Northeast Historic Film at CIFF

To add to the list of things to be excited about at the upcoming Camden International Film Festival: Northeast Historic Film Presents: Working Waterfronts of Maine.

This program of film clips from the Northeast Historic Film Archive promises seamoss harvesting, lobstering and boat launching, among other coastal activities. The screening takes place on Saturday, October 1 at 10:30am at the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, ME, with NHF Executive Director David Weiss on hand to talk about the films.

For filmmakers or other interested parties attending CIFF, a side trip to check out Northeast Historic Film in Bucksport, ME might be worth investigating. This past July I attended the annual Summer Symposium at NHF – the 2011 theme was Das Wunderkino: A Cinematic Cabinet of Curiosities, with presenters from film studies, information science, filmmaking and film archiving all gathering to talk about their work with amateur and non-commercial film.

We got to see films from the 1939 World’s Fair in Queens, films made by tailors, films made by families, peep-show films, hygiene films – all paired with thoughtful and thought-provoking talks.

It was a chance to expand my everyday thinking about non-fiction film, to see great footage, and to get a better sense of scholars’ and archivists’ work. Here at LEF we deal mainly with filmmakers who are wrapped up with the process of getting movies made in the first place, so it was refreshing to be reminded of the dedicated and smart individuals working to contextualize and preserve existing film materials.

The archive’s collection of is open for research, and the William S O Farrell Fellowship pays for an individual (film producers are eligible!) to do a month of in-house study at NHF “toward a publication, production, or presentation based on moving image history and culture, particularly amateur and nontheatrical film.”

NHF also holds public film screenings like the one coming up at Camden, and on October 15 they’ll be hosting the Home Movie Day in Portland, ME – you can follow the NHF blog for news and events.

– Nellie

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