Keeping things silent in 2008

AMS 2008 calendar

A new year is but three months away, and you’ll be needing your 2008 calendar. So why not see the coming year through with your favourite silent stars by purchasing the 2008 Silent Movies Calendar, put together by regulars on the alt.movies.silent discussion group. As the blurb on the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra site says:

The alt.movies.silent calendar features silent film artwork and birthdays of silent-era film stars and personalities, as well as notable marriages, deaths, film openings, and other significant dates. The artwork ranges from promotional stills for major Hollywood releases to rare star mug shots and informal pictures of stars from Fatty Arbuckle to Bela Lugosi.

The cost is $15 for the first calendar, $12 for additional calendars, plus $4.60 postage (per order, regardless of the number of calendars). Net proceeds go to a film preservation fund. All the ordering information you need is on the Mont Alto site.

Screen heritage survey

Magic lantern slide from National Media Museum

Magic lantern slide from the National Media Museum,

A online survey was launched today, to uncover collections in the UK with moving image and screen-related artefacts. It is organised by a body called the Screen Heritage Network (of which the organisation I work for, the British Universities Film & Video Council, is a member). The survey is open to any UK collection with artefacts relating to the moving image and screen-related media which may be accessible to the public or researchers. There are ten categories of artefact being sought:

1. Film production equipment
2. Television and video equipment
3. Animation and special effects
4. Sound
5. Sets and costumes
6. Cinema and projection
7. Magic lanterns, slide projectors and viewers
8. Toys and games
9. Installations
10. Documentation

The information gathered will be used to create the first-ever online database of moving image and screen-related objects in UK collections.

Behind this activity lies a definition of ‘screen heritage’ which goes beyond moving picture to encompass the machinery that produces and exhibits them, the culture that supports them, and a notion of ‘screen’ that extends beyond cinema and television back to magic lanterns and forward to video games, consoles and the handheld technologies of today.

So the survey, in looking at artefacts, is concentrating on just a part of this vision of what ‘screen heritage’ comprises. It’s all most appropriate to the study of silent cinema, and where silent cinema fits in within the broader scheme of things. Do take a look at the project site, and if you know of a museum or other heritage organisation within the UK that ought to be taking part, and which we may have missed, let us know.