Saturday and Sunday May 2 and 3 – the Orphans West Symposium!!

Saturday May 2 and Sunday May 3, 2009

At the Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax (at Melrose)

Los Angeles Filmforum, Cinefamily, and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and MIAP program presents
The Orphans West Symposium

With FIVE shows over two days featuring presenters and films from around the country!!


The Orphan Film Symposium has had six incarnations since its start in 1999 at the University of South Carolina. Founder Dan Streible has since developed the symposium into a favorite of AMIA members, filmmakers, and historians. The event is now held at NYU as a project of their Moving Image Archiving and Preservation program, and draws sold out crowds from around the world (18 nations were represented at the last symposium).

Lindas Film on Menstruation (1974)

Linda's Film on Menstruation (1974)

For the uninitiated, “orphan” works are those which are outside of the mainstream and often have no known origin or copyright, or were at one point considered “lost” and without a formal repository to preserve it. These include home movies, amateur and educational films, industrial and sponsored films, experimental films, and newsreels.  According to Dan Streible, the founder of the Orphans Film Symposium,

Three dictionary connotations of orphan [are] analogous to what film archivists mean by the label: 1) One deprived of protection (orphans of the storm); 2) an item not developed because it is unprofitable (an orphan drug); and 3) a discontinued model (an orphan automobile) … we can fairly say that in the twenty-first century, all film (celluloid) is becoming an orphaned technology.

Presenters at the symposium speak about orphan restoration and research projects, their processes of discovery for these films and videos, followed by screenings of the works.

Undoubtedly, latecomers to the Orphans phenomenon are curious as to what stories and treasures the early incarnations of the symposium uncovered. For those curious parties who have missed some or all of the symposia, Los Angeles organizations LA Filmforum and Cinefamily have worked with NYU and Dan Streible to coordinate a two-day retrospective event on May 2 and 3 at the historic Silent Movie Theatre at 611 N. Fairfax. The event will feature five shows; each featuring selected presentations and screenings from all six previous symposia. Orphans founder Dan Streible will be present along with an amazing lineup of presenters and films.

The Lineup (visit the full Program Page for full details!!):

Saturday May 2, 6:00pm
Selections from Orphans 1: Saving Orphan Films in the Digital Age
and Orphans 2: Documenting the 20th Century

Saturday May 2, 9:30pm
Selections from Orphans 3: Listening to Orphan Films; Sound, Music, Voice

Sunday May 3, 2:00pm
Selections from Orphans 4: On Location: Place and Region in Forgotten Films

Sunday May 3, 4:30pm

Still from Craig Baldwins Science in Action presentation and screening on Sunday May 3, 4:30pm

Still from Craig Baldwin's Science in Action presentation and screening on Sunday May 3, 4:30pm

Selections from Orphans 5: Science, Industry and Education

Sunday May 3, 8:00pm
Selections from Orphans 6: The State

Admission is $13 per show.  For $65 you will receive a pass to all five shows in the symposium, free soda and popcorn AND a dinner and wine reception on Saturday night between the first and second shows!

Please visit the Cinefamily Orphans page to purchase a symposium pass or individual tickets!

**NOTE** Filmforum members will receive symposium passes at $50, and individual tickets at $9.  These prices are not available online in advance, BUT you may email us to reserve your pass or ticket, and then purchase in person at the theatre box office.  If you would like to purchase a Filmforum membership at the Orphans West event, you may do so!  Email us at if you would like to do this.  Memberships are $60 for a single membership, $95 for a dual membership, and include free admission to all Filmforum screenings for one year.

This symposium was organized by Stephanie Sapienza and Adam Hyman of Los Angeles Filmforum, Hadrian Belove of Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre, and Dan Streible from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and the Moving Image Archiving and Preservation Program (MIAP).

Thanks also to the following individuals and organizations for providing assistance to the Orphans West symposium:

Peter Oleksik
Elizabeth Hesik
Mark Toscano

Asian Film Archive

UCLA Film and Television Archive
University of South Carolina Newsfilm Library
NYU Tisch School of the Arts
Academy Film Archive

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