cinematheque seeks transcription volunteers...

From: Steve Polta (email suppressed)
Date: Mon Dec 08 2008 - 20:12:00 PST

The archives of San Francisco Cinematheque contain nearly 300 audio recordings relating to its exhibition history and to the history and culture of the field of experimental film. The majority of these recordings document artists’ presentations and post-screening Q&A sessions, with the remainder consisting of interviews and oral histories, recordings of panel discussions, and other miscellanea.

These recordings date from the 1970s through the present day with the majority of the recordings dating from the ‘70s and ‘80s. Subjects include Craig Baldwin, Stan Brakhage, Morgan Fisher, Hollis Frampton, Scott MacDonald, Jennifer Reeves, and Leslie Thornton, among many others.

In an effort to open our archives and contribute to a deeper understanding of this work, Cinematheque is seeking to create transcriptions of many of these audio documents, which would be made available via Cinematheque’s website. To this end, we are seeking volunteers who would be interested in participating.

This participation would be simply the creation, according to simple guidelines, of “first draft” transcriptions. These creations would subsequently be edited and corrected, most likely by Cinematheque’s archivist, Steve Polta, and published online.

Much of this material is (potentially) extremely interesting, “primary document” type stuff. Volunteers would be presented with a list of subjects from which to choose. It is hoped that they would have an interest in the subject matter. Familiarity with the field, and with subjects, is a definite “plus” but this is also a great way to learn about the field and these artists.

It is likely that a single hour of audio may take up to four times this to transcribe. We hope that volunteers would be in possession of the requisite self-discipline and perfectionism this would require, as work would be performed on one’s own schedule, in one’s “free time” as it were. Volunteers would receive public acknowledgement for this work, access to screenings and events, and perks in the form of Cinematheque publications and other goodies (such that we can provide). Course credit is potentially available for students, depending on the school’s requirements. Volunteers *need not* be local to San Francisco for this.

Interested parties are encouraged to contact (address suppressed) Please send along resumes, statements of interest, or other pertinent personal documentation. For selected applicants, we’ll follow up with a project outline, details on the work, and a list of potential projects. Please send all inquiries about the project to this email address as well.

REGARDING THIS COLLECTION (as I’m sure there will be questions about it):
The majority of these recordings were created at screenings, mostly in the 1970s and ‘80s, although we are documenting many current screenings as well. In general, these are unpreserved analog cassette tape recordings in need of preservation, i.e. they are on potentially damaged cassettes or otherwise physically unstable and are in need of (digital) reformatting. As such, they are not uncategorically accessible; there may be exceptions, so interested parties are encouraged to contact Cinematheque. While these recordings are cataloged at the item level, the contents of the recordings are unknown (i.e. I haven’t listened to them, nor has anyone in at least ten years). For example, we may have a tape labeled “Brakhage, June 12, 1980.” Other than this information, I have no way of knowing what he said. A list of these items (along with much of Cinematheque’s archival holdings) will be published online, coincident with a complete revamp of its
 website, in early 2009. Any burning questions regarding these recordings or the archive can be sent to email suppressed

Thanks to any and all for your interest.

Steve Polta
San Francisco Cinematheque
email suppressed


For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.