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Chicago, Illinois 60616
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August 30, 2023

NFPF Funds CFA Preservation of Four Films by Bill Stamets

Rudy Lozano


CFA is thrilled to have been awarded a Preservation Grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation to photochemically preserve four films by Super-8 filmmaker Bill Stamets:

  • Harold is Gone (1987), an examination of public mourning and political ritual shot in the days following the sudden death of Chicago’s Mayor Harold Washington on November 25, 1987.
  • Novo Dextro: Purity and Danger (1982), an experimental documentary depicting an American Nazi Party rally held in Lincoln Park during Chicago’s 1982 Gay and Lesbian Pride Parade.
  • Rock Sox Disco Sux (1979), an ethnography of Chicago’s notorious “Disco Demolition Night,” a promotional stunt-turned-riot held at a White Sox game on July 12, 1979.
  • [Rudy Lozano] (1983), loosely-constructed footage capturing the southwest side of Chicago’s response to the murder of Mexican-American labor rights activist Rudy Lozano.

These Super-8 films reflect Stamets’ deep investment in chronicling civic life in Chicago, exposing how Chicagoans have expressed both love and hate through spectacle and collective action. Chosen for their distinct small gauge aesthetic and their historical significance, this group of films encapsulates CFA’s mission to preserve Midwestern history and culture; these depictions of life in Chicago in the 1970s and ‘80s are warts-and-all portraits of our frequently polarized city. You can watch Rock Sox Disco Sux and [Rudy Lozano] on our website, though the audio for [Rudy Lozano] has not yet been digitized. Video transfers of Harold is Gone and Novo Dextro: Purity and Danger are available to stream via Media Burn Independent Video Archive.

Chicago-based photojournalist, critic and filmmaker Bill Stamets has been recording what he describes as “a miscellany of civic occasions where Americans make sense of power” since 1976. He has been an especially avid documenter of Chicago’s many protests, parades, and political campaigns—both mainstream and marginal. Stamets began donating his films to Chicago Film Archives in 2014; our Bill Stamets Collection has since grown to nearly 350 films, almost all of which are one-of-a-kind Super-8 reversal originals with magnetic stripe soundtracks.

Working from the original mag-striped reversal workprints, we will collaborate with Colorlab to photochemically preserve these four titles to 16mm polyester film with optical soundtracks, making them significantly more accessible for exhibition and research.

Since 2005, CFA has photochemically preserved more than 40 films from our collection thanks to the NFPF, a nonprofit organization created by the U.S. Congress to help save America’s film heritage. You can read more about CFA’s previous NFPF-funded projects on our Conservation Projects page. Many thanks to the NFPF for their continued support in preserving these films for the future!