Re: Maya's Haiti footage (was: Frameworker in the news)

From: Chuck Kleinhans (email suppressed)
Date: Wed Feb 24 2010 - 19:50:10 PST

On Feb 24, 2010, at 4:34 PM, David Tetzlaff wrote:

>> Perhaps this can be a "teachable moment" about the realities of the
>> economics of film preservation.
> Chuck:
> I do not mean this sarcastically or rhetorically: what are the
> realities of the economics of film preservation to which you refer?

As Pip reported earlier, a few years ago Paris screening was
organized by Pip and Mekas for 400 people. The aim was to see if
anyone would come up with the "few thousand" dollars to strike a
internegative and a new print that could circulate. No one came
forward with the checkbook. (Aside to David Baker, Pip didn't say
how many present were white men.)

Some of the archivists and preservationists on Frameworks can address
this with much more knowledge than me. There are many films and film
elements that need to be preserved. There is not enough funding to
do everything. Someone has to make hard decisions about setting
priorities. Institutions which hold these materials, like Eastman
House and Anthology, are acutely aware of these problems, as are the
people who work on these matters. It's largely a matter of funding.
The funding sources are other institutions (private and public) and
individual donors.

> I'm certainly no expert on the political economy here, but
> intuitively I don't see much connection between preservation of
> Deren's footage and response to the Haitian tragedy.

Well, I notice that in my own community there are some upcoming
musical events to raise money for earthquake relief. I suppose there
might be some in your community, and in David Baker's. I don't know
where he lives (NYC?). I suggest this: get a 3 lb. coffee can, make
a sign to wrap around the outside of it with something to the effect
of: "Save Maya Deren's Haitian Footage" ...go to one of these events
and stand outside and see how much money you can raise to preserve
the film. Of course, you'll have to explain why this is so important
that people should put their money in the can instead of giving it
for food, shelter, water, and medical supplies for people in Port au
Prince, but that shouldn't be a problem: quote Baker:
"No doubt the money will come if the makers and thinkers herein
make there [sic] voices heard."

Or maybe David Baker could directly appeal to former Presidents
Clinton and George W. Bush who are heading the fundraising efforts
for relief. Or perhaps apply to the Red Cross which has raised
millions already, explaining that you only need a few thousand of
that largesse to preserve Maya's film. Surely they would understand,
as would all the people who gave money to relieve immediate
suffering. What is stopping dysentery for a few tens of thousands
of kids compared to preserving "the well being of this invisible

Chuck Kleinhans

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