The IU Libraries Moving Image Archive will be hosting free monthly screenings of 16mm film shorts from their collection, starting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday. Registration for the screening is available on the IU Events page.
Each screening will show unique films following the “You (probably) Haven’t Seen This Before” concept, which emphasizes shorts in the archives that are not easy for the public to obtain and watch. Many of the films shown have never even had a formal screening.
All screenings will be held in the IU Libraries Screening Room, which is in Wells Library. The event will last an hour or less.
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Jon Vickers, former director of the IU Cinema and a regular attendee, said these archive screenings showcase non-commercial films that are separated from the mainstream cinema world by their variance in time-periods, formats and intention of the filmmaker.
Moving Image Curator Carmel Curtis said she aims to show films that go beyond the normal bounds of cinema and display “underrepresented narratives and underrepresented motion-picture practices.” With over 130 thousand films and videos in the collection, the screenings can range from home videos to outtakes to student films.
“It takes me a long time to select the films I decide to show,” Curtis said. “I'm looking for films that I can't find available streaming online. I'm looking for films that are weird.”
While the primary focus of the screenings is obscurity, the monthly screenings each have different themes. Thursday’s screening is themed “Location, Location, Location.”
Another aspect of the archive film shorts is the purposeful lack of information given to the audience prior to the screenings. This is so audience members can truly experience these irregular films and their ties to the theme. To achieve that, descriptions of the films are not shared prior to the screenings so potential audience members can only rely on the theme when deciding whether to attend.
“I hope that audiences who attend these monthly screenings expand their perception of what ‘cinema’ is and what it can be,” Curtis said.
Curtis said the screenings could include a large variety of media, such as but not limited to educational films, musical outtakes or home videos.
“Each program raises issues of political, cultural or economic topics that prevail over time,” the director of the IULMIA, Rachael Stoeltje, said. “Carmel’s unique history and knowledge of filmmaking and film history provides the audiences a glimpse into a thought-provoking evening of film viewing.”
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These screenings provide an opportunity for the vastness of the Moving Image Archives to be accessible to the public. Curtis said she picks out around 10-15 film shorts for every short that gets shown, only presenting a limited number of films. This process allows audience members to receive content curated specifically to the theme without taking the time to sift through the thousands of pieces in the IULMIA.
“They reinforce how important it is that these films are being saved and made available to the public, as historical, educational and artistic documents,” Vickers said. “Most importantly, it is a fun and entertaining way to see something fresh."
The upcoming dates for the IULMIA screenings are Sept. 29, Oct. 27, Nov. 17 and Dec. 15. Each monthly screening starts at 5:30 p.m. in the IU Libraries Screening Room.