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March 4, 2017

Shifting Materialities of Film:
Projection, Preservation, and Research


Free Admission
Saturday March 4 from 9:30 -11:30 am, 11:45 am - 1:00 pm

As media theorist Georges Did-Huberman puts it, “The archive is burning.” This workshop addresses the immense shifts taking place in the way moving images from Japan are preserved and presented. It explores the consequences they have for film as an art and as an object of research.

The workshop will focus on the stress points of the preservation and accessibility of film from Japan. At different junctures in history, the Japanese film industry, arguably the largest film producer in the world, has only been able to preserve a fraction of its heritage. While Japan’s experimental and non-corporate film production has been formative in world cinema, it faces even larger challenges in terms of preservation and circulation.

What does the shift to digital storage, projection, and video streaming mean for these – historically, artistically – immensely valuable works? What are the conceptual and very concrete challenges curators, researchers, and audiences face in keeping this immensely influential body of work accessible and relevant?

To speak to these questions the workshop assembles some of the central figures involved in the curation, preservation and research of film from Japan:

Ann Adachi (Collaborative Cataloging Japan initiative)
Haden Guest (Director, Harvard Film Archive)
Go Hirasawa (Curator, Researcher, Meiji Gakuin University)
Alexander Zahlten (Associate Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard)

The workshop will be held in conjunction with a screening of recently restored, digital versions of Japanese experimental films from the 1960s. In addition to the Three Radical Japanese Filmmakers show, the HFA will also present a six-part retrospective of newly digitized 8mm films from the PIA Film Festival archives, Hachimiri Madness! Japanese Independents from the Punk Years in April and May.

The workshop is made possible by the kind support of the Harvard Film Archive and the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies.

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Harvard Film Archive • Carpenter Center • 24 Quincy Street • Cambridge MA 02138 • 617-495-4700