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Frank Koza (1920-2013)

Two canisters filled with newsreel trims found in CFA’s Frank Koza Collection

We are sad to have to once again announce the death of another Midwest filmmaker and cinematographer – Frank Koza.  Frank had a long history of shooting news, first based out of the east coast and then Chicago.  He was a member of the International Cinematographer’s Guild Local 600 and he was good.  He was a consummate professional.

CFA acquired his negatives, prints and trims last year.  We know how much of a professional he was, just by the labeling he attached to his film materials.  To date, no collection we have received is so well organized and described as is the materials in Frank’s collection of films. Although we have yet to fully process this massive collection (it was meticulously inventoried by past CFA intern, Amelia Anderson), we have digitized a couple of his prints with subjects ranging from GOP political conventions and Apollo 11 blast-offs to leisurely scenes of suburban Chicago. Frank knew how to shoot.

RIP

more on Frank Koza’s exciting life here

Mike Gray 1935-2013

I feel this is one big mistake. Mike has been working on multiple projects (books and films) with his partner and wife Carol Gray. He sprints when he moves, never lollygagging from one place to the next. By the way, he is not finished with THE ORGANIZER featuring the work of community organizer and Black Panther Bobby Lee (also known as the Mayor of the 5th Ward in Houston). Mike and his former partner Bill Cottle (The Film Group) donated to CFA one of our first documentary collections…the Urban Crisis series. This series of seven modules were actually educational films culled from the massive footage they shot during the civil rights marches in Chicago and the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Eventually CFA had them preserved with the blessing of the NFPF. One of them – CICERO MARCH – has been twice nominated for the National Film Registry. Trailer for THE MURDER OF FRED HAMPTON In 1968/69 Mike had been making AMERICAN REVOLUTION 2 (and after that THE MURDER OF FRED HAMPTON), two feature-length documentaries that pretty much represented the race and anti-war unrest of that time. Directing AR2, Mike invited Howard Alk (another Chicagoan with considerable editing talents) to review the miles of footage and co-direct his film that was in progress. Alk did and gave the film its direction. They went on to make MURDER OF FRED HAMPTON, and after that, Mike skedaddled off to Hollywood with his screenplay CHINA SYNDROME. In 2004, Mike came up to see our chilly vault and hear my spiel on what we at CFA intended to do with these Midwest film collections and the Chicago filmmakers who, as a rule, are neglected, in the shadows and often forgotten. CFA was only about a year old at the time. After finishing the tour of the vault, we sprinted across the bridge to my car for a lunch at Mannys. We sat down and Mike told me what to do. He insisted that CFA do a retrospective on the brilliant Howard Alk who for a brief shining moment in history crafted some films that cut to the core. Mike was not shy about singing Alk’s praises. He more than shared the credit for AR2 and MURDER. He did the same with the films he collaborated on with Chuck Olin. You will see Mike’s name again on the newly preserved CFA film 8 FLAGS FOR 99 CENTS which will be showcased this fall. We have found Mike’s name on numerous films that reside in our archive, in particular the Film Group and Olin Collections. He produced, shot, directed, recorded sound, begged for money; he did everything and anything on films to make them happen splendidly. He has authored many books, was a great journalist, a voice that could add clarity to complicated things, an activist, whatever… What sets Mike apart from the rest of us, he did not have an outsized or even medium-sized ego. Mike was always always the boy from Darlington, Indiana. I miss him already. You can view some of Mike’s work here and here.

Millie Goldsholl (1920-2012)

Chicago artist and experimental filmmaker Millie Goldsholl passed away yesterday at 92 years old. Her films are among our favorites here at CFA. An early student of the Chicago School of Design (now IIT), Millie created films that are expressions of Maholy Nagy’s vision of industry, art and design. They are playful, human and profound all at once. The same thing, of course, can be said of Millie. We are so honored and feel richer that her films are among our collections.

Here is Millie talking about the School of Design (taken from a 2007 interview between Millie and CFA’s Executive Director, Nancy Watrous).

And here are a few of our favorite films of Millie’s (all found in CFA’s Mort & Millie Goldsholl Collection):

UP IS DOWN (1969)
A short animated film that presents a study of an unconventional young boy who is temporarily persuaded to accept others’ viewpoints as his own.

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INTERGALACTIC ZOO (1960s)
Dedicated to the men, women and children of Mars, this fantastical animation uses the simplest of elements: solid backgrounds, block letters, and a length of metal chain. The creatures created are the kind of strange and other-worldly beings that thrive only in children’s dreams and play.

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Karolton Envelope “ENVELOPE JIVE” (1963)
A sponsored film made by Mort & Millie Goldsholl (of Chicago’s Morton Goldsholl Associates) for Karolton Envelope Company, a division of Kimberly-Clark. Morton & Millie Goldsholl ran Morton Goldsholl Associates, one of Chicago’s leading graphic design studios in the 1950s. The studio became recognized for their animations, progressive hiring practices and developing corporate branding packages for various companies.

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