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

CFA at the Taste of Chicago!

Location:

235 South Columbus Drive, Chicago IL 60604
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Dates:

Wednesday, July 11 - Sunday, July 15

Hours:

11am - 9pm (Wednesday - Friday)
10am - 9pm (Saturday - Sunday)

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Still from “In the Valley of the Hudson” (Julian Gromer Collection, 1951)

This year, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events has invited CFA to open its vault for the Taste of Chicago (July 11-15). CFA invites you to stop by the Petrillo Music Shell—not only for great music—but to see some never-before-seen films from our archives. When the music ends, the films begin. We hope to see you there!

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Everyday Resistance: Archiving Your Family History Workshop

Location:

301 E. Garfield Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60637
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Dates:

Thursday, June 28

Hours:

6:30-8:30pm

Admissions:

Free

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The South Side Home Movie Project’s archivist Candace Ming and a team of film preservationists, Brian Belak, Collections Manager and Client Services Director, Chicago Film Archives, and Dan Erdman, Archivist, Media Burn Independent Video Archive, will lead a workshop on how to care for, preserve, and catalog your family’s archival materials whether they be film, video, documents or photographs. The team will inspect, assess and make recommendations on maintaining your family’s historic records in the best conditions. Families who choose to contribute 8mm, Super-8 and 16mm films to the SSHMP archive will receive free digital copies. Complete information on donation available on-site.

RSVP: http://bit.ly/preservationworkshop

This program is in conjunction with the exhibition “Everyday Resistance: The Art of Living in Black Chicago” on view at the Arts Incubator through July 6, 2018. Home movies by amateur South Side filmmakers animate a domestic space, offering a visual record of leisure, performativity and an aesthetic of Blackness from the 1940s through the 1980s. For a complete schedule of programs, please visit: http://bit.ly/EverydayResistance.

Presented by Arts + Public Life with the South Side Home Movie Project.

Arts + Public Life, an initiative of UChicago Arts, builds creative connections on Chicago’s South Side through artist residencies, arts education, and artist-led projects and events. We envision a robust, collaborative, and meaningful relationship between the University of Chicago and the South Side’s vibrant civic, cultural, and artistic communities. Learn more at: arts.uchicago.edu/apl.

Out of the Vault: Secrets of Nature

Location:

5720 N. Ridge Avenue
Chicago IL 60660
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Dates:

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Hours:

8pm

Admissions:

Suggested donation, $8

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still from Wheels Across America  (Julian Gromer, 1968)

As spring blooms into summer, the city comes alive with the many colors of new plant life. But even though we live among and admire the foliage, our interactions with it retain an air of mystery. Do we seek to understand the plant world’s inner-workings, like nature photographer and Winnetka native John Ott (Secrets of Nature) or the alien scientists and their robot sidekick of Mission Third Planet: Green Grow the Plants? Can we take an active role in nurturing its growth, like filmmaker and gardener JoAnn Elam (Collards Garden 1985), or is there more to be learned from observing and allowing for the natural cycles of life (The Fall of Freddie the Leaf and Rebellion of the Flowers)? Mixing scientific examination with philosophical meditation, time-lapse photography with experimental animation, and educational with personal, diaristic filmmaking, this program seeks to unveil just a few of the many secrets of nature. Our Facebook event page is here & advance tickets will be available soon.

Films screening:

Secrets of Nature (1951, 16mm, b&w, sound, 6 minutes, Margaret Conneely Collection)

Part of the “Nature’s Wonderland” series, this short film celebrates the work of Dr. John Ott, the “father of photobiology,” at work inside his greenhouse studio located behind his Winnetka home. Ott helped develop and popularize time-lapse photography and full spectrum lighting. His experiments with different colored lighting systems and their effects on the health of plants eventually led to experiments with colored lights on the health of animals and humans.

Excerpts from Wheels Across America (Julian Gromer, 1968, 16mm transferred to digital, color, silent, 6 minutes, Julian Gromer Collection)

Cinematic experiments from the home studio of Elgin resident and filmmaker, Julian Gromer (1907-1986), including microscopic crystal growth (AKA micrographs) and John Ott-inspired plant movement. These portions were originally spliced into an edited travelogue following young men on a bicycle trip cross-country (San Francisco to New York City).

Mission Third Planet: Green Grow the Plants (Don Klugman, 1979, 16mm, color, sound, 15 minutes, Don Klugman Collection)

A pair of young extraterrestrial scientists, helped by charming robot Ten-ping, investigate and classify plant life on Earth while simultaneously fending off the villainous anti-science Cetillians. Written and directed by Chicago filmmaker Don Klugman.

Life Cycle of a Flowering Plant, Part 1: The Plant Cell, Male and Female Flower Parts (Don T. Schloat, 1971, 16mm, color, sound, 11 minutes, Lincoln Middle School Collection)

With bouncy music and bright animation from Don T. Schloat (also an animator for He-Man and Spider-Man, among other series), this film details the basics of asexual and sexual reproduction in plants and the names for the parts involved. Part one of a three-part series.

The Fall of Freddie the Leaf (Bernard Wilets, 1986, 16mm, color, sound, 17 minutes, Chicago Public Library Collection)

Born in the spring, Freddie the leaf revels in the excitement of living in the cool breeze and summer sun, but as the season changes to fall and all the leaves start to change color, Freddie learns to accept his natural fate. A moving allegory for all cycles of life, based on the book by Leo Buscaglia.

Collards Garden 1985 (JoAnn Elam, 1985, 8mm transferred to digital, color, silent, 8 minutes, JoAnn Elam Collection)

Part of a series of short films documenting her garden over several years, Chicago experimental filmmaker and master gardener JoAnn Elam stars in this film about growing collard greens. Her skill and love for the process is on full display as she carefully prepares the plot of land, plants each sprout, and finally harvests the fully-grown leaves for use indoors.

Rebellion of the Flowers (Millie Goldsholl, 1992, 35mm transferred to digital, color, sound, 9 minutes, Mort and Millie Goldsholl Collection)

In this animated story dedicated to “the Good People who resist the abuse of power in any form,” a gardener flaunts his control over the flowers in his garden, only to face the unexpected retaliation of his blossoming tenants. This rarely-screened 35mm short from Chicago mid-century designer Millie Goldsholl is presented in a new 2K scan created by CFA earlier this year for the Women Behind the Camera project.

Total program time: 72 minutes

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 »

Out of the Vault: Personal Perspectives on the Vietnam War

Location:

5720 N. Ridge Avenue, Chicago IL 60660
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Dates:

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Hours:

8pm

Admissions:

$8

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still from 1-A  (Jeffrey Lieber, Michael Sherlock, Margaret Stenberg, 1970)

This selection of films highlights personal and individual reflections on the impact of the Vietnam War. Ranging from award-winning student films that capture the anxiety associated with the draft, to a political commercial that foregrounds candidate William G. Clark’s anti-war stance, to a documentary made in Garfield Ridge that gives a voice to President Nixon’s “silent majority,” to an excerpt from Chicago-based filmmaker Loretta Smith’s documentary on Vietnam veteran and anti-war activist Ron Kovic, this program brings together a range of intimate perspectives on the impact of the war. Tickets are available for advance purchase here & our Facebook event page is hereFilmmaker Loretta Smith in person! 

Films screening:

1-A
(Jeffrey Lieber, Michael Sherlock, Margaret Stenberg, 16mm, color, sound 1970, 8 minutes, “Young Chicago Filmmaker’s Festival” Chicago Public Library Collection)

William G. Clark “William G. Clark for U.S. Senator”
(1968, 16mm, color, sound, 1 minute, Chuck Olin Collection)

The 2-Year Machine
(David Alexovich, 1970, 16mm, color, sound, 6 minutes, “Young Chicago Filmmaker’s Festival” Chicago Public Library Collection)

8 Flags for 99 Cents
(Presented by Business Executives Move for Vietnam Peace, produced by Chuck Olin and Joel Katz​ with Mike Gray Associates, 1970, 26 minutes, 16mm preservation print, color, sound, The Film Group / Chuck Olin Collection)

A Good American: The Times of Ron Kovic (excerpt)
(Loretta Smith, 1974-1998, video, color, sound, 15-20 minute excerpt)
An excerpt from Loretta Smith’s documentary in progress about Vietnam veteran and anti-war activist Ron Kovic (author of the autobiographical book Born on the Fourth of July).

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Marine Corps veteran Ron Kovic embraces draft resister Fritz Efaw on the podium of the 1976 Democratic National Convention. Kovic and Efaw joined forces to plea for universal, unconditional amnesty for war resisters on the evening that Jimmy Carter accepted the Democratic nomination for the presidency.

Presented in partnership with Chicago Filmmakers.

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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)

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Out of the Vault: Anywhere But Here – Experimental Animation

Location:

5720 N. Ridge Avenue, Chicago IL 60660
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Dates:

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Hours:

8pm

Admissions:

$8

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still from Yo Yo the Clone, Too  (Somersaulter-Moates and Somersaulter, 1980)

This program of eight short animations from CFA’s collections explores the darker side of humanity and life in the 20th century. Playing with the inherent properties of animation—transformation and metamorphosis—the dark and sinister subject matter of these films is contrasted with a playful and irreverent tone. Themes including sexuality, militarization, modernity, gender roles, social norms, and psychedelia link each of these short animations. Other spaces—spaces that resemble our lived reality—reflect alternate visions and experiences of the world. Anywhere But Here – Experimental Animation features films made in the US, Japan, Croatia, France, and Belgium from CFA’s collections—all screening on 16mm film. Tickets are available for advance purchase here & our Facebook event page is hereLillian Somersaulter-Moats and Michael Moats in person!

Films screening:

The Eggs (Yōji Kuri, 1967, color, sound, 9 minutes)

Chromophobia (Raoul Servais, 1966, color, sound, 10 minutes)

The Button (Yōji Kuri, 1963, color, sound, 3 minutes)

Intergalactic Zoo (Mort and Millie Goldsholl, 1958, color, sound, 3 minutes)

Plus Vite (Peter Foldes, 1966, color, sound, 9 minutes)

J.P. Somersaulter’s Première Cartoon Cartoon (Somersaulter-Moats and Somersaulter, 1975, color, sound, 6 minutes)

Opera Cordis (Dušan Vukotić, 1968, color, sound, 10 minutes)

Yo Yo the Clone, Too (Somersaulter-Moats and Somersaulter, 1980, color, sound, 5 minutes)

TRT: 56 minutes

 

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still from Opera Cordis  (Dušan Vukotić, 1968)

Presented in partnership with Chicago Filmmakers.

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

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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.

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Out of the Vault: Robert Stiegler – Light Play

Location:

5720 N. Ridge Avenue, Chicago IL 60660
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Dates:

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Hours:

8pm

Admissions:

$8

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still from Robert Stiegler’s Capitulation (1965)

A Chicago native, Robert Stiegler received a bachelors and a masters degree at the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology. He began teaching at University of Illinois Chicago in 1966 and was active in the development of the school’s photography program. Stiegler was a filmmaker and photographer who received numerous grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Illinois Arts Council, among others. His photographs are in several museum collections, including the Museum of Contemporary Photography, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. This program of films highlights the influence of Moholy-Nagy’s teachings on his work, in particular his use of light and interest in formal experimentation. Multiple exposures, negative film stock, and sequences of rapid edits are used to construct fluid sequences and layers of movement through urban space in the city of Chicago. Merging abstraction and the documentation of everyday experience, these films are stunning explorations of light and film as a material.

Traffic (1960, 16mm, color, silent, 8 minutes)
Capitulation (1965, 16mm, b/w, sound, 22 minutes)
Licht Spiel Nur (1967, 16mm, color, silent, 3 minutes)
Full Circle (1968, 16mm, color, sound, 24 minutes)

All films are from the Chicago Film Archives’ Robert Stiegler Collection and will be screened on 16mm film. Presented in partnership with Chicago Filmmakers. Read more about Robert Stiegler’s collection on CFA’s blog here.

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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.

Italian Premiere of the International Media Mixer!

Location:

Sala alla Porta S.Agostino
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Dates:

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Hours:

7pm | ore 19

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

We’re thrilled to announce the Italian premiere of our International Media Mixer project, curated by Karianne Fiorini and Michelle Puetz, 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.

 

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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 »

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.

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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.

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Out of the Vault: Films by Tom Palazzolo … Tom Chicago!

Location:

5720 N. Ridge Avenue, Chicago IL 60660
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Dates:

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Hours:

8pm

Admissions:

$8

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still from Tom Palazzolo & Jeff Kreines’ Ricky and Rocky (1972)

This program of lesser-known films by Chicago legend Tom Palazzolo riffs off of Palazzolo’s nickname, “Tom Chicago,” (or “Tommy Chicago,” depending on how well you know him). Palazzolo’s unique perspective on everyday life in the city, in combination with his dark sense of humor, results in films that are as tender and heartwarming as they are sharp and critical. Known for making documentaries on subjects as wide ranging as the 1968 convention, a neo-Nazi march in Marquette Park, Maxwell Street, and the “tattooed lady of Riverview” park, Palazzolo is as curious a citizen of the city as he is a filmmaker. His documentary approach ranges from observational to participatory, yet what always rises to the surface is his keen interest in the human condition.

This program focuses on the interactions and rituals that we, as members of society, participate in—whether we choose to or not. A bridal shower + a neighborhood celebration on Labor Day + a gay pride parade + a behind-the-scenes look at a car dealership = just a small glimpse into Tom’s Chicago.

All films are from the Chicago Film Archives’ Tom Palazzolo Collection and will be screened on 16mm film. Presented in partnership with Chicago Filmmakers.

Ricky and Rocky (made w/ Jeff Kreines, 1972, 16mm, color, sound, 15 minutes)
Labor Day: East Chicago (1979, 16mm, color, sound, 25 minutes)
Gay for a Day (1976, 16mm, color, sound, 11 minutes)
It’s This Way at Deel Ford (1980, 16mm, color, sound, 15 minutes)

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