Call for Proposals for the 12th Orphan Film Symposium – Water, Climate, & Migration, hosted by the 6th Eye International Conference, 23-27 May 2020
The biennial NYU Orphan Film Symposium returns to Eye Filmmuseum in Amsterdam, 23-27 May 2020, combining forces with the annual Eye International Conference to explore contemporary archival and academic debates. As always, both events assemble film heritage professionals, scholars, archivists, media artists, curators, collectors, filmmakers, and restorers, and others devoted to saving, studying, and screening neglected audiovisual media. Presenters selected from this open call for proposals will offer three full days and four evenings of talks and special screenings of rare and restored films.
This edition focuses on the urgent but perennial subjects of water, climate, and migration, by examining how neglected works have recorded, represented, and imagined these phenomena throughout the history of moving images.
We invite proposals to present talks and screenings that address one or more of these intertwined concepts. The symposium seeks a range of historical and theoretical perspectives. Proposals might address questions such as these:
- Water. Why water? Because of Amsterdam! Because everywhere. Water is essential to life itself but also has destructive, even traumatic power, through its flooding forces — or its scarcity. Societies are shaped by their interrelationships with water — the Netherlands being a most conspicuous and visible example. For filmmakers, media artists, and documentarians, H20 has always been a subject with aesthetic attraction as well. What neglected films illustrate the significance of water in its many forms?
- Climate. How can the study of moving images inform our understanding of earth’s climate over time? Of perceptions and collective imagination of climate? What films have tackled this subject directly? Indirectly? How might media be used as evidence of historical climate change? Moreover, how are the practices and conceptions of preservation itself being reexamined in a time of climate change? What of the environmental impact on and of archives? And how does a growing awareness of living an Anthropocene epoch alter our experience of watching historical audiovisual recordings of planet Earth, its atmosphere, landscapes, oceans, shores, cities, farms, flora, and fauna.
- Migration – human, animal, other – remains a topic of news, policymaking, political debate, scientific study, social analysis, and historical research. Humanitarian crises of migration are prevalent in current discourse but have been so throughout the history of mass media. What previously overlooked films and media recordings help us understand issues of migration and our engagement with them?
We of course also welcome proposals that address perspectives not mentioned here.
We invite a variety of presentation formats: traditional illustrated conference papers; introductions to single films; performances, demonstrations, and interventions; and recent media productions using archival or found footage. We can consider a limited number of (live) video presentations for those who either don’t fly or who want to fly less. Presenters selected from this open call will discuss and screen rediscovered or recently preserved films from collections and archives around the world. The event showcases a diverse array of rare orphan films – silent, experimental, nontheatrical, sponsored, independent, scientific, documentary, educational, newsreel, fragmentary, amateur, industrial, personal, incomplete, and other moving images from outside of mainstream cinema.
Presentations of 10 to 30 minutes will constitute most of the programming. We can also accept proposals for longer time slots if the running time of a compelling screening or the nature of a collaborative presentation warrant more than half an hour. Evening screenings (with short introductions) may allow for longer films, including features. We may discuss with presenters appropriate alteration of a format or duration when this makes curatorial sense for the programme as a whole.
how to apply
- Proposals (500 words or less) for presentations should summarize the argument or rationale and identify AV materials by title, format, and duration. Include a short bio (50 words).
- E-mail a .docx attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Subject header: PROPOSAL for Orphans 2020.
- Proposals received by 19 November 2019 will receive full consideration.
travel grant programme
Eye and NYU Orphans have established a travel grant programme for speakers of the Eye International Conference. The grants, up to 500 euro each, can be used to partially offset registration and travel costs. To apply, please submit a brief essay (no more than 500 words) addressing the financial need for the award, as well as how attendance at the conference will contribute to your professional development. Email your application by 19 November to email@example.com, using the term “Travel Grant” in the subject header. The travel grant programme is only open for speakers of the Eye International Conference 2020.
The Orphan Film Symposium begins with an evening screening on Saturday, May 23 (preceded by “Meet the Archive,” an afternoon public programme highlighting recent projects from the Eye Collection). Three full days and evenings of symposium presentations and screenings, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. “Orphans 12” attendees are also invited to special activities at the Eye Collection Centre on Wednesday 27 May.
This event is organized by Eye in collaboration with the Orphan Film Symposium, a project of NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Department of Cinema Studies, and its Moving Image Archiving and Preservation Program.
University of Amsterdam (UvA) and the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA).