Among the booths of food and crafts at this month's First Thursdays festival, the IU Cinema teamed up with the IU Libraries Moving Image Archive to present a demonstration on how to thread film into a projector.
The IU Cinema had two events for the festival — one allowed people to see how old film projectors work and the other showcased films of a famous showman in the 1890s.
The festival, run by the Arts & Humanities Council of IU, takes place in the Fine Arts Plaza and is a monthly display of all the diversity and arts in Bloomington.
As part of the projector demonstration, they used old 16mm film found in the archives for the demonstrations and had some broken strips on a table for people to take with them as souvenirs.
“One of the goals of film preservation is to return a film to what it would have looked like when it originally came out," said Andy Uhrich, a film archivist who works for the Libraries Moving Image Archive. "This is a great opportunity to show people what film looks like, give them an opportunity to handle film and give them an opportunity to project film.”
Festival-goers were able to see the process of threading, focusing and viewing the film inside of the tent. There were three projectors set up showing different short films.
”I liked that these are all just like small individual pictures and that together, when they’re played in a sequence, it turns into a movie," said Jonathon Galpern, a first-year graduate student working on a master’s degree in public affairs.
Another event occurred inside the IU Cinema itself. “The Films of Brinton” showcased a loop of silent films found in Iowa from William Franklin Brinton. He was an “itinerant showman” who traveled across the United States to show audiences the films from 1895 to 1909. This collection preserves some of the earliest available film, according to the IU Cinema’s website.
“I saw a lot of the same things you see in modern films and art, like disappearing acts used now in fun Instagram videos," Sarah Dunlap, a freshman majoring in arts management, said. "The pastel colors in the film remind me of my art.”
The films did not have any sound to accompany them, so the IU Cinema allowed a DJ to perform during the playing of the films. Derek Navardauskas, the DJ, provided modern electronic music to coincide with the looping film reel.
“These events celebrate the talents of IU's expert projectionists, the preservation of our moving image heritage, and IU's commitment to its own collections.” Jon Vickers, director of the IU Cinema, said in an email.