Moving Image Archivists converge on Austin, ready to party
If you imagine the annual convention of the international Association of Moving Image Archivists taking place in Austin Nov. 30-Dec. 1 to be a gathering of fusty librarian types, think again.
"They're the maddest of the mad, but incredibly knowledgeable," says Caroline Frick of the Texas Archive of the Moving Image and the local organizing committee. "The convention throws together archivists, private collectors, corporate guys because this is cultural property and everyone in between: historical societies, small production companies, and so on."
Austin reaps the benefits, as several screenings are open to the public. One unique event is the Reels of Steel: 2005 Texas Showdown on Wednesday, 9:45pm, at the Alamo Drafthouse Downtown. Various archivists will show obscure short films and engage in an archivists' version of a smackdown. One will emerge as the AMIA Emulsion Propulsion champ. Check for tickets at www.originalalamo.com, since seating is limited.
In conjunction with UT's Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, there will be a full day of free screenings at the Paramount Theatre on Thursday, Dec. 1. Beginning at 1pm is Overlord, a British film about a soldier preparing for D-Day, which won the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in 1975 before slipping into obscurity. Director Stuart Cooper will be on hand to introduce the film. A 70mm Extravaganza is scheduled for 3:30pm. Curated by Grover Crisp of Sony Pictures Entertainment, this program will make use of the Paramount's big screen to present some of the best restoration samples of the wide-screen format.
The day's triumphant gem will be the 8pm screening of the 1922 silent feature Beyond the Rocks, starring Gloria Swanson and Rudolph Valentino. Long believed to be lost, the film was recently discovered within a collection donated to the Netherlands Filmmuseum and restored by their archivists, who will attend the screening to describe the process. The film is a romantic drama based on a novel by Elinor Glyn and directed by Sam Wood.
For a complete schedule and information about registration, go to www.amianet.org.