The University of Maryland Cinema and Media Studies Program and the National Archives and Records Administration are pleased to present:

Films of State

A conference on the use and study of government films

April 7th-9th, 2021

Featuring presentations, panel discussions, and film screenings. The conference is open to scholars, educators, filmmakers, students, information professionals, film historians, and anyone engaged in research and the re-use of government films. All sessions will be held on Zoom Webinar. Live captioning is available. Check back for further updates.

Please Register Here

Conference Program

Wednesday April 7th, 2021 –

1:00pm – 2:30pm (EDT)
Opening Session

  • Welcome and Opening Remarks
    • Welcome from John Bertot, Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs, University of Maryland
    • Welcome from Luka Arsenjuk, Director Maryland Cinema and Media Studies Program
    • Welcome from David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States
  • Overview of NARA Moving Image Holdings
    • Introduction by Dan Rooney, Director Special Media Division
    • Presentation by Ellen Mulligan, Chief Moving Image and Sound Branch
    • Uncle Sam Presents: 75 Years of Government Films
      A compilation of clips from NARA’s holdings, edited by staff from the Motion Picture Preservation Lab
  • Keynote by George Stevens, Jr.
  • Panel Previews

3:00pm – 4:30pm (EDT)
Panel 1: Government and the Land

  • Moderated by Joshua Glick (Hendrix College)
  • Steve Graybill (NARA)
    Briefing on Park Service Records in NARA Holdings
  • Jennifer Peterson (Woodbury University)
    Conservation and the State: Film and the National Park Service
  • Oliver Gaycken (University of Maryland, College Park)
    The National Archives as Local Archive: Films of the Chesapeake
  • Martin Johnson (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)
    The Politics of Distribution: How the Bureau of Mines Used and Reused Motion Pictures
  • Lauren Pilcher (Georgia College & State University)
    A Federal Vision of Black-Owned Land in Rural Georgia: the US Information Service’s Men of the Forest (1952)
  • Discussion will include Ellen Mulligan (NARA)

7:30pm – 9:00pm (EDT)
Screening the State: A Program of Government Films

A screening of selections from government films reflecting the topics explored by presenters at the Films of State conference.

See the Screening the State Program here.

Thursday April 8th, 2021

10:00am – 11:30am (EDT)
Panel 2: Moving Images and the Military

  • Moderated by Haidee Wasson (Concordia University)
  • Nick Schwartz (NARA)
    Briefing on NARA Military Film Holdings
  • Alice Lovejoy (University of Minnesota)
    Cinema’s Militant Chemistry: On Film and Uranium
  • Kaia Scott (Independent Scholar)
    Vaccine and Antidote: US Military Psychiatric Films in WWII
  • Florian Hoof (Paderborn University)
    Shooting Standards, Standardizing Shooting: Film, Knowledge, and the Advent of Industrialized Warfare
  • Discussion will include Dan Rooney (NARA)

1:00pm – 2:30pm (EDT)
Panel 3: Using Government Film

  • Moderated by Heidi Holmstrom and Audrey Amidon (NARA)
  • Sarah Eilers (National Library of Medicine)
    Do You Have That Lobotomy Film? Moving Images at the National Library of Medicine
  • Ina Archer (National Museum of African American History and Culture)
    A Fair and Equal Chance: A Peoples Playhouse Presented by the American Negro Theatre
  • Lindsay Zarwell (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum)
    Restoring Individuality
  • Ingo Zechner (Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Digital History), Lindsay Zarwell (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum), and Criss Austin (NARA)
    Unfolding the Visual History of the Holocaust through American Liberation Footage
  • Karma Foley (Smithsonian Channel)
    Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Government Films’ Second Life on the Small Screen
  • Stephanie Greenhut (NARA)
    Film for Education: DocsTeach and National History Day

3:30pm – 5:00pm (EDT)
Panel 4: Infrastructure of Public Diplomacy

  • Moderated by Martin Johnson (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)
  • Nick Cull (University of Southern California)
    USIA film and the Alliance for Progress
  • Hongwei Thorn Chen (Tulane University)
    Projecting China in the 1940s Philanthropic Media Network: The University of Nanking, the Harmon Foundation, and the Question of Cultural Education
  • Hadi Gharabaghi (Drew University)
    Akhbār-i Īrān [Iran News Series] (USIS/Iran, 1954-1962)
  • Bret Vukoder (University of Delaware)
    Solidarity through Satellite: The USIA’s Global Broadcast of ‘Let Poland Be Poland
  • Discussion will include Carol Swain (NARA)

7:30pm – 9:00pm (EDT)
Panel 5: Ideas of Public Diplomacy

  • Moderated by Mark Williams (Dartmouth College)
  • Han Sang Kim (Ajou University)
    Competing with Local Rival Newsreels: USIS-Korea’s Newsreel Series from Liberty News to Screen Report
  • Juana Suarez (New York University)
    USIA Films in Latin America: Charting the Territory
  • Aboubakar Sanogo (Carleton University)
    Moving Images at the United States National Archives: A View from Africa
  • Yuka Tsuchiya (Kyoto University)
    Japanese Locally Produced USIS Films: From the Allied Occupation to Post-Occupation Era
  • Discussion will include Carol Swain (NARA)

Friday April 9th, 2021

10:00am – 11:30am (EDT)
Panel 6: Government and Its People

  • Moderated by Oliver Gaycken (University of Maryland)
  • Noah Tsika (Queens College, CUNY)
    US Diplomatic Corps and the Nigerian Film Industry
  • Tanya Goldman (New York University)
    A Motion Picture Program of Service for All Communities: The U.S. Treasury, War Bond Drives, and Nontheatrical Networks on the WWII Homefront
  • Stephen Charbonneau (Florida Atlantic University)
    Splitting the Screen: Urban Rebellion, Participatory Documentary, and The Hartford Project (1969)
  • Catherine Harrington (Independent Scholar)
    Correcting Corrections: Instructional Films for Corrections Officers Post-Attica
  • Discussion will include Alexandra Geitz (NARA)

1:00pm – 2:30pm (EDT)
Panel 7: The Use of Textual Records for Film Research

  • Moderated by Brian Real (Southern Connecticut State University)
  • Nathaniel Brennan (New York University)
    Paper Trails, Vesting Orders, and Institutional Histories: Some Reflections on the Federal Government’s Wartime Captured Film Collection
  • Buckey Grimm (Independent Scholar)
    The Signal Corps School of Photography at Columbia University
  • Jenny Horne (University of California, Santa Cruz)
    Civic Guides, Textual Evidence: The Pamphlet-Films of American Civic Cinema
  • Brian Real (Southern Connecticut State University)
    Better on Paper: The USIA’s Multi-Screen Epic for Expo 67
  • Discussion will include Cate Brennan (NARA)

Panels will be recorded and made available online at a later date.

3:00pm – 4:30pm (EDT)
Closing Workshops

  • 3:00pm – Using NARA’s Online Catalog for Moving Image Research, presented by Ashley Behringer (NARA)
  • 3:30pm – The Moving Image and Sound Branch Research Room: Services, Forms, and Resources in the COVID Period and Beyond, presented by Caitlin Hucik (NARA)
  • 4:00pm – Still Picture Research, presented by Sarah Lepianka (NARA)

Contact Dr. Oliver Gaycken with questions:

Image of white women and men working as archival catalogers winding through and watching motion picture films.
Source: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

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