By MCN Editor editor@moviecitynews.com

ACADEMY GRANTS FUNDING FOR BOOK PROJECTS

March 16, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Beverly Hills, CA – The history of documentary filmmaking in Cambridge, Mass., and the growth of “orphan” films will be the topics explored by Scott MacDonald and Dan Streible, respectively, who have been named Academy Film Scholars by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The Academy’s Institutional Grants Committee selected the pair for the honor on the basis of their manuscript proposals. Each scholar will receive $25,000 from the Academy to aid in the research and writing of his project.

MacDonald, professor of critical studies at Hamilton College, will examine the history and analyze of two particular forms of nonfiction filmmaking that have developed in Cambridge: ethnographic filmmaking and personal documentary. The Cambridge Turn in Documentary Filmmaking will investigate why these developments occurred specifically in Cambridge and discuss the careers of such filmmakers as John Marshall, Robert Gardner, Timothy Asch, Ross McElwee, Robb Moss, Alfred Guzzetti, Nina Davenport, Ilisa Barbash and Lucien Castaing-Taylor. The book will also explore how the accomplishments of these filmmakers have helped transform the understanding of “documentary” films.

Streible, associate professor of cinema studies at New York University, will offer a detailed account of the growth of the “orphan film” phenomenon in the U.S. since the early 1990s and analyze the dynamic that the movement has established among film archivists, preservationists, scholars, curators and filmmakers. This book will be the first to analyze orphaned work (defined as films that have been abandoned or have suffered physical, historical or cultural neglect), including newsreels, silent movies, shorts, independent and studio features, documentaries, outtakes and animation. Streible’s book will be titled Orphan Films: Saving, Studying, and Screening Neglected Cinema.

MacDonald and Streible will receive the first half of their $25,000 grants at a luncheon on March 19. The remaining half will be presented upon completion of the manuscripts, when the scholars will present their projects in lecture form at a public Academy event.

Established in 1999, the Academy Film Scholars program is designed to “stimulate and support the creation of new and significant works of film scholarship about aesthetic, cultural, educational, historical, theoretical or scientific aspects of theatrical motion pictures.”

MacDonald and Streible will join 13 other Academy Film Scholars who are currently working on projects: Cari Beauchamp; John Belton, Rutgers University; Donald Crafton, University of Notre Dame; Jane Gaines, Duke University; Jan-Christopher Horak, University of California, Los Angeles; David E. James, University of Southern California; Patrick Keating, Trinity University; Peter Lev, Towson University; Stuart Liebman, Queens College of the City University of New York; Charles Musser, Yale University; Harlow Robinson, Northeastern University; Shelley Stamp, University of California, Santa Cruz; and Emily Thompson, Princeton University. Anne Friedberg of the University of Southern California passed away before significant progress could be made on her project.

Academy Film Scholars who have completed projects are Tino Balio, University of Wisconsin–Madison; Beauchamp; Peter Decherney, University of Pennsylvania; Thomas Doherty, Brandeis University; Richard B. Jewell, University of Southern California; Dana Polan, New York University; David Rodowick, Harvard University; and Steven J. Ross, University of Southern California.

The Academy’s cultural and educational wing – the Academy Foundation – annually grants more than $1 million to film scholars, cultural organizations and film festivals throughout the U.S. and abroad. It is also through the Foundation that the Academy presents a rich assortment of screenings and other public programs each year.

For grant guidelines and information about the Academy Film Scholars program, contact Grants Coordinator Shawn Guthrie at (310) 247-3000, ext. 3306, via e-mail at sguthrie@oscars.org, or visit http://www.oscars.org/filmscholars/.

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ABOUT THE ACADEMY
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is the world’s preeminent movie-related organization, with a membership of more than 6,000 of the most accomplished men and women working in cinema. In addition to the annual Academy Awards—in which the members vote to select the nominees and winners­—the Academy presents a diverse year-round slate of public programs, exhibitions and events; provides financial support to a wide range of other movie-related organizations and endeavors; acts as a neutral advocate in the advancement of motion picture technology; and, through its Margaret Herrick Library and Academy Film Archive, collects, preserves, restores and provides access to movies and items related to their history. Through these and other activities the Academy serves students, historians, the entertainment industry and people everywhere who love movies.

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“I suddenly couldn’t say anything about some of the movies. They were just so terrible, and I’d already written about so many terrible movies. I love writing about movies when I can discover something in them – when I can get something out of them that I can share with people. The week I quit, I hadn’t planned on it. But I wrote up a couple of movies, and I read what I’d written, and it was just incredibly depressing. I thought, I’ve got nothing to share from this. One of them was of that movie with Woody Allen and Bette Midler, Scenes From a Mall. I couldn’t write another bad review of Bette Midler. I thought she was so brilliant, and when I saw her in that terrible production of ‘Gypsy’ on television, my heart sank. And I’d already panned her in Beaches. How can you go on panning people in picture after picture when you know they were great just a few years before? You have so much emotional investment in praising people that when you have to pan the same people a few years later, it tears your spirits apart.”
~ Pauline Kael On Quitting

“My father was a Jerome. My daughter’s middle name is Jerome. But my most vexing and vexed relationship with a Jerome was with Jerome Levitch, the subject of my first book under his stage and screen name, Jerry Lewis.

I have a lot of strong and complex feelings about the man, who passed away today in Las Vegas at age 91. Suffice to say he was a brilliant talent, an immense humanitarian, a difficult boss/interview, and a quixotic sort of genius, as often inspired as insipid, as often tender as caustic.

I wrote all about it in my 1996 book, “King of Comedy,” which is available on Kindle. With all due humility, it’s kinda definitive — the good and the bad — even though it’s two decades old. My favorite review, and one I begged St. Martin’s (unsuccessfully) to put on the paperback jacket, came from “Screw” magazine, which called it “A remarkably fair portrait of a great American asshole.”

Jerry and I met twice while I was working on the book and spoke/wrote to each other perhaps a dozen times. Like many of his relationships with the press and his partners/subordinates, it ended badly, with Jerry hollering profanities at me in the cabin of his yacht in San Diego. I wrote about it in the epilogue to my book, and over the years I’ve had the scene quoted back to me by Steve Martin, Harry Shearer, Paul Provenza and Penn Jillette. Tom Hanks once told me that he had a dinner with Paul Reiser and Martin Short at which Short spent the night imitating Jerry throwing me off the boat.

Jerry was a lot of things: father, husband, chum, businessman, philanthropist, artist, innovator, clown, tyrant. He was at various times in his life the highest-ever-paid performer on TV, in movies, and on Broadway. He raised BILLIONS for charity, invented filmmaking techniques, made perhaps a dozen classic comedies, turned in a terrific dramatic performance in Martin Scorsese’s “The King of Comedy,” and left the world altered and even enhanced with his time and his work in it.

That’s an estimable achievement and one worth pausing to commemorate.

#RIP to Le Roi du Crazy

~ Biographer Shawn Levy on Jerry Lewis on Facebook