April SGS: Mmmm! Digesting Educational Films about Food

We know you are salivating for another scrumptious Social Guidance Sunday so we are pleased to close out the spring semester with a treat! “Mmmm! Digesting Educational Films about Food” dishes out delicacies featuring good nutrition, funny industry films, and morsels of movie magic to munch on.

Mysto the Magician in "Food and Magic" (1943)
Mysto the Magician in “Food and Magic” (1943)

Cut from the highest grade and arranged to perfection, we bring you an array of savory 16mm films. The appetizer is a short classroom film from 1951 featuring Bill, a glutton for junk food (Good Eating Habits, 1951). The first course will be Eating on the Run (1975), a comical film featuring good nutrition and the importance of taking time out to savor your food.

In Mystery in the Kitchen, we experience a little domestic intrigue as we follow an invisible detective as he investigates an average housewife’s meal preparation for her family.

Housewives bear the burden of making sure their families are well-fed as we see in the third course, Food and Magic (1943), where Mysto the Magician explains better food management to prevent waste. Dessert will be brought to us by the U.S. Department of Agriculture who made a comical film featuring the importance of statistics and selecting food. Even if you don’t much care for math, this film will have you craving for more numbers!

From Canada’s Food Guides http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-aliment/context/fg_history-histoire_ga-eng.php
From Canada’s Food Guides http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-aliment/context/fg_history-histoire_ga-eng.php

We encourage you to eat, drink, and be merry as we bring you foodies films that inspire critical reflection as well as a satisfied pat on the stomach. Our guest programmer for this delicacy is Rebecca J. Butorac, a food studies scholar who is interested in the intersections between food, social class, and culture. She is particularly interested in how media portrayals of “correct” shopping, eating, and housekeeping habits tend to ignore the social, cultural, and economic differences that shape our attitudes toward – and access to – food.

If this program makes you hungry, and we are positive it will, there will be food trucks stationed outside of the Bishop for your dining needs. Food trucks will be available starting around 7pm. The show will begin at 8pm on Sunday, April 17th.

April’s Films:

Good Eating Habits (1951)

The Eating on the Run Film (1975)

Mystery in the Kitchen (1958)

Food and Magic (1943)

Alice in Numberland (1962)˙

Bloomington’s Gyro Truck will be outside of the Bishop from 6:30pm-8:30pm on Sunday, April 17th!
Bloomington’s Gyro Truck will be outside of the Bishop from 6:30pm-8:30pm on Sunday, April 17th!

~Katie Lind

16mm and Chill! Turn Down the Lights for Another Social Guidance Sunday!

Still from “VD: Play it Safe” (1980)

Join us for another scintillating evening of Social Guidance Sunday this Valentine’s Day! We know how to treat you right with beer in the backroom of the Bishop and our newest program: “16mm and Chill.” That’s right, on Sunday, February 14 at 8pm IU Libraries Moving Image Archive presents four seductive short films on the topic of sex, dating, and STDs. In what promises to be an entertaining if not informative evening, this month we present 16mm films that offer a glimpse of American educational programming addressing the highs and the lows of sexual relationships.

This month our guest programmer, Alyssa Bossenger is a dual Ph.D. student in Gender Studies and Communication in Culture where she studies how people learn about sexuality in ways that uphold power structures of heteronormativity and whiteness particularly in relation to television,
film, and digital media. While these films feature formal sex education, Alyssa focuses on how people find information about sex through television and the internet.

Still from “VD: Play it Safe” (1980)

Our featured films this month are frank and funny, posing important questions about sex and relationships. In the first film, called Engagement: Romance and Reality (1965, 15 min.), we will have a heart-to-heart conversation confronting the tendency to rush into marriage without making sure s/he is the right match. Is a pet name like “Sweetie Pie” a deal breaker? To provide informative, anatomically correct demonstrations of the growing body, we will then show Achieving Sexual Maturity (1973, 16 min.) which will address or remind you of your adolescent years. Ah, puberty! The third film, V.D. – Play it Safe (1980, 20 min.), will answer all of your “burning” questions about different venereal diseases.
And finally, we conclude our program with a film titled, It Must Be Love, ‘Cause I Feel So Dumb (1976, 30 min.). This sweet story features a young boy in the throes of first love and then real tragedy. Will he be able to see a better relationship blossoming beyond his love interest? All of these questions and more will be answered when you join us for “16mm and Chill.”

February’s schedule:

Still from "Engagement: Romance and Reality" (1965)
Still from “Engagement: Romance and Reality” (1965)

Engagement: Romance and Reality (1965)

Achieving Sexual Maturity (1973)

V.D. – Play it Safe (1980)

It Must Be Love, ‘Cause I Feel So Dumb (1976)


~Katie Lind

The Return of Social Guidance Sunday!

What better way to begin another academic semester than an exciting Social Guidance Sunday program on listening! This might sound like a dry topic but the short films that will be screened on Sunday, January 24th will be sure to have your full, undivided attention. For the past three years the IU Libraries Moving Image Archive has screened 16mm original celluloid reel-to-reel films from the Libraries’ collection. These short films feature quirky relics of Americana: cheesy classroom instructional films, goofy commercials, job training films that may or may not provide necessary guidance, along with films featuring somber messages regarding serious topics. A projector clicking away in the background offers a blast from the past for some while younger generations get to experience the fun of programmers providing witty banter while they switch film reels. Social Guidance Sunday takes place on a monthly basis at the Bishop.

Each show features a theme such as the rise of the digital age, the threat of atomic power, and the dangers of puberty. Continuing last year’s tradition of inviting a doctoral student to visit the moving image archive, Dan Hassoun, a Ph.D. in Communication and Culture is the special guest programmer for the first SGS show of 2016. While his research is primarily concerned with the problems that arise with technology and distraction, the topic of listening and paying attention offer a unique glimpse at the ways our everyday life is filled with opportunities to either listen and understand or mishear, misinterpret, and miss out on a million dollars.

Kicking off this year’s first Social Guidance Sunday will be a rousing film called You’re Not Listening! (1978, 17 min.). An overly dramatic Shakespearean actor portrays the problems associated with failing to listen. In The Strange Case of Mr. Finch (1983, 15:40 min.), a man walks around town with a briefcase and a list of names of potential millionaires, in order to become a millionaire, all these people have to do is listen! As these films demonstrate, the struggles of listening and comprehending information are not just difficulties faced by school children daydreaming about recess but these are struggles that can have detrimental impacts on the job as well. In Telemarketing III – Techniques for the Phone Sales Representative (1983, 12 min.), two telemarketers, a male and a female, explain the differences in their techniques when making a sales call. Although some films feature problematic stereotyping, they often give us new perspectives on the past through laughable “teaching” moments. Hassoun has selected a compilation of short educational films featuring dramatic renditions of listening skills, children dressed as anthropomorphic ears, and the chance to win a million dollars. So listen up and pay attention! There will be a quiz at the end.

January’s SGS films will include:

You’re Not Listening! (Callner Films, 1978)

Telemarketing III-Techniques for the Phone Sales Representative (Centron, 1983)

Listening Skills: An Introduction (Coronet, 1965.)

The Strange Case of Mr. Finch (Filmfair Communications, 1983)

Are You Listening (Educational Communications Inc., 1971)

~ Katie Lind

Over 7000 titles added to the IU Libraries online catalog!

Over the weekend the Indiana University Libraries added 7,327 records of educational films to its online catalog, IUCAT. The films are part of the IU Libraries Film Archive’s 2011 acquisition of around 12,000 reels from the Lane Education Service District. With this new addition, the IU Libraries Film Archive now has over 25,000 records up at IUCat.

The Collection field at IUCat
The Collection field at IUCat

The IU Libraries Film Archive’s catalog records can be searched by selecting the archive in the “Collection” pulldown menu on the main page of IUCat.

Originally, the Lane Education Service District loaned these films out to the 16 school districts in Lane County, Oregon. Centralizing large film collections in this manner was a common way to efficiently and economically serve a larger public with a greater range of films than if each school bought their own films. In fact, Indiana University began collecting and distributing films in the 1920s along similar lines. IU was part of the University Extension movement where state universities would mange and share educational media throughout their state.

A stack of films from the Lane Education Service District waiting to be cataloged
A stack of films from the Lane Education Service District waiting to be cataloged

These 7,327 titles span the history of educational filmmaking from the 1940s through the early 90s. Looking at the collection as a whole presents a narrative of what educators thought were the pressing issues of their times. At this macro level, these films reveal changing attitudes to teaching methods and social issues. The Lane Education Service District will be of interest to scholars from a wide range of interests including the history of popular science, how children learned about sexuality and human development, the anti-drug movement, views on disabilities, and much more.

The films are equally intriguing at the level of the individual title. To pick a title at random, Signals And Gestures In Traffic Direction, brings up a 1954 film with the following brief description from the online catalog: “Demonstrates the proper signals and gestures for traffic officers to use in directing traffic.”[1] Unfortunately, the film isn’t digitized yet – though one can watch it onsite at the IU Libraries Film Archive – so we can’t get a direct sense of how the film accomplished its training mission.

But a quick search for the title in the Media History Digital Library’s Lantern search tool uncovers an article on page 60 of the 1954 Business Screen Magazine Production Review, “Visual Training Program for Traffic Officers Sponsored by Insurance Group.” Signals and Gestures was the first in a four-part series of films sponsored by the National Association of Automotive Mutual Insurance Companies designed to train “officers directing traffic from Maine to California” so they are “doing it in exactly the same way.” Vogue-Wright Studios, a Chicago film company that made industrial and public relation films, produced it. The Traffic Institute of Northwestern University, described as “a national enforcement authority,” offered technical advice on the film’s content.

Still from "Signals and Gestures" from 1954 "Business Screen Magazine Production Review"
Still from “Signals and Gestures” from 1954 “Business Screen Magazine Production Review”

Signals and Gestures in Traffic Direction shows how commercial interests and higher education united their interests through educational filmmaking to manage and standardize behavior at a national level. Why this film, made to train traffic cops, is in a collection of classroom films primarily directed at elementary students is a whole other question. But it points to the way these films, seemingly fun and innocuous, deployed educational media as an extension of corporate and governmental interests, and how the classroom screening was a site where competing views on profit and pedagogy came into contest.

And an EXTRA SPECIAL THANKS goes out to all of the people whose work made these records accessible:

Mechael Charbonneau, Associate Dean for Technical Services and Spencer Anspach, Library Systems Analyst/ Programmer from the Technical Services Department for cross-walking the data, cleaning up the records and setting up the workflow to allow the Film Archive staff to link the films to the records.

And the IU Libraries Film Archive excellent employees: Sean Smalley, Asia Harman, Josephine McRobbie, Jason Evans Groth and Jacob Shelby for identifying, bar-coding and linking each and every physical film to it’s catalog record and recanning the films and testing for deterioration.

Also, thanks as always to the remarkable Auxilliary Library Facility staff of Vaughn Nuest, Matt Myers, Sean Frey, Meko Mai and Craig Kinney for ingesting and shelving all 12,745 film cans for long term preservation storage at the ALF facility.


[1] http://www.iucat.iu.edu/catalog/10905854

A Conversation with Nico de Klerk


Nico de Klerk
Nico de Klerk

A film historian, curator and researcher, Nico de Klerk’s professional interests lie outside the typical film canon. During his student years, he “roamed a bit initially” before receiving an English degree at the Leiden University and later obtaining his Master of Arts in Discourse Analysis at the University of Amsterdam. His interest in film came much later, and “it came with a  vengeance,” he notes.  Building up his expertise with volunteer stints at Amsterdam art houses and Skrien magazine, he eventually settled at what was then called Nederlands Filmmuseum (now EYE): “Because of the  museum’s programming, I developed an interest in early cinema, nonfiction in particular – that is what made me want to work there,” he says.

His role as the institute’s first Collection Researcher was in keeping with the museum archives’ mission at the time: “the philosophy was that the archive’s perceived weakness, i.e. its lack of canonical and other titles that show up in every top 100, could be transformed into its strength.” He notes the works of programmers Eric de Kuyper and Peter Delpeut, who screened series of unknown materials from such silent film-era directors as Yevgeni Bauer, Franz Hofer, Alfred Machin and Leonce Perret, as well as expedition films of the 1920s and color-film tests of the 1910s. “As an archive, I think, we were one of the first in trying to put ‘peripheral’ topics center stage and open it to outside expertise and input,” he says.

amsterdam workshop 94
Proceedings of the 1994 Amsterdam Workshop on early nonfiction.
amsterdam workshop 95
Proceedings of the 1995 Amsterdam Workshop on color in silent film.

Such measures included the creation of the Amsterdam 
Workshops, in which groups of 50 to 60 international archivists and scholars were invited to participate in discussions of materials and topics de Klerk researched— such as early nonfiction, colonial cinema, the program format, and advertising film. de Klerk would then create unique programs for the sessions. “That’s when I discovered the power and the effects of programming,” he says. The workshops were also intended to give participants an impetus to incorporate their experiences into their own professional lives.

de Klerk’s passion for the peripheral topics of cinema history extends to his interest in orphan films, which he attributes to his work with the EYE. Attending the first Orphan Film Symposium in 1999, de Klerk was unaware of the existing community of like-minded professionals with this interest. “You might say I worked on orphan films before I even knew the term and what it meant…that first symposium was a homecoming…what touched me was the devotion people displayed to those largely forgotten and unknown materials, the knowledge people had acquired about the stuff they showed and introduced, and – most of all – the democratic atmosphere, in that it didn’t matter whether you worked at Yale or UCLA or had a non-cinema day job and did your research in your spare time.”

de Klerk's work on J.C. Lamster, an early filmmaker in the Dutch East Indies, was published in 2010.
de Klerk’s work on J.C. Lamster, an early filmmaker in the Dutch East Indies, was published in 2010.

With such a vested interest in the diversity of both archival holdings and the field itself, de Klerk argues that the greatest challenge facing the preservation community is conformity in programming – that the types of films featured in archival screenings are those that can be viewed at home. Such retrospectives are “predominantly based on a few principles – personality, nationality, genre…insofar these institutes have their own collections, only a fraction of their holdings are being presented.” de Klerk argues that the types of materials that belong to “the slow lane of film history” have been relegated to online exhibitions and presentations, despite the fact that many institutions may lack the resources for a proper online presence; further, these films were originally seen in a theatrical context in much the same way that some of the more retrospective-ready titles were. “I see no reason to relegate these materials to a mere digital life, certainly not when they are presented without any relevant form of contextualization,” he says. “If your mission is to present the heritage you are responsible for, it is imperative to find ways to meaningfully and imaginatively present all your holdings.”

The 2013 Orphans Midwest Film Symposium will be hosted at Indiana University Bloomington this week. For more information, including a full calendar of events, visit the Indiana University Cinema website.

~Kaitlin Conner