Saturday, June 11, 2011

And This Blog Loves Film History Researchers

Ever since seeing Buster Keaton's Cops on Paul Killiam's Silents Please TV show as a pre-schooler, I have been fascinated by vintage films and film history.

That said, this blogger is pleased to call attention to any worthy initiatives and projects benefitting film preservation - and regards today's posting as a rather belated birthday tribute to film historian, author, documentary producer and 2010 Oscar winner Kevin Brownlow.

One of our favorite San Francisco Bay Area organizations/venues, the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, is on the list for the annual Community Challenge contest by the National Trust For Historic Preservation. The organization that receives the most yes votes from the This Place Matters list gets a $25,000 grant: manna from heaven in these lingeringly moribund economic times.

While the museum, soon to be hosting the 14th annual Broncho Billy Film Festival, is faring quite well in the voting, it will need all the support we silent movie mavens can muster to land that grant.

Film history buffs, merely click here and give the museum your yes vote. To harken back to the not wonderful days of machine politics, Vote Early And Vote Often! Well. . . er. . .uh. . . let's paraphrase that to say if 10,000 classic film buffs all vote yes, it's excellent news for the good folks at Niles. Voting ends June 30. Go, Niles!

To go through all the ways that the J.R. Bray Studio helped establish the art of cel animation would be longer than the grocery shopping list for a NFL team's caterer.

Patents and technology established by J.R. Bray and Earl Hurd a century ago were the beginnings of a foundation that subsequent animation producers, especially the brilliant and driven Walt Disney, took to the max just a few years later. And between 1913 and 1927, a host of important animators (including this blog's favorites, New York cartoon producers Max and Dave Fleischer) got their start in cartoonland with films produced under Bray's auspices.

That said, it's fantastic news that Tom Stathes of the Cartoons On Film blog, unquestionably among the youngest and most conscientious animation historians in the western world, has joined forces with quite a lineup of scholars to launch the Bray Animation Project. This will be an invaluable source for researchers and animation aficionados. Go, Tom!

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