Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Episode #109 - Terri Francis (Losing Ground)

"An archive is more than a collection of stuff...when a person passes through your life, they leave an impression, maybe an emptiness that's there. Part of what archives do is they make sense of that impression, of what's left behind."

So often when it comes to cinema we can make easy assumptions, but the questions underneath them are brimming to push boundaries. What exactly should film archives contain and what are their social responsibilities? Could an independent cinema exist under state sponsorship? Why is the goal of scholarship a book or article? What if instead you made films in caves, or highlighted contributions to our history through gravestones? Through her unique career, Terri Francis has brought some of these questions to light in a different way that makes the work of academia feel not just groundbreaking but emotionally powerful. In this long-ranging conversation, the Indiana University professor and director of the Black Film Center/Archive explores a range of topics related to Josephine Baker, Jamaica Film, and understanding and expanding black identity and cinephilia in a time where the very nature of the premise is changing. Finally, Terri and Peter discuss Losing Ground, a pioneering and celebratory melodrama from indie filmmaker Kathleen Collins—Terri tells the story of how the film went from obscurity to the stunning restoration that's made it part of the new canon.

0:00-3:46  Opening
4:29-11:11 Establishing Shots — New Streaming Platforms, New Avenues
11:57-1:09:32 Deep Focus — Terri Francis
1:10:30-1:14:16  Sponsorship Section
1:15:36-1:38:44 Double Exposure — Losing Ground (Kathleen Collins)
1:38:49-1:40:33 Close / Outtake 

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Notes and Links to the Conversation
—Check out Terri Francis's website, academic page, and Twitter.
—Click here to purchase the Blu-Ray of Losing Ground, which features a commentary by Terri.
—Streaming Websites: POV Shorts on American Documentary and Le CiNĂ©Ma Club
—POV Shorts: Public Money, Baloonfest, and Graven Image
Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Blue
—Learn more about the IU Black Film Center/Archive
—The Marcus Garvey Building is now Liberty Hall
—Terri refers to "Biko" with Denzel Washington. The film title is Cry Freedom (1993), where Washington plays activist Steve Biko.
—More about George Lurcy Fellowships
—Watch Zouzou (1934) and Princes Tam Tam (1935) with Josephine Baker.
—Terri on Josephine Baker's celebrity in France and her stardom in Paris
—On the Jamaica Film Unit
—Watch The Harder They Come (1972)
—A long, excellent conversation between Terri Francis and IU archivist Andy Uhrlich about the their practice.
Making celluloid in Jamaica!
—Terri in conversation with Afrosurrealist filmmaker Chris Harris
—More on the Handmade Film Institute
—Two excellent resources for African American film: National Museum of African American History & Culture and Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
—The Thirst Aid Kit podcast discussing Hollywood's "Golden Baes"

—More on Afrosurrealism and curated images from their society.
—A conversation between Terri and Kevin Jerome Emerson
Ava Duvernay's The Door, a short film for Miu Miu
—Honoring Alice B. Russell Micheaux
—Terri writes for Cinema Journal on black film scholarship and cinephilia
A brief history of Losing Ground by UCLA archivist Jan Christopher Horak
—More on U Chicago professor Jacqueline Stewart

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