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Chicago, Illinois 60616
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CFA receives 2015 NFPF Grant

We’re super excited to announce that we’ve received a 2015 National Film Preservation Foundation grant to photo-chemically preserve three titles from our collections! The three films slated for preservation highlight innovative programs introduced within the Chicago Public School (CPS) system in the 1960’s and 70’s:

FROM A TO Z: THE STORY OF SPECIAL SUMMER SCHOOLS, Goldsholl Design & Film Associates for Chicago Board of Education [CPS General Superintendent of Schools, Benjamin C. Willis], 1964, B&W, Optical Sound, 27 min.

A SOIL FOR GROWTH: A STORY OF THE GIFTED CHILD PROGRAM, Goldsholl Design & Film Associates for Chicago Board of Education, circa 1966, B&W, Optical Sound, 20 min.

METRO!!!: A SCHOOL WITHOUT WALLS, Rod Nordberg, 1970, Color, Optical Sound, 18 min.

Each of these 16mm films introduces a distinct and newly implemented CPS program: summer school programs (From A to Z), gifted student programs (A Soil For Growth) and the radical Chicago Public High School for Metropolitan Studies (Metro!!!). Combined, these three films offer a valuable glimpse into the country’s third largest public education system during a time of great educational reform. They incorporate and reflect the Chicago Board of Education’s response to an era when major institutions and social structures were being regularly challenged on a national basis. While the CPS has since cut or altered many of these programs, the content and stories within these films still offer some food for thought for the reshaping and reevaluation of Chicago’s public school system today. The films also provide an inspiring slice of history of the often volatile and turbulent relationship among the City of Chicago, CPS teachers and Chicago parents & students.

Goldsholl_FromAtoZ

FROM A TO Z: THE STORY OF SPECIAL SUMMER SCHOOLS (1964, Goldsholl Associates)

A SOIL FOR GROWTH: A STORY OF THE GIFTED CHILD PROGRAM (c. 1966, Goldsholl Associates)

A SOIL FOR GROWTH: A STORY OF THE GIFTED CHILD PROGRAM (c. 1966, Goldsholl Associates)

Chicago-based Goldsholl Design & Film Associates produced two of the films for the Chicago Board of Education, while local filmmaker & editor, Vince Waldron, produced the third. The Goldsholl Associate’s sponsored films thoughtfully present the views of their client and subjects, while Rod Nordberg offers a unique on-the-ground perspective of the newly formed Chicago Public High School for Metropolitan Studies or “School Without Walls” – a bold experiment by the CPS that operated from 1970-1991.

The Goldsholls considered filmmaking a cerebral process that if allowed could thrive on serendipity. The firm’s two films made for the Chicago Board of Education are no exception, with the subjects at hand often mirroring the playfulness and experimentation of the firm’s own bustling design studio. The films introduce viewers to newly instated programs within the CPS from the early to mid 1960’s by simply presenting facts and quietly observing each program. Often the films present vérité-style footage of active classrooms as well as non-scripted voices of students, teachers and parents. The non-obtrusive camerawork and candid voices in these films give them a distinct humanist tone, a tone that is often absent from the sponsored film genre.

CPL_Metro

METRO!!!: A SCHOOL WITHOUT WALLS (1970, Rod Nordberg)

METRO!!!: A SCHOOL WITHOUT WALLS (1970, Rod Nordberg)

METRO!!!: A SCHOOL WITHOUT WALLS (1970, Rod Nordberg)

Similarly, Rod Nordberg’s Metro!!!: School Without Walls gives voice to the students and staff of the Chicago Public High School for Metropolitan Studies (aka Metro) and more broadly introduces viewers to this progressive “school without walls.” Metro was a four-year high school that was part of the CPS system from February 1970 to September 1991. For Metro students, the city was their classroom. Students took classes at Metro’s Loop headquarters but also at such varied locations as the Art Institute of Chicago, Lincoln Park Zoo, Shedd Aquarium and Second City. Unique in the CPS System, Metro sprung from the radical concept that students should take responsibility for their own education and that urban institutions and businesses represented countless and varied opportunities for educational enrichment. As former Metro history teacher, Paula Baron, states,“Metro was in the city, of the city and about the city.” Nordberg’s short film on the school gives us a rare glimpse into the early years of this ambitious program.

All three of these films are sorely at-risk due to uniqueness, and in the case of Metro!!!, severe color fading. To the best of our knowledge, CFA holds the only copies (16mm composite prints) of all three titles. The Goldsholl Associates films reside in CFA’s Mort & Millie Goldsholl Colleciton, while Metro!!! resides in CFA’s Chicago Public Library Collection. We were also very fortunate to receive several additional composite prints and printing elements of Metro!!! from filmmaker Rod Nordberg (thank you Rod!). Unfortunately, all existing composite prints of Metro!!! have color faded over time. This NFPF grant will provide the funds to create elements and strike new 16mm composite prints of all three titles.  It will also allow us to print Metro!!! on more color friendly 16mm film stock, giving us access to an accurate color version of the title for the first time in decades.

We’ll be sure to keep you posted on the restoration process, and last but not least: Thank you NFPF!

Faces and Fortunes Restoration

This afternoon we received our first DVD reference copy of the newly restored film, FACES AND FORTUNES. This 16mm sponsored film was made in the 1960′s by Chicago-based design firm, Goldsholl Associates, as a filmic treatise on “corporate identity” for Kimberly-Clark Corporation. It was directed by Morton Goldsholl, conceived by Millie Goldsholl, executed by Morton & Millie, Wayne Boyer and Larry Janiak and narrated by Hans Conreid (!).

Through live action sequences, delightful animation and simple design aesthetics, the film explores the legacy and importance of “personality” or branding of industries, organizations and companies throughout the ages. Unfortunately the only 16mm prints we previously had of this title were extremely color faded. Thanks to a grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation and to the talented folks over at Colorlab (we call them magicians over here), the film has been color corrected back to its original glory and put back onto 16mm film. Take a look below for some stunning before and after shots…and stay tuned for more info on the premiere of this new print (the wheels are turning)!

Faces and Fortunes 11

Faces and Fortunes 10

Faces and Fortunes 9

Faces and Fortunes 8

Faces and Fortunes 5

Faces and Fortunes 4

Faces and Fortunes 3

Faces and Fortunes 2

Faces and Fortunes 1

LORD THING Restoration Complete

Reel 1 & 2 of the new restoration print of LORD THING

We recently received the 16mm restoration print of LORD THING, and boy is it beautiful! DeWitt Beall’s LORD THING (1970) is a film that documents the Conservative Vice Lords of Chicago’s near-west side and dozens of small neighborhood gangs from different parts of the city, that in time, unite forces in a common cause. Only a muddy VHS copy of the film had been circulating until CFA recently discovered 16mm prints & original elements in storage and under the care of Beall’s widow (these prints & elements now reside within CFA’s Dewitt Beall Collection). Thanks to a 2012 grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation, CFA was able to create a new restoration print from original production elements.

Maryland based Colorlab did an exquisite job creating the two reels of LORD THING from original A/B Rolls and a master 16mm magnetic track. We’re especially impressed by the improved audio quality, which is significantly richer in comparison to our existing composite prints (meaning, prints with synced imaged and sound) of LORD THING currently stored at CFA.

Interested further in the restoration process of LORD THING? Read on!

Inspection bench detail of the new restoration print of LORD THING

We were really lucky to have original production elements (A/B Rolls, Mag Tracks, etc) to create a new composite print of LORD THING. A lot of the times with restoration projects, we’re left having to make a new print from an original or master positive print (no complaints! It’s just not an ideal scenario since it often leads to some degradation of image and sound). Having original elements allowed Colorlab to produce a print comparable or perhaps even better to the original composite prints struck by Dewitt Beall & co in the early 1970′s.

We were also fortunate to have three composite prints on hand for reference during the restoration process of LORD THING. The tricky issue with these prints, though, is that we began this process with two complete copies of LORD THING (Version 1), and only 1 copy of LORD THING (Version 2), which happens to have French subtitles. In others words, there was no composite print of Version 2 without subtitles (CFA considers Version 2 of LORD THING to be the more complete as well as final version of the film). This restoration project has remedied this tricky situation, giving us (a universal “us”) a presentable preservation print of Version 2 (without subtitles) for the first time! Be on the lookout for a restoration premiere sometime this fall – we’ll be sure to keep you posted! We recommend joining our mailing list if you don’t want to miss out.

 

CFA Films Head to the Capital

This morning we packed up three CFA films to ship off to our nations capital. They’ll take part in the National Gallery of Art’s annual showcase of film preservation from international archives and special collections. This year’s programs range from rediscovered American rarities to artists’ films and unsung shorts from the 1960s, and to major French classics celebrating their fiftieth anniversaries this season. These three CFA films (Margaret Conneely’s Chicago: City to See in ’63, the FilmGroup’s Social Confrontation: The Battle of Michigan Ave. and Don Klugman’s Nightsong) will be shown at the The City in the ’60s: Forgotten Films from American Archives program on Saturday, July 20th. Thanks to grants from the National Film Preservation Foundation (Battle of Michigan Ave., Nightsong) and Women’s Film Preservation Fund (City to See in ’63), all three of these films were photo-chemically preserved, or rather, new film prints were struck of each title (more on that, here). Ok, back to the program – here’s what the National Gallery of Art’s site has to say about it: “As recently as the last half of the twentieth century—in theaters, churches, private clubs, and especially schools, where the core curricula could always benefit from some audio-visual enhancement—the projection of 16 mm films was a regular occurrence. Thousands were produced each year on every subject imaginable. Although many 16 mm collections have now been discarded in favor of digital, there are many archives that treasure and preserve this fragile format for its historical value. In their recently published Learning with the Lights Off, Marsha Gordon and co-editors Devin Orgeron and Dan Streible examine the educational film in its endless variety—from art to music, biology to medicine, suburban sprawl to urban decay. Marsha Gordon introduces a program designed around the city in the 1960s that includes screenings of entertaining and informative films representing Washington D.C., Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago: Village SundayThree Cures for a Sick City,The Battle for Michigan AvenueFelicia, and Jim Henson’s Time Piece.” As mentioned above, the program is a presentation around the book Learning with the Lights Off. Edited by Devin Orgeron, Marsha Orgeron and Dan Streible, the book is the first collection of essays to address the phenomenon of film’s (more particularly educational and nontheatrical films) educational uses in twentieth century America. Luckily for you Washingtonians, Marsha Oregon will be on hand at the screening to discuss the films and the book. We’re super honored to take part in this screening and to share these pristine 16mm film prints with the D.C. area (we wish we could be there!). And last but not least, friendly shout outs to the other archives/institutions involved in this particular screening: Raleigh based A/V Geeks and the Reserve Film and Video Collection of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. More on the screening here.

Goldsholl and Janiak Design Films Slated for Preservation

CFA is happy to announce that the National Film Preservation Foundation has awarded CFA another grant to photo-chemically preserve four more films from the archives.  FACES AND FORTUNES, DISINTEGRATIONS LINE #1, DISINTEGRATION LINE #2, and ADAM’S FILM all reflect the influence of the “American Bauhaus” movement introduced by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy during the late 30s/early 40s in Chicago.  Designer and filmmaker team Morton and Millie Goldsholl were students at the School of Design in the 40s.  The impact Moholy-Nagy had on them was immediate and concrete.  The couple moved their already successful design studio to a larger space in Northfield, IL and added a film department that was headed up by Millie.  Larry Janiak was one of their first employees at their film studio.

These four films are early and stellar expressions of the midcentury Bauhaus influence in Chicago.

FACES AND FORTUNES was created as a filmic treatise on “corporate identity” for Kimberly-Clark Corporation. This film explores the legacy and importance of “personality” or branding of industries, organizations and companies. As you can see in these stills, the remaining prints of FACES AND FORTUNES are extremely color-faded. This NFPF grant gives us the opportunity to color correct this 16mm film back to its original glory. By Morton and Millie Goldsholl

ADAM’S FILM isa visual film collage experiment.  Live action images are combined with abstract images and textures that were chemically generated directly onto the 16mm film.  By Lawrence Janiak

DISINTEGRATION LINE #1 (DL1) is chemically generated visual variations produced directly onto 16mm film.  By Lawrence Janiak

DISINTEGRATION LINE #2 (DL2) is an optically printed full color randomly animated texture field image film.  By Lawrence Janiak

We are so pleased to have this opportunity to preserve modernist titles in our collections.  To date CFA has sheperded the photo-chemical and digital preservation of 91 Chicago and Midwest films with the support of the National Film Preservation Foundation, the Women’s Film Preservation Fund, The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.  We plan to keep this number growing in order to create a complex and nuanced portrait of our region for generations to come.

More on Janiak’s films here

8 FLAGS FOR 99 CENTS Restoration

Yesterday we received a newly struck restoration print of Chuck Olin’s 8 FLAGS FOR 99 CENTS (1970) – a rarely seen documentary about a blue-collar community’s growing unease with the Vietnam War. 8 FLAGS FOR 99 CENTS was produced in response to President Nixon’s famous November, 1969 speech when he contrasted the unlawful and vocal anti-war protesters to the respectful “silent majority” who were in favor of remaining in Vietnam to fight communism. This film explores the thoughts and opinions of the “silent majority” represented by the folks living in the Garfield Ridge neighborhood on the southwest side of Chicago.

8 FLAGS, along with another Chuck Olin film, A MATTER OF OPPORTUNITY (1968), were preserved thanks to a grant from the Nation Film Preservation Foundation (more on these two films, here). Endless thanks goes out to the NFPF and to Colorlab, who skillfully color corrected this 16mm film back to its original glory. A future screening of this new print is in the works… but in the mean time, here are some frame comparisons to give you a sense as to why we’re so excited about this new print! :

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