Re: 16mm professionalism

From: Tom B Whiteside (email suppressed)
Date: Wed Jan 24 2007 - 12:40:40 PST

In addition to the broader view, people interested in experimental film
are probably also interested in exceptions to the rule. One significant
exception would be the case of itinerant filmmaker H. Lee Waters of
Lexington, North Carolina, who shot more than 250 shows of "Movies of
Local People" from 1936 to 1942. Shooting 16mm reversal (both B&W and
Kodachrome) with a Cine Kodak Special, Waters exhibited his silent films
in theaters as an added attraction. He filmed in 118 towns (visiting some
of them several times) and developed a lively and unique style, including
"camera tricks" reminiscient of City Symphonies. The best stuff is
portraits - individuals and groups, candid and posed, thousands and
thousands of people from all walks of life. If you consider his work as
one big movie, as I am tempted to do, the running time is more than 100

Waters ran a photography studio in Lexington from 1926 to 1990 (his wife
kept the studio going when he was on the road) but for those six years he
was a professional 16mm filmmaker. His 1941 reels of Kannapolis, NC were
added to the National Film Registry in 2005. Duke University is collecting
and preserving his films. I made a documentary about him in 1989, "The
Cameraman Has Visited Our Town." It is streaming at

        - Whiteside Durham, North Carolina

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