, seven days a week. In addition to temperature and humidity controls, the vault has security and fire alarms.

Film & Media Archive Stacks

Film & Media Archive Stacks

One of the Film Archive’s projects this summer has been to reorganize and shift items to create a more efficient shelving system, and allow room to grow for future collections. This involved detailed planning to maximize the space in the vault as well as the physical work of cleaning and reconfiguring the shelves, and shifting the items. The Archive currently holds 6,500,000 feet of film, 1,300 linear feet of manuscripts, approximately 20,000 videotapes, over 10,000 audiotapes and reels, and a significant library of books, CDs and DVDs. At the end of this project approximately 25,000 items will have been shifted and reorganized. This includes the majority of the video tapes, cassettes, DATs, 1/4″ audio reels, and all the books housed in the vault.

Film & Media Archive Stacks

Film & Media Archive Stacks

For more information on film preservation and proper storage and care of media materials the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) has numerous publications available as pdf downloads, including the guide, Film Preservation Manual for Home and Independent Filmmakers.

The Barber of Birmingham

27 Jan

“Dying isn’t the worst thing a man can do. The worst thing a man can do is nothing.” –James Armstrong

The Barber of Birmingham has been nomination for an Academy Award in the category of  Best Documentary Short Film. This documentary is a portrait of James Armstrong, barber and foot soldier in the civil rights movement. Armstrong owned and operated Armstrong Barbershop in downtown Birmingham, Alabama for over 50 years. From this vantage point, he met many of the leaders of the movement in Birmingham, including Martin Luther King, Jr. who was a client.

Armstrong was active in the civil rights movement from the beginning. He filed a lawsuit in August 1957 which led to the desegregation of Graymont Elementary in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963. His sons, Dwight and Floyd, became the first African-American children to attend that school. During the violent confrontation on “Bloody Sunday” in Selma, Alabama, Armstrong was on the front lines as a flag bearer, and continues to be the flag bearer during the annual commemoration of that march. He also participated in protests to integrate the Greyhound Bus waiting room and stores in downtown Birmingham. The second of these protests resulted in jail time for Armstrong. Over the years, Armstrong continued to cut hair, run his shop, and provide customers and visitors with a history lesson and inspiration at the same time.

The Film and Media Archive assisted the filmmakers with research and provided clips from a documentary about voting rights, Streets of Greenwood, by Jack Willis. Armstrong was also interviewed for Henry Hampton’s ground-breaking series, Eyes on the Prize. The full interview can be read here. When Hampton set out to make Eyes on the Prize, he wanted to interview people like Armstrong, activists who were not famous or well-known, but who were instrumental and vital to the success of the civil rights movement.

View the trailer here:

And learn more about the film from the official website or facebook page.