Well, we’re back from Pordenone, sadly before the silent film festival itself is over, but pressing matters called us back. But there is plenty to report on, starting with the news of a new website for Domitor, the international association dedicated to the study of early cinema.
This is very welcome because Domitor, while being an organisation notable for its dedication towards the early part of the twentieth century, has been slower to grasp the opportunities – indeed necessities – of the twenty-first. The old website suffered from an antiquated look and a severe lack of updating, indeed a severe lack of any reason for anyone interested in early cinema to visit it. Hopefully the new site is indication of a change of policy, bringing news, resources and exchange of knowledge online.
Domitor (the names comes from that suggested by the father of the Lumière brothers for their projector) was founded in 1985 at the Pordenone festival, where it holds a meeting each year. It organises a biennial conference on aspects of early cinema, the first having taken place in Quebec in 1990 and the next to be held in Brighton in June 2012, on the theme ‘Performing new media, 1890-1915‘. Most of the papers presented at its conferences have been published in anthologies or special-issue volumes, details of which can be found on the site. They are essential for following trends in early cinema scholarship. There are some 300 members from over 30 countries, and all business is conducted in English and French.
The website tells you about the organisation, its conferences and publications, information on how to become a member, with a resources page covering recent publications and bibliography of members’ writings, a DVD Database, a news page, and an archive all promised for later. There is also a list of links. Sadly for the bilingualists, the French section of the site is not up yet (it’s expected in April 2012). Let’s hope the site grows as it has the potential to grow.