dontate now

Contact
Join Email List

Facebook  Become a Fan on Facebook
twitter  Follow Us on Twitter

329 West 18th Street Suite #610
Chicago, Illinois 60616
(312) 243-1808
info@chicagofilmarchives.org

June 15, 2018

Millie Goldsholl’s “Rebellion of the Flowers”

Millie Goldsholl’s Rebellion of the Flowers (1992) appears to be the last film she completed and one that she poured an incredible amount of creative passion and energy into. Completed three years before her husband’s death, the film is dedicated to “Morton Goldsholl and the Good People who resist the abuse of power in any form.” It’s easy to see Millie’s love and admiration for her husband reflected in the content of the film—in particular its emphasis on respect, humility, and equality.

Narrated by Shepard Strudwick, Rebellion of the Flowers tells the story of a gardener, Jan, who “understood nature’s needs” and worked hard to grow and care for his plants. He protected and looked after his flowers, providing them with “love and gentle care.” He took great pride in his work and, as a result of his labor, felt “filled with purpose” and “close to God.” However, Jan’s love and adoration of the flowers transforms into a distortion of his power, as he becomes jealous of the flowers bowing “under the intense authority of the sun.” Jan’s body reflects this internal transformation, and he becomes a looming totalitarian figure demanding the obedience of his flowers. Read More »

May 1, 2018

Categorizing JoAnn Elam’s Films

The following is adapted from a short presentation given by Brian Belak, Collections Manager for Chicago Film Archives, at the Association of Moving Image Archivists’ Annual Conference in New Orleans, LA, on December 1, 2017. The panel “Woman Behind the Camera: Uncovering An Overlooked Perspective” also featured archivists from Northeast Historic Film, the Lesbian Home Movie Project, and the Center for Home Movies discussing their work on the project.

The JoAnn Elam Collection came to CFA in 2011 and consists of over 735 total elements, 516 of which are reels of 16mm, 8mm, and Super 8mm film, with the remainder videotapes, audiotapes, and several boxes of papers and fixed ephemera. Elam herself was a central figure in the Chicago experimental film scene of the 1970s and ‘80s. Her work is engaged with issues of feminism, depiction of women and women’s labor in media, and domestic and everyday spaces on film.

JoAnn Elam in "Boyers & Rhinos" (circa 1981)

JoAnn Elam in “Boyers & Rhinos” (circa 1981)

Read More »

April 13, 2018

Italian premiere of the International Media Mixer

The Italian premiere of the International Media Mixer project on Sunday March 11, 2018 was such a powerful experience—it’s difficult to put it into words. If you aren’t familiar with the project you can read more about it here. CFA’s Media Mixer project began in 2013 as a way to inspire the creative reuse of our films by contemporary artists working in video and sound. With the generous support of the MacArthur Foundation’s International Connections Fund, this was our first international iteration of the project, and it has been an enormous success!

Video documentation courtesy of the Bergamo Film Meeting
Read More »

April 6, 2018

Designed to be Seen: Art and Function in Chicago Mid-Century Film

Stiegler_04

still image from Robert Stiegler’s Licht Spiel Nur I (circa 1967)

We are extremely proud to announce Designed to be Seen: Art and Function in Chicago Mid-Century Film - a four program film series that will screen in fall 2018 as part of the Terra Foundation for American Art’s Art Design Chicago initiative. Art Design Chicago is a wide-ranging initiative spearheaded by the Terra Foundation and developed in partnership with more than 60 cultural organizations to explore the ongoing influence of Chicago’s art and design history.

Designed to be Seen: Art and Function in Chicago Mid-Century Film will present—for the very first time—a series of screenings that reframe the history of cinema in Chicago through various lenses and modes of production. This four program series will illuminate the diverse factors that have shaped the filmic landscape of the region from the mid-century through the 1970s. The first program in the series, “Form and Function: The Legacy of the Institute of Design,” provides historical context and a new perspective on the lasting impact of Lászlo Moholy-Nagy’s teachings at the New Bauhaus. The second and third programs, focused on industrial, commercial, sponsored, and advertising films, examine the innovative design work being done on film in the mid-century. The final program in the series, “Personal Legacies: Materiality and Abstraction,” presents personal and experimental films made by the artists who worked for the design studios and corporations highlighted in the second and third programs of the series. As a whole, the series tells a chapter of Chicago’s history on film that has yet to be seen.

Read More »

March 15, 2018

2007 Interview with Millie Goldsholl

On April 20, 2007, Chicago Film Archives Executive Director Nancy Watrous interviewed Millie Goldsholl, filmmaker and designer, at her home in Highland Park, Illinois. The following edited excerpts feature Millie describing her earliest work at the School of Design (now the IIT Institute of Design) in Chicago, where she studied under Hungarian-born artist László Moholy-Nagy. Millie passed away in 2012 at the age of 92.

March 7, 2018

CFA International Media Mixer 2018: Meet the Artists!

We’re so thrilled to introduce the amazing lineup of artists who are participating in our first ever CFA International Media Mixer! If you aren’t already familiar with the project, please read more about it here.

Giuseppe Boccassini (IT) + Alex Inglizian (US)
Lori Felker (US) + Patrizia Oliva (IT)
Federico Francioni & Yan Cheng (IT) + Tomeka Reid (US)

Domietta Torlasco (US) + Stefano Urkuma De Santis (IT)

Read More »

March 2, 2018

Inspecting Millie Goldsholl’s Personal Reels

By Olivia Babler

Since joining Chicago Film Archives as a transfer technician last October, one of my main long-term projects has consisted of inspecting, stabilizing and digitizing films from the Mort & Millie Goldsholl Collection as part of the “Woman Behind the Camera” project. While the couple are best known for their mid-century graphic design and advertising campaigns with Chicago-based Goldsholl Design & Film Associates, this grant has enabled CFA to spend more time focusing on the home movies and travel footage Millie Goldsholl (1920–2012) shot across the U.S., Japan, Africa and Europe in the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s.

IMG_4215-e1518216229933-1024x307

Label taped to an otherwise untitled reel in the Mort & Millie Goldsholl Collection

Our first step towards making Millie’s films accessible was to complete inspection of the vast collection, which was donated to CFA in 2006 and 2010. Just last week, the CFA team wrapped up inspecting all 322 16mm films in our Goldsholl collection. In addition to completing condition reports and collecting metadata for each film, we also prepared the films for digitization by attaching fresh leader, measuring shrinkage, and testing the resilience of splices. While there was the occasional unpleasant surprise (Mold! Masking tape splices! Vinegar syndrome! Indecipherable handwriting!), we were delighted to find that almost all of Millie’s films have maintained their vibrant colors (thanks, Kodachrome!) and had not shrunken too much to be transferred on our Tobin telecine. As we inspected, we came across stunning footage and lovely family moments that we are excited to share in the coming months.

Read More »

February 7, 2018

Italian Premiere of the International Media Mixer in Bergamo!

Video by Cerise Films / Original Track “Birdseed” by Salvatore Córdova

We’re thrilled to announce the Italian premiere of our International Media Mixer project in Bergamo, Italy at the Bergamo Film Meeting Festival on March 11, 2018. This very special screening will feature live audio accompaniment to four brand new commissioned videos that were made using archival footage from the collections of the Chicago Film Archives and Lab 80 filmCinescatti. We are so excited that Alex Inglizian and Tomeka Reid, accompanied by CFA’s Michelle Puetz, will meet up with their Italian collaborators for the first time for this performance in Bergamo.

We are so lucky to be working with such talented artists on this project!

Giuseppe Boccassini (IT) + Alex Inglizian (US)
Lori Felker (US) + Patrizia Oliva (IT)
Federico Francioni & Yan Cheng (IT) + Tomeka Reid (US)
Domietta Torlasco (US) + Stefano Urkuma De Santis (IT)

Mark your calendars for the US premiere, which will take place in Chicago (outdoors on a very, very big screen!) on July 17, 2018.

You can read more about the process here & visit the Bergamo Film Meeting Festival’s event listing here.

This project is one of 15 artistic partnerships supported by the MacArthur Foundation’s International Connections Fund.

 

MacArth_primary_logo_stacked

 

 

DCASE_2018_logo

 

logoLab80film_web           cinescattiLOGO_web

 

logo

 

December 26, 2017

CFA Media Mixer 2017 (in review)

CFAMediaMixer2019Blue-1024x606

As 2017 comes to a close, we’re reflecting back on some of our favorite events and this year’s Media Mixer (our 6th annual) was a definite highlight! We had so much fun at the Hideout (as usual!) and this year’s videos were fantastic. They’re streaming below for you to enjoy.

2017′s talented lineup included:

Eric Fleischauer + Matchess
Samantha Hill + Haptic
Marianna Milhorat + Brian Kirkbride

More on this year’s artists here!

Read More »

December 18, 2017

Scanning JoAnn Elam’s “Filmabuse (Original)”

By Justin Dean and Brian Belak

One of our missions for the Woman Behind the Camera project is to digitize and make accessible online the film work of JoAnn Elam, but as can be the case, that has sometimes turned out easier said than done. Recently, we found a curious reel labeled “Filmabuse (Original)” that presented a challenge for digitizing and required altering our previously established workflow. This uncut double-8mm reel appeared to be an element of a previously digitized (and already streaming) film, “Filmabuse” (circa 1975), an abstract 16mm film that was likely printed from originally hand-painted film. Although probably not the original hand-painted film itself, “Filmabuse (Original)” appeared to be an element that “Filmabuse” was printed from. From what we can determine, the same footage from “Filmabuse (Original)” is repeated four times on “Filmabuse,” each time with variation in direction and orientation. What was initially striking was how vivid the colors of “Filmabuse (Original)” were when compared to “Filmabuse.” Not only was some vibrancy likely lost in the initial printing, but, due to the color process used to make the print, the color of “Filmabuse” has faded over the years.

“Filmabuse (Original)” – Double 8mm

“Filmabuse” – 16mm

Read More »

November 1, 2017

JoAnn Elam’s Everyday People (1978-1990) at Chicago Film Archives

By Aurore Spiers, University of Chicago

The JoAnn Elam Collection (1967-1990) at Chicago Film Archives (CFA) consists of approximately 735 film, video, audio elements and some paper material, which JoAnn Elam’s husband Joe Hendrix donated in 2011. In addition to Elam’s best known films, such as Rape (1975) and Lie Back and Enjoy It (1982), the collection includes dozens of short films and home movies as well as footage and audio tapes for some unfinished projects like Everyday People (1978-1990). Diaries, notebooks, research material, scrapbooks, and production notes for Everyday People complete CFA’s collection, which gives us unprecedented access to Elam’s rich body of work.

JoAnn Elam in the 1970s.

JoAnn Elam in the 1970s.

Read More »

September 11, 2017

The JoAnn Elam Collection at Chicago Film Archives

by Aurore Spiers, University of Chicago

The JoAnn Elam Collection (1967-1990) at Chicago Film Archives (CFA) is one of the 58 archival projects receiving generous support from the Woman Behind the Camera. It consists of approximately 735 film, video, and audio elements and some paper material, which JoAnn Elam’s husband Joe Hendrix donated in 2011. Since then, CFA has inventoried, digitized, and catalogued some of this material, giving the public unprecedented online access to the filmmaker’s work. 

In addition to Elam’s best known films, such as Rape (1975) and Lie Back and Enjoy It (1982), the collection includes many short films, home movies, and unedited footage for Everyday People (1979-1990) and other unfinished projects. It also features medical films by Elam’s father, James O. Elam, M.D., and home movies by Joe Hendrix. This heterogeneity together with the diversity of formats (8mm, Super 8mm, video, 16mm, and audio tapes) and the scarcity of remaining information about some of the material make the JoAnn Elam Collection an archival challenge, one that I was excited to learn about and work on as CFA’s research intern this summer. 

JoAnn Elam, date unknown.

JoAnn Elam in the late 1970s.

Read More »

April 26, 2017

2018 International Media Mixer!

The Chicago Film Archives (Chicago, IL) and Lab 80Cinescatti (Bergamo, Italy) are thrilled to announce a new international artistic collaboration—the 2018 International Media Mixer! This project is one of 15 artistic partnerships supported by the MacArthur Foundation’s International Connections Fund.

The International Media Mixer is a cross-cultural “call and response” exchange, bringing together artists from two different countries to explore the process of creating hybrid works of media art. The project sheds new light on the international practice of media conservation and artistic creation.

Here’s how it works: Michelle Puetz, Curator of Public Programming at the Chicago Film Archives, and Karianne Fiorini, film archivist and curator associated with Lab 80 – Cinescatti, each commissioned two local video artists and two local sound artists to collaborate on the creation of four new videos using archival footage. Here is where the exchange comes in: the two filmmakers from Italy and Chicago create new works using digitized footage from the partner archive (Italian-based artists use footage from the Chicago Film Archives and Chicago-based artists use footage from Lab 80 – Cinescatti). Each new silent video is then scored by the sound artists/musicians from the partnering country. Upon completion, the four new pieces will screen in the US and in Italy with live accompaniment by the musicians who created the scores.

The artists selected for the 2018 International Media Mixer are:

Giuseppe Boccassini (IT) + Alex Inglizian (US)
Lori Felker (US) + Patrizia Oliva (IT)
Federico Francioni & Yan Cheng (IT) + Tomeka Reid (US)
Domietta Torlasco (US) + Stefano Urkuma De Santis (IT)

STAY TUNED FOR MORE UPDATES AND INFORMATION!

Read More »

April 7, 2017

CFA Media Mixer 2017: Meet this Year’s Artists

We’re so thrilled to announce the amazing lineup of artists participating in this year’s CFA Media Mixer event. Now in its sixth year (!!!), the Media Mixer has grown to be one of our most anticipated and exciting public programs. The project began in 2012 as a way to open up our vault of archival footage to Chicago-based contemporary artists and support the creation of a new video work by pairing these visual artists with local sound artists and musicians.

This year’s artists are (video + sound):

Eric Fleischauer + Matchess
Samantha Hill + Haptic
Marianna Milhorat + Brian Kirkbride

The evening will be hosted by Alison Cuddy, and former Media Mixer artist Latham Zearfoss will be our guest DJ!

At the heart of the project is a desire to give our archival collections new life through the creative interpretation of a new generation of makers. Last month our three visual artists sent in prompts and ideas for their projects, and we pooled our knowledge of CFA’s collections to load them up with source footage (including rarely seen gems and a few staff favorites!). They are just starting to work on editing their pieces and are already in conversation with the three talented and diverse audio artists they have been paired with.

On June 8 you’re all invited to the Hideout to celebrate the world premiere of their collaborations and benefit your favorite Midwest film archive! Tickets can be purchased here. It’s CFA’s Media Mixer 2017!

Read More »

March 22, 2017

Bobby Lee (1942-2017)

BobbyLee

Our friend Bobby Lee passed away yesterday. Bob was a community organizer and a member of the Chicago Black Panthers. His home has been the 5th Ward in Houston over the past few decades, and he is indeed known as “Da Mayor” of the 5th Ward.

Bobby Lee was one of those rare people who had the ability to form unlikely friendships and connect to the humanity of whoever he was engaged with, whether it was a transplanted, white Appalachian mom or a Chicago police commander, or myself…a girl who grew up in the suburbs, trying to find the audience for her upstart film archive.

I can’t remember if I met or only “knew of” Bob in the early ’80s through photographer Michael O’Sullivan. But I came to know Bob so much better in 2006 when I asked him to be a panelist at an early program CFA created called To Bear Witness: The Question of Violence. He shared the stage with Robert Lucas, who led civil rights protesters in the 1966 Cicero March, and Paul Sequeira, a gifted Chicago photojournalist whose work was prolific here in Chicago during the ’60s and ’70s. The discussion that night veered most often to that careful balance between anger and purpose and loss.

During this time, Bob would call me a lot, and we had long conversations about his past and the work he did in the 5th Ward. This work often constituted mowing older neighbors’ lawns, collecting clothes and toys for the kids in the ward, and building community centers. I was a worried mom then, worried about the dangers that my pre-teen kid might face, and we talked about that too. We talked about Mike Gray, Jim Dennett, and Bill Cottle of the Film Group. We discussed Howard Alk who directed The Murder of Fred Hampton and American Revolution II and his difficult and crazy shortened life. Bob’s losses were considerable over his lifetime. He lost brothers in the Panthers, his younger blood brother El Franco Lee and his nephew, James Byrd who was dragged behind a pickup truck until he died by white supremacists in Jasper, Texas.

In 2008 I went down to Houston to tape Bob for a CFA retrospective on Howard Alk. Bob met me at the airport, parking his big black sedan (if I remember that correctly) right outside the baggage claim. He stepped out of the car with his arms open wide, one of them grasping a cane that seemed to extend into eternity. That began a three day visit I will never forget. I stayed with Bob and his wife Faiza at their house while I was there. We ate ribs, visited his work, and shot that interview about Alk. Each morning that I was there, Bob would get up at 4am to prepare coffee and breakfast for Faiza and me. That is when he also quietly worked on his newsletters (or artistic pronouncements of activities, movements and beliefs). Faiza would go to work, and we went to work preparing to tape his interview.

But the most startling and memorable time I had during that visit was having dinner with Faiza and Bob in their bedroom watching not-too-significant television. I was in my pajamas on the floor, Bob was in a chair, clearly set up for his support and comfort, and Faiza in bed, all of us eating some great food she had prepared and laughing at really stupid stuff. I remember for one sliver of a moment thinking this is both so surreal and so comfortable.

Bob had MS the entire time I knew him. He used a cane and then more often used a wheelchair as time moved on. He was the most positive and forceful person I have ever met.

-Nancy