2020 Conference/will be rescheduled – stay tuned!

“The animation is live: I work the material, then shoot the frame, I change the painting again, shoot another frame, and so on.” Joan Gratz, writer-director-producer of MONA LISA DESCENDING A STAIRCASE

“Using incomparable technical and artistic skill, MONA LISA DESCENDING THE STAIRCASE creates a explosive display of colors, textures and clues….” Olivier Cotte, Secrets of Oscar Winning Animation

What is the history behind, and the meaning behind, Oregon’s regional strength in creating independent film artists? Where does this longstanding strength fit within the overall intellectual and cultural identity of the Pacific Northwest?

The sixth annual Oregon Film History Conference is small in size, and designed to encourage interdisciplinary engagement, open ended conversation, and professional networking.

Guest curator Ellen Thomas will lead a day of short talks and long discussions on the role played by experimentation and innovation in Oregon animation history. The day will conclude with an appearance by Oscar winning animator Joan Gratz.

The presentations are:

VANCE DEBAR “PINTO” COLVIG: SILENT ANIMATOR

Vance DeBar “Pinto” Colvig (1892-1967) earned his most lasting fame as a voice artist, but before that chapter of his career, he worked as a silent era animator and a creator of animated special effects. You know him as the voice of Goofy.

Ben Truwe is a regional historian focusing on Southern Oregon history and the Rogue River Indian Wars. He gives classes, lectures, and tours at Southern Oregon Historical Society.

DAVID FOSTER & EUGENE’S NEW NEW BAUHAUS

David Foster (1925-2003) taught across three departments at UO: film, architecture, and art education. His fearless embrace of the new inspired students to do the same. Foster’s films, and those of his students (CHIPS IN SPACE by Ken O’Connell, pictured above), will be highlighted, using clips.

Kenneth O’Connell co-founded the Pacific Northwest Computer Graphics Conference in 1982. Professor emeritus at UO, he led the Fine & Applied Art Department for twelve years.

THE ANIMATED ART ECOLOGY OF PORTLAND

Clockwise from upper left: Jim Blashfield’s SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES (1984); Will Vinton & Bob Gardiner’s CLOSED MONDAYS (1974); Frank Hood, Teknifilm Lab; Bob Summers & Brooke Jacobson, Northwest Film Center.

The cultural ecology in Portland led to an incredibly prolific and creative period of art animation in the 70s and 80s. This talk will discuss some of technical resources, schools, showcases and early work which converged to make this such a fertile time. 

Rose Bond creates large scale, site specific animated installations. She is Chair of the Animated Arts department and the Institute Director for Boundary Crossings at PNCA.

A QUESTION FOR ANNE

Q: Just what is meant by “incredibly prolific”?

A: In 1987, there was YOUR FACE, Bill Plympton; CERRIDWEN’S GIFT, Rose Bond; A CLAYMATION CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION, Will Vinton; BOY IN THE BUBBLE, Jim Blashfield; THE SIMPSONS, Matt Groening. That’s one Oscar nomination, one Northwest Film & Video Festival First Prize, one Primetime Emmy, five MTV Award nominations, one network television debut, in just one year.

2020 ELMER BUEHLER AWARD

Halfway through the day, we take time out for the Elmer Buehler Award For Film Preservation ceremony, which traditionally includes cake for all. As Julia Child said “A party without a cake is just a meeting.”

We take your point, Julia!

Historian James Hillegas-Elting will provide a short introduction to the patron saint of Oregon film preservation. 2017 Elmer Buehler Award winner Michele Kribs will present the 2020 award to Libby Burke. If we’re lucky, 2018 Elmer Buehler Award winner Sheldon Renan and 2019 Elmer Buehler Award winner Heather Petrocelli will be there to help.

“Heroes are not giant statues framed against a red sky. They are people who say; This is my community, and it’s my responsibility to make it better.” Tom McCall

INNOVATOR’S ROUNDTABLE

What Oregon animation innovations of the previous decades are influencing today’s animated feature films, some now being filmed in Portland (Guillermo del Toro & Mark Gustafson”s PINOCCHIO, Henry Selick’s WENDELL & WILD, and the yet-to-be-titled “film six” at Laika)?  This panel discussion with invited Portland animators will dive into the Oregon-bred techniques that are still shaping the industry today.  Think motion control, armatures and more. .

Marilyn Zornado, director, animator, motion-graphics artist, calligrapher and book artist, will moderate the discussion. After a career as Senior Producer at Will Vinton Studios, she now works full-time as an artist.

JOAN GRATZ: THROUGH PAINTERLY EXPRESSIONS

Joan Gratz will talk about her work, show clips from some of her films, and take questions from the audience.

Joan Gratz first combined animation with painting while an architecture student at the University of Oregon. She shifted to painting in clay at Will Vinton Studios where she worked on a series of films which earned Oscar nominations. In 1987, she founded Gratz Film. In 1993, she won an Oscar.

Olivier Cotte: Do you envision the film in its entirety before you begin?

Joan Gratz: No….it’s the process of discovery which interests me.

Joan will show her most recent film, ONE MINUTE MEMOIR: THE FILMS OF 11 DIRECTORS, which is comprised of animated memoirs from Chris Hinton, Paul Driessen, Dennis Tupicoff, Joan Gratz, Theodore Ushev, Janet Perlman, Marv Newland, Bill Plympton, Jim Blashfield, Diane Obomsawin, and Chel White.

And that’s it!

With the help of guest curator Ellen Thomas (thank you, Ellen!), featured artist Joan Gratz, and speakers Ben Truwe, Ken O’Connell, Rose Bond and Marilyn Zornado, Oregon Cartoon Institute presents the first all day conference devoted to Oregon animation history.

See you there!

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2020 REGISTRATION INFO

The sixth annual Oregon Film History Conference has been postponed. We will reschedule once the threat of the Corona virus has subsided.

Q: What’s the conference like?

A: Here’s 2019, 201820172016, 2015.

Registration is required. Seating is limited. Participants must supply a qualifying affiliation with a non-profit organization (school, museum, historical society, etc.) in order to register. This event is not open to the public.

Contact Anne Richardson, at anne at oregonfilmhistoryconference dot org, if you have questions.

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Oregon Cartoon Institute, a 501c3 non-profit organization, began presenting the annual one day Oregon Film History Conference in 2015. More information about OCI can be found here.

Founded in 2007 by Anne Richardson and Dennis Nyback, Oregon Cartoon Institute uses new media, archival film, research, networking, and cross disciplinary discussion to explore Oregon film, animation, and print cartooning history.  It has no brick and mortar presence, and always works in partnership with organizations which do.

2019 Conference/May 3, 2019

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I think it’s part of the responsibility of an artist to shock, to upset, to make people think differently, and to surprise people. And that’s where the good humor is, if there’s a surprise and there’s something unexpected. Something that’s not normal, not in the realm of general living expectations. Bill Plympton 

What is the history behind, and the meaning behind, Oregon’s regional strength in creating independent film artists? Where does this longstanding strength fit within the overall intellectual and cultural identity of the Pacific Northwest?

On Friday, May 3, 2019, Oregon Cartoon Institute presents the fifth annual one day Oregon Film History Conference.

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The conference is designed to showcase the complexity and diversity of Oregon film history for educators, historians, and museum professionals. It is small in size, and designed to encourage interdisciplinary engagement, open ended conversation, and professional networking.

This year we focus on the intersection of music and Oregon film history. The day begins with a focus on the very first Oregon musician to perform on camera, and ends with an onstage conversation with an artist from Oregon City who uses music extremely sensitively in his films, two time Oscar nominee Bill Plympton.

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MUSIC ON FILM: LEE MORSE

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Lee Morse became a top selling recording artist in 1924. She appeared, as herself, in three early soundies made in 1930.  Dennis Nyback makes the case that Lena Corinne Morse (1897-1954), born in Cove, Oregon and brought up in Kooskia, Idaho, is the first recorded jazz singer.

Dennis Nyback‘s musical revue CAN’T WE BE FRIENDS? was adapted by PBS to YOURS FOR A SONG: THE WOMEN OF TIN PAN ALLEY in 1999. Nyback presented his paper on Morse at the 2010 Pacific Northwest History Conference. Master projectionist and film archivist, he is co-founder of Oregon Cartoon Institute.

MUSIC IN FILM: JOHNNIE RAY

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Johnnie Ray was one of the first to make me really open my ears. That was like 2 or 3 years before Elvis. Rolling Stone Bill Wyman

Singer-songwriter Johnnie Ray‘s The Little White Cloud That Cried sold two million records in 1952. In 1954, he starred in THERE’S NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS.  John Alvin Ray (1927-1990) was born in Dallas, Oregon, and grew up in Portland.

Anne Richardson‘s interest in Portland as a pop machine began in New York in the 1990s. She co-founded Oregon Cartoon Institute with Dennis Nyback in 2007.

MUSIC + FILM: KEN KESEY

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Novelist Ken Kesey (Sometimes A Great NotionOne Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest) bought his first movie camera in 1964. In 1965, he began creating immersive art happenings which combined films with live music. Kenneth Elton Kesey (1935-2001) was born in La Junta, Colorado, and grew up in Springfield, Oregon.

Richard Gehr writes about music, culture, and pop culture. He is the co-author of The Phish Book and the author of I Only Read It for the Cartoons: The New Yorker’s Most Brilliantly Twisted Artists. From Portland, Richard now lives in Brooklyn.

BRUSH UP ON BILL: DAVID CHELSEA & PAUL HARROD

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Bill Plympton‘s first hand drawn feature, THE TUNE (1992), was a musical. His fifth and sixth, IDIOTS AND ANGELS (2008) and CHEATIN’ (2013, above), have entirely musical soundtracks. No dialogue at all! Revered by animators and beloved by audiences around the world, Bill Plympton is especially treasured in France.

Graphic novelist, cartoonist, and commercial illustrator David Chelsea will discuss Bill’s uncommon mastery of perspective. Production designer Paul Harrod, winner of this year’s Art Directors Guild award for Best Production Design for his work on ISLE OF DOGS, will discuss Bill as a fellow designer of story worlds.

MUSIC, MODERNISM & MID CENTURY PORTLAND

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Coliseum 17, Graphite on paper, 40×60 inches, 2017, Avantika Bawa

The Beatles played Portland during their second American tour. Alexander Benjamin Craghead will discuss the modernist masterpiece in which they performed, and describe the way it expressed the values and dreams of mid century Portland.

Alexander’s talk is titled “Your Precious Old Dumb Stuffy Coliseum”: Memorialization, Urbanity, and Democracy in 1960s Portland. The first half of the title is a quote from an angry fan who didn’t get into an overbooked Beatles concert.

Alexander Benjamin Craghead is the author of The Railway Palaces of Portland, Oregon: The Architectural Legacy of Henry Villard (The History Press, 2016). A historian of design and place, he is writing a dissertation at UC Berkeley on the American urban landscape.

TWO QUESTIONS FOR ANNE

Q: What intersection does the Beatles’ 1965 appearance at the Memorial Coliseum have with Oregon film history?

A: The connection is through Capitol Records, which sponsored the Beatles 1965 tour. Pinto Colvig (1892-1967), who performed the voice of Bozo the Clown, and Mel Blanc (1908-1989), who performed the voice of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and a host of other Warner Brothers cartoon characters, were Capitol’s top selling artists. Thus, arguably, it was the Hollywood success of two voice artists from Oregon which helped underwrite Portland’s only visit from the four lads from Liverpool.

Q: Where was Bill Plympton, age 19, on Aug. 22, 1965, when The Beatles were in Portland?

A: Let’s ask him!

MARNE LUCAS ON BILL PLYMPTON

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After a day of discussions led by a film archivist, a music journalist, an graphic novelist, a production designer, and an architectural historian, a filmmaker will provide the introduction to our keynote speaker by discussing her response to his work, artist to artist.

Marne Lucas is an infrared video pioneer and visual artist working at the intersection of feminism, art, technology and health. Her filmmaking debut, the magnificently eerie THE OPERATION (1995), was made with Jacob Pander. Her most recent gallery exhibit, Bardo  Project,  showcases her collaborative nature in a social practice endeavor on dying and legacy work.

Bill Plympton will join fellow Oregon filmmaker Jim Blashfield for an onstage conversation. Perhaps the conversation will include Bill’s thoughts on how he chooses the music for his films, his own intersection of music and Oregon film history.

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The artist whose work is described by the NY Times as “mischievous, mordant, analytical, and ceaselessly inventive” is, in person, unfailingly polite, calm, and attentive. But it’s true – it is really fun to make him laugh.

Come see for yourself!

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Registration is required. Seating is limited. The conference is free, but participants must supply a qualifying affiliation with a non-profit organization (school, museum, historical society, etc.). First come, first served.

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Q: What’s the conference like?

A: Here’s the previous years: 2015,  2016, 20172018.

Contact me if you have questions.

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Word to the wise: In the middle of the day, we take time out to salute our film history heroes. Last year, the Elmer Buehler Award For Film Preservation went to Sheldon Renan. This year it will go to  Heather Petrocelli. Traditionally, the ceremony includes cake for all.

For those unfamiliar with Elmer Buehler, the patron saint of film preservation, Bonneville Power Administration film archivist Libby Burke, will give an orientation.

“Heroes are not giant statues framed against a red sky. They are people who say; This is my community, and it’s my responsibility to make it better.” Tom McCall

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Oregon Cartoon Institute thanks Kinsman Foundation for their support.

Oregon Cartoon Institute thanks in advance our wonderful speakers Dennis Nyback, Anne Richardson, Richard Gehr, David Chelsea, Paul Harrod, Alexander Benjamin Craghead, and Marne Lucas. Oregon Cartoon Institute thanks in advance our wonderful keynote speaker, Bill Plympton.

Oregon Cartoon Institute thanks in advance our event manager Gretchen Harmon and A/V specialist Brad Robison.

Oregon Cartoon Institute salutes our 2019 Oregon Film History Conference sponsor Oregon Film, aka the Governor’s Office of Film & Television. Thank you, Tim Williams.

Oregon Cartoon Institute salutes our 2019 Oregon Film History Conference sponsor Oregon Film Museum. Thank you, Mac Burns.

Oregon Cartoon Institute salutes our 2019 Oregon Film History Conference sponsor the James Blue Alliance. Thank you Richard Blue and Dan Blue.

Oregon Cartoon Institute salutes our 2019 venue, Lewis and Clark College. Thank you, Matthew Johnston.

A special shout out to Fellene Gaylord, of Sirius Media! Thank you, Fellene.

The 2019 Oregon Film History Conference steering committee: Libby Burke(BPA), Michele Kribs (OHS), Elizabeth Peterson (UO), Anne Richardson (OCI).

More information about Oregon Cartoon Institute here.

And here.

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The fifth annual Oregon Film History Conference was made a success by the following participants:

Kevin Beasley, UO/SOJC
Rose Bond, PNCA/Boundary Crossings
Sam Bott, Trillium Charter School
Jim Blashfield, Blashfield Studio
Sean Brown, Washington County/archives
Will Bruder, Will Bruder Architects
Katherine Bruna, Iowa State University/education (Ames)
Libby Burke, Bonneville Power Administration Library
Mac Burns, Oregon Film Museum (Astoria) SPONSOR
David Chelsea, graphic novelist
Lisa Cicala, Oregon Media Producers Association
Alanna Colwell, Washington County/archives
S W Conser, KBOO/Words & Pictures
Alexander Benjamin Craghead, UC Berkeley
Melissa Delzio, PSU/design
Bill Failing, OHS
Diane Freaney, historian/independent scholar (Delray Beach, FL)
Fellene Gaylord, Clark College (Vancouver)
Richard Gehr, music journalist (Brooklyn)
Gretchen Harmon, author
Paul Harrod, production designer
Kohel Haver, Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts
Sebastian Heiduschke, OSU/film (Corvallis)
James Hillegas-Elting, environmental advocacy historian
Kami Horton, Oregon Public Broadcasting
Matthew Johnston, Lewis & Clark/art history
Ronald Kramer, author (Medford)
Michelle Kribs, OHS/film preservationist
Gary Lacher, Movie Preservation
Brian Lord, Portland Film Office
Marne Lucas, filmmaker/sculptor/doula (New York)
Robert Lucas, SOU/digital cinema (Ashland)
David Millholland, Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission
Donald Newlands, NC3D
Dennis Nyback, Dennis Nyback Films
Kenneth O’Connell, UO/artist (Eugene)
Cecelia Otto, American Songline
John Paul, Benedictine College (Atchison, Kansas)
Heather Petrocelli, Manchester Metropolitan University (England)
Bill Plympton, Plymptoons (New York)
Ben Popp, NWFC/filmmaker
Anne Richardson, Oregon Cartoon Institute
Mike Richardson, Dark Horse
Brad Robison, Jacknife Zion Historical Society (Sandy)
Louise Roman, Will Bruder Architects
Patrick Rosenkranz, author (underground comics)
Stephen Rust, UO/English (Eugene)
Larry Shlim, photographer
Bryan Sebok, Lewis & Clark/media studies
Mark Shapiro, independent
Tim Smith, filmmaker
Meg Suhosky, PSU/Millar Library
Larry Telles, author (silent film) (Coeur d’Alene)
Ned Thanhouser, Thanhouser Film Archives
Ellen Thomas, NWFC/education
Chel White, Bent Image Lab
Wim Wiewel, Lewis & Clark/president
Tim Williams, Oregon Film Office SPONSOR

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Founded in 2007 by Anne Richardson and Dennis Nyback, Oregon Cartoon Institute uses new media, archival film, research, networking, and cross disciplinary discussion to explore Oregon film, animation, and print cartooning history.  It has no brick and mortar presence, and always works in partnership with organizations which do.

2018 Conference/May 4, 2018

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What is the history behind, and the meaning behind, Oregon’s regional strength in creating independent film artists? Where does this longstanding strength fit within the overall intellectual and cultural identity of the Pacific Northwest?

On Friday, May 4, 2018, Oregon Cartoon Institute presents the fourth annual one day Oregon film history conference.

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The conference is designed to showcase the complexity and diversity of Oregon film history for educators, historians, and museum professionals. It is small in size, and designed to encourage interdisciplinary engagement, open ended conversation, and professional networking.

We limit the length of each presentation to leave lots of time for Q & A and discussion.

This year’s conference focuses on the minor cinemas of Oregon: newsreels, educational films, industrial films, promotional films, scientific films, television commercials, student films, experimental films, animation, home movies. It will culminate with a conversation with an artist who began in one of the minor cinemas, experimental animation, and became one of the most important figures in Oregon film history.

Here is the list of the 2018 presenters.

THE MINOR CINEMAS: NEWSREELS

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Ben Truwe, on A. C. Allen (1875-1972)

When A. C. Allen arrived in Medford in 1904, he was not a filmmaker. In 1915, he brought his first film, Grace’s Visit To The Rogue River Valley, to the Panama–Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco.

Ben Truwe researches Southern Oregon history, including its cultural history, and is on the board of Southern Oregon Historical Society and on the board of Oregon Cartoon Institute. His 2013 Oregon Cartoon Institute lecture, “More About Goofy: Pinto Colvig, Oregon Animation Pioneer”, was presented in partnership with ASIFA. He spoke about Pinto Colvig at the 2015 Oregon Film History Invitational, and at SOHS in October 2016.

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Worth Mathewson, on William L. Finley (1876 – 1952)

William L. Finley, the first Oregon independent writer-director-producer to receive international distribution, sold newsreels to Pathé. He wore other hats as well – Larry Lipin wrote about Finley’s Good Roads advocacy (work he shared with A. C. Allen) in Oregon Historical Quarterly.

Worth Mathewson is the author of William L. Finley: Pioneer Wildlife Photographer, published by Oregon State University Press in 1986.

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Ellen Thomas/on Oregon’s earliest independent filmmakers and their legacies

Portland’s appeal as a commercial film center began in the early 20th century when the city’s rail connections, varied scenery, robust theatre community and other resources combined to launch careers for local filmmakers and develop audiences for locally made films. What role did newsreel filmmaking in particular have in this setting, and how did those who made them shape the industry going forward?

Ellen Thomas published “‘Scooping the Local Field’: Oregon’s Newsreel Industry, 1911-1933” in the Fall 1989 Oregon Historical Quarterly. Her masters thesis at the UO, Commercial motion picture production in Portland, Oregon, 1910-1928, inspired other articles about early Oregon film for OUR TOWN, OREGON SCREEN MONTHLY and other publications. She is the director of education at Northwest Film Center.

THE MINOR CINEMAS: HOME MOVIES

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Monte Wolverton, on Basil Wolverton (1909 – 1978)

Basil Wolverton grew up with the movies. In home movies made after he had achieved national success as a print cartoonist, he paid homage to the silent comedy he saw in his youth. Born in Central Point, Oregon, Basil Wolverton grew up in Vancouver, Washington.

Monte Wolverton is an artist, painter, sculptor and print cartoonist. He advised the 2014 Fantagraphics biography of his father, Creeping Death from Neptune: The Life and Comics of Basil Wolvertonand the 2016 Oregon Historical Society exhibit Comic City USA.

THE MINOR CINEMAS: INDUSTRIAL FILMS

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Sheldon Renan, on Douglas Engelbart (1925 – 2013)

On December 9, 1968, Douglas Engelbart gave a demonstration of interlinked personal computers to the Association for Computing Machinery/Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers in San Francisco. The demonstration, videotaped by a young technophile named Stewart Brand, became known as THE MOTHER OF ALL DEMOS because of the shockingly huge number of innovations unveiled within it. Engelbart graduated from Franklin High School in Portland in 1943.

Sheldon Renan’s An Introduction To The American Underground Film, published in 1967, influenced generations of filmmakers. He continues to write and speak about the intersection of art and technology. He grew up watching movies at the Blue Mouse in downtown Portland.

THE MINOR CINEMAS: EXPERIMENTAL ANIMATION

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Dennis Nyback & Anne Richardson, on Will Vinton

Will Vinton transformed Oregon film history when, after winning a 1975 Oscar for the animated short CLOSED MONDAYS, an honor shared with co-creator Bob Gardiner, he returned to Portland to open his own studio. Hundreds of Oregon artists, animators and non-animators alike, were inspired by Vinton’s independence and success.

Dennis Nyback will give a rapid fire tour of downtown Portland theater history, explaining how and why CLOSED MONDAYS came to be discovered in a tiny art house theater on SW Taylor. Anne Richardson will discuss the way a key assist from a vestigial remnant of Portland’s silent era filmmaking infrastructure supported Will Vinton’s emergence as an independent film entrepreneur.

Will Vinton will join us.

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Randy Finley, the Seattle based independent distributor who took CLOSED MONDAYS to Los Angeles for its qualifying run, will join us as well.

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During this fast paced day of film history immersion, we take time out to salute our heroes.

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Last year, film preservationist Gary Lacher presented the 2017 Elmer Buehler Award to Oregon Historical Society film archivist Michele Kribs. This year, Michele will make the presentation to the 2018 award winner, Sheldon Renan.

“Heroes are not giant statues framed against a red sky. They are people who say; This is my community, and it’s my responsibility to make it better.” Tom McCall

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William L. Finley, in Alaska

Oregon Cartoon Institute salutes our 2018 partner, UO Libraries. Thank you, Elizabeth Peterson.

Oregon Cartoon Institute salutes our sponsor Oregon Film. Thank you, Tim Williams.

Oregon Cartoon Institute salutes our sponsor Oregon Film Museum. Thank you, Mac Burns.

Oregon Cartoon Institute salutes our sponsor Dark Horse. Thank you, Mike Richardson.

Oregon Cartoon Institute salutes our sponsor James Blue Alliance. Thank you, Richard Blue & Dan Blue.

The fourth annual Oregon Film History Conference was made a success by the following participants:

Carl Abbott, PSU/emeritus
Gwen Asbury, City of Portland, Archives
Bill Baars, Lake Oswego Public Library
Libby Burke, Bonneville Power Administration Library
Devin Busby, Portland City Archives
Mac Burns, Oregon Film Museum
E. J. Carter, Lewis and Clark, Special Collections
David Chelsea, artist
Patricia Clark-Finley, artist
Hector Cobb, Portland Public Schools
Laurence Cotton, writer-producer
Hannah Crumme, Lewis and Clark, Special Collections
Ira Deutchman, Columbia University
Rich Dubnow, Image3D
Bill Failing, Oregon Historical Society
Randy Finley, Seven Gables Theaters
Mary K. Gallagher, Benton County Historical Society
Fellene Gaylord, Clark College
Kohel Haver, Swider/Haver
Gretchen Harmon, author
Eric Hillerns, Design Week
Kami Horton, Oregon Public Broadcasting
Brooke Jacobson, Northwest Film Center co-founder
Ron Kramer, author
Michele Kribs, Oregon Historical Society
Gary Lacher, Movie Preservation, Inc.

Brian Lord, Portland Film Office/Prosper Portland
Christopher Lucas, Southern Oregon University
Roberta Margolis, photographer
Worth Mathewson, author
Teresa McQuisten, Eltrym Theater
David Millholland, Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission
Nancy Niland, Oswego Heritage Council
Dennis Nyback, Dennis Nyback Films
Phil Oppenheim, Scripps TV/Panopticon Communication
Erik Palmer, Southern Oregon University
Elizabeth Peterson, University of Oregon/Curator of Moving Images
Heather Petrocelli, Manchester Metropolitan University
Ben Popp, Northwest Film Center
Sheldon Renan, independent scholar
Anne Richardson, Oregon Cartoon Institute
Brad Robison, Jacknife-Zion-Horseheaven Historical Society
Hunter Shobe, Portland State University
Larry Telles, Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum
Ned Thanhouser, Thanhouser Company Film Preservation, Inc.
Ellen Thomas, Northwest Film Center
Ben Truwe, Southern Oregon Historical Society
Will Vinton, filmmaker
Tim Williams, Oregon Film
Monte Wolverton, artist
Precious Yamaguchi, Southern Oregon University

Thank you all!

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Founded in 2007 by Anne Richardson and Dennis Nyback, Oregon Cartoon Institute uses new media, archival film, research, networking, and cross disciplinary discussion to explore Oregon film, animation, and print cartooning history.  It has no brick and mortar presence, and always works in partnership with organizations which do.

2017 Invitational/May 5, 2017

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Ken Kesey, camera. Bill Murray, sound. 

What is the history behind, and the meaning behind, Oregon’s regional strength in creating independent film artists? Where does this longstanding strength fit within the overall intellectual and cultural identity of the Pacific Northwest?

On Friday, May 5, 2017, Oregon Cartoon Institute presents the third annual one day Oregon film history conference.

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James Blue shooting VOUS N’AVEZ RIEN CONTRE LA JEUNESSE (1958) in Paris

The conference is designed to showcase the complexity and diversity of Oregon film history for educators, historians, and museum professionals. It is small in size, and designed to encourage interdisciplinary engagement, open ended conversation,  and professional networking.

Here is the list of the 2017 presenters.

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Ronald Kramer/KGW Hoot Owls (1923-1933)

Mel Blanc was a member of this wildly improvisational Jazz Age radio show, beloved by hundreds of thousands of listeners. In this (staged) publicity shot, the KGW Hoot Owls are being rounded up by the Portland police.

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Ronald Kramer is the author of Pioneer Mikes: A History of Radio and Television in Oregon. He served as Executive Director of Jefferson Public Radio in Southern Oregon from 1974 to 2012 while also consulting for the Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and other organizations.

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Elizabeth Peterson/Lester Beck, UO’30

In 1947, Lester Beck made HUMAN GROWTH, the best middle school sex education film the world had ever seen. From this unlikely beginning, he became the head of the film department at USC in 1950. He brought Andries Deinum (1918-1995), future founder of PSU’s Center For The Moving Image, to Portland in 1957.

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Elizabeth Peterson is Humanities Librarian and Curator of Moving Images in University of Oregon’s Knight Library. With co-author Michael Aronson, she published “No Birds, No Bees, No Moralizing: Lester F. Beck, Progressive Educational Filmmaker” in The Moving Image 13.1 (2014).

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Gretchen Harmon/William B. Gruber, inventor of Viewmaster

William B. Gruber arrived in Portland from Bavaria in 1924. In 1939, he invented a handheld stereoscopic viewer which sold by the millions. Both the viewers and the reels were manufactured in Portland, providing work for Norm Dimick‘s processing lab, among many other ripple effects, both economic and cultural.

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Gretchen Harmon, the author of View Master: The Biography of William B. Gruber, is a Portland native and the youngest daughter of William B. Gruber.

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David Chelsea/At the Scribe (1972-1978)

Matt Groening, Bill Plympton, Jim Blashfield, Will Vinton and Gus Van Sant read the Portland Scribe. David Chelsea illustrated it.

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David Chelsea is the author of the graphic novels David Chelsea In Love andWelcome To The Zone, and the how-to books Perspective! For Comic Book Artists and Extreme Perspective! For Artists. He is one of the producers of 24 HOUR COMIC, a 2017 documentary in which he also appears.

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Julie Perini/Using OHS Moving Image Archives

Lew Cook (1909-1983), one of Portland’s earliest film entrepreneurs, founded the Moving Image Archive at Oregon Historical Society. In 2015, co-directors Julie Perini, Erin Yanke and Jodi Darby used the OHS archive to source rare footage documenting Portland’s history of protest. “Utilizing meditative footage taken at sites of police violence, experimental filmmaking techniques, and archival newsreel, ARRESTING POWER creates a space for understanding the impacts of police violence and imagining a world without police.”

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Julie Perini makes videos, films, installations, photographs and other objects, site-specific projects, essays and manifestoes, events and performances, and educational situations. She has an MFA from the Department of Media Study at the University at Buffalo, and teaches at PSU.

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David Cress/MHCC film school

From 1988 to 1995, under the leadership of Jack Schommer, Mount Hood Community College offered what might have been the only college degree program focused on Public, Educational & Government/Community Television. As part of a Portland metro area franchise, MHCC received a large grant to set up and sustain a community television training curriculum centered around cable access television and community media. One of its graduates is David Cress.

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David Cress is known for producing the hit comedy show Portlandia for which he was nominated for an Emmy in 2015. Other awards include work recognized by Peabody, Cannes, Clio, CA, and One Show, as well as Sundance Film Festival and SXSW Film Festival. He is the president of OMPA (Oregon Media Production Association).

We limit the length of each presentation to leave lots of time for Q & A and discussion.

Admission is by invitation. Seating is limited.

Contact me if you feel you have been left off the invitation list by mistake.

Oregon Cartoon Institute was founded to raise awareness of Oregon’s rich film, animation, and cartooning history. It has no brick and mortar presence, and always partners with organizations and institutions which do.

“Heroes are not giant statues framed against a red sky. They are people who say; This is my community, and it’s my responsibility to make it better.” Tom McCall

This year the Oregon Film History Invitational receives support from Oregon Film, aka the Governor’s Office of Film and Television. Thank you, Tim Williams!

This year the Oregon Film History Invitational receives support from Oregon Film Museum. Thank you, Mac Burns!

Video projector donated by Picture This Production Services & Stage. Thank you, Tom McFadden, for arranging this.

Thank you in advance to all our presenters!

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Elmer Buehler (1911-2010), the BPA employee who chauffeured Woody Guthrie during his month of commissioned songwriting, and who later rescued BPA films from destruction. Thank you, Libby Burke,  for the photo.

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The third Oregon Film History Invitational was made a success by the following presenters and participants:

Carl Abbott, historian
Libby Burke, BPA
David Chelsea, artist
John Concillo, OCHC
David Cress, producer
John Dennis, photographer
Milan Erceg, filmmaker
Bill Failing, OHS
Larry Fong, curator/arts advocate
Gretchen Harmon, author
Kohel Haver, Swider Haver
David Hedberg, PSU
Michael Huntsberger, Linfield College
Brooke Jacobson, co-founder NWFC
Jody Jorgenson, filmmaker
Ronald Kramer, radio historian
Michele Kribs, OHS
Gary Lacher, film preservationist
Tom McFadden, Oregon Film Museum
Frann Michel, Willamette University
Dennis Nyback, film archivist
Julie Perini, PSU
Elizabeth Peterson, UO
Heather Petrocelli, film historian
Sheldon Renan, writer/theorist
Anne Richardson, OCI
Mike Richardson, Dark Horse
Brad Robison, systems designer
Joe Sacco, graphic journalist
Hunter Shobe, PSU
Janice Shokrian, OMPA
Eric Slade, OPB
Brad Studstrup, filmmaker
Larry Telles, Niles Film Museum
Ned Thanhauser, film preservationist
John Urang, Marylhurst University
Katherine Wilson, producer
Precious Yamaguchi, SOU

Thank you all!

2016 Invitational/May 13, 2016

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Helen Gibson in Hazards Of Helen (1915-1917)

What is the history behind, and the meaning behind, Oregon’s regional strength in creating independent film artists? Where does this longstanding strength fit within the overall intellectual and cultural identity of the Pacific Northwest?

Three examples, among many others: Dark Horse founder Mike Richardson, twelve time Emmy award winner Matt Groening, and two time Oscar nominee Bill Plympton. All three artist-entrepreneurs move between film and print cartooning/comics, and are part of the history covered in Oregon Historical Society’s upcoming exhibit, Comics City, USA, in 2016.

On Friday, May 13, 2016, Oregon Movies, A to Z presents the second annual one day Oregon film history conference.

The conference is designed to showcase the complexity and diversity of Oregon film history for educators, historians, and museum professionals.

Here is the list of the 2016 presenters.

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Larry Telles/Ranch Girl On A Rampage: Helen Gibson, Hollywood’s first professional stuntwoman, performs in the 1913 Pendleton Round Up.

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Writer, producer and film historian, Larry is one of the founding members of the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum in Niles, California. He is the author of Helen Gibson: Silent Serial Queen, and serves on the board of Film Alliance Northwest.

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Dennis Nyback/B. F. Shearer & Portland’s Film Row. Hollywood’s distribution infrastructure on NW 19th, which supported an analog media empire, includes a perfectly miniaturized showcase theater designed by Seattle based B. F. Shearer.

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Dennis Nyback advocated for the preservation of the Seattle Film Building in 1990. His chapter, Art and Grind in Seattle, appears in From The Arthouse To The Grindhouse: Highbrow And Lowbrow Transgression In Cinema’s First Century from Scarecrow Press. Master projectionist and film archivist, he is co-founder of Oregon Cartoon Institute.

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Patrick Rosenkranz/Carl Barks: The Oregon comic book auteur who invented Uncle Scrooge McDuck and inspired Robert Crumb.

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One of the premier scholars of the underground comics movement of the 1960s and 1970s, Patrick Rosenkranz has been writing about comics since 1969. His Rebel Visions: The Underground Comix Revolution 1963-1975, chronicles the inception and development of the artistic revolution that changed comics forever.

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Libby Burkelibrarian & archivist/Citizen Kahn: Stephen B. Kahn at BPA.

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Woody Guthrie recorded “Roll On, Columbia, Roll On” for the first time in NE Portland, just blocks from where Libby Burke supervised the restoration of the Stephen B. Kahn film (“The Columbia”) for which it was commissioned. Libby Burke, MLIS, CA, came to the Bonneville Power Administration Library from the Lyman Museum and Mission House in Hilo, Hawai’i, where she participated in the pilot project for “’Ulu’ulu: The Henry Ku’ualoha Giugni Moving Image Archive of Hawai’i.”

Lunch – on your own (Alberta is one block away)

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Harry Dawson will speak about his decades long collaboration with artist Bill Viola.

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Harry Dawson attended the Pacific Northwest’s first film school, PSU’s Center For The Moving Image (1969-1981). His credits as director and cinematographer include National Geographic Explorer, The Guggenheim, NBC, Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Paris Opera, National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame,Leverage, MOMA, Discovery Channel,  The Whitney, The Plains Indian Museum, TNT, The Getty Villa, Tate Modern, PBS, Grimm, National Portrait Gallery, Twilight. From McMinnville.

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Richard Blue gives an update on the international search for the lost negative of James Blue’s THE OLIVE TREES OF JUSTICE (1962).

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Like his older brother James Blue (1930-1980), Richard spent much of his life in working outside the USA. He worked in Eqypt, India and Bangkok, first as a political scientist for USAID and later as an officer for the US Foreign Service, retiring as Senior Foreign Service Minister Counselor. He founded the James Blue Alliance in 2013. James Blue, Oregon’s first Oscar nominated director, made films in India, Africa, and South America. A member of the founding faculty of AFI, James Blue was the founding director of Rice Media Center in Houston. Both Blues graduated from Jefferson High School. From Portland.

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Mike Richardson will tell us about the transition he made from publisher to producer with DR. GIGGLES in 1992.

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Graduating from PSU with a degree in art, Mike Richardson always knew he wanted to make movies. He founded  Dark Horse Comics in 1986, and in 1992 made the move from the page to the screen by co-producing a low budget thriller, DR GIGGLES, in Portland. Dark Horse Comics was now Dark Horse Entertainment. In 1994, he was an executive producer on THE MASK, starring Jim Carrey and Cameron Diaz, and based on characters he had created in 1985.  A steady stream of comics, films, comics based on films, and films based on comics, followed. In 2004, HELLBOY consolidated his place on Hollywood’s A list. From Milwaukie.

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Mike Richardson’s next film, THE LEGEND OF TARZAN,  opens on July 1, 2016.

We will limit the length of each presentation to leave lots of time for Q & A and discussion.

The day will be a whirlwind of information, designed to encourage open ended conversation, interdisciplinary engagement and professional networking.

It is by invitation only.

Seating is limited.

Contact me if you feel you have been left off the invitation list by mistake.

The second annual Oregon Film History Invitational is brought to you by Oregon Movies, A to Z, a project of Oregon Cartoon Institute, which in turn is fiscally sponsored by Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission, a 501 c3 non profit organization.

This year we also receive support from Oregon Film, aka the Governor’s Office of Film and Television. Thank you, Tim Williams!

Oregon Cartoon Institute/Oregon Movies, A to Z was founded to raise awareness of Oregon’s rich film, animation, and cartooning history. It has no brick and mortar presence, and always partners with organizations and institutions which do.

“Heroes are not giant statues framed against a red sky. They are people who say; This is my community, and it’s my responsibility to make it better.” Tom McCall

Thank you in advance to all our presenters!

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The second one day Oregon film history conference was made a success by the following presenters and participants.

Richard Blue, James Blue Alliance
Libby Burke, Bonneville Power Administration
Mac Burns, Oregon Film Museum
John Concillo, Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission
Harry Dawson, filmmaker
Damon Eckhoff, artist/UX designer
Bill Failing, Oregon Historical Society
Michael Friend, Columbia Gorge Discovery Center
Laurie Gabriel, filmmaker
Gretchen Gruber, writer
Abigail Howard, Bonneville Power Admistration
Brooke Jacobson, educator
Michele Kribs, Oregon Historical Society
Gary Lacher, film preservationist
Lois Leonard, filmmaker/historian
Ross Lienhart, PSU Foundation
Matt McCormick, Portland State University
Zach Margolis, animator
Tom McFadden, Oregon Film Museum
Frann Michel, Willamette
Marc Mohan, Oregonian/Oregon Arts Watch
Karen Munro, University of Oregon
Dennis Nyback, Oregon Cartoon Institute
Phil Oppenheim, Lionsgate/Comic Con
John Patterson, Willamette
Ben Popp, Northwest Film Center
Anne Richardson, Oregon Cartoon Institute
Mike Richardson, Dark Horse
Brad Robison, systems designer
Patrick Rosenkranz, writer/historian
Charlotte Rubin, Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission
Kaye Silver, Bonneville Power Administration
Khris Soden, artist
Larry Telles, writer/historian
Andreas Wallach, filmmaker
Tim Williams, Film Oregon

Thank you all!

2015 Invitational/May 8, 2015

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Sheldon Renan, Pacific Film Archives 1970

On May 8, 2015, Oregon Movies, A to Z is holding a one day Oregon film history conference specifically designed for educators, historians and museum professionals.

What is the history behind, and the meaning behind, Oregon’s regional strength in creating independent film artists?  Where does this longstanding strength fit within the overall intellectual and cultural identity of the Pacific Northwest?

Three examples, among many others: Dark Horse founder Mike Richardson, twelve time Emmy award winner Matt Groening, and two time Oscar nominee Bill Plympton. All three artist-entrepreneurs move between film and print cartooning/comics, and are part of the history covered in Oregon Historical Society’s upcoming exhibit, Comics City, USA, in 2016.

The conference is very low key and conversational. The point is just for people to hear about the wide variety of work being done.

Here is the list of presenters.

The day is split into two halves: Silent Era in the morning/Sound Era in the afternoon.

Silent Era

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Steve Stone & Gary Lacher, authors of Theatres of Portland
Electrified, movie mad Portland: Mapping the 1910’s/1920’s streetcar/movie theater infrastructure

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Gus Frederick, Homer Davenport Project
The political connections ofOregon’s first cartooning superstar, Homer Davenport, contradict his self description as “country boy”

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Ben TruweSouthern Oregon Historical Society
Voice artist Pinto Colvig, one of Oregon’s earliest pop culture practitioners, directed an early feature length animated film (now lost, save a handful of archived 35mm frames), in San Francisco in 1916

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Walt Dimick, filmmaker
Second generation filmmaker/inventor Walt Dimick describes the business strategy of Norm Dimick, one of Portland’s first full time film entrepreneurs.

Lunch

Sound Era

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Dennis NybackDennis Nyback Film Archive
George Olsen, Del Porter, Louis Kaufman, Mel Blanc, Phil Moore (pictured above), Johnnie Ray, Jane Powell: Portland talent hits sound era Hollywood

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Anne RichardsonOregon Movies, A to Z
James Ivory & James Blue: the Third World debuts of Oregon’s first sound era directors

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Sheldon Renan & Brooke Jacobson, filmmakers/educators (the above photo is of Brooke Jacobson and Bob Summers, found on Heather Petrocelli’s wonderful @ReelPDX)
Portland’s film community in 1970-71: The birth of Northwest Film Study Center

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Richard Blakeslee & Tom Chamberlin, filmmakers
Teknifilm Lab nurtures the return of Portland independent film

We will limit the length of each presentation to leave lots of time for Q & A and discussion.

It will be a whirlwind of information, but that would be the point. To bring everybody up to speed with each other’s work (in a rough way) within one day.

The conference is by invitation. It is designed for educators, historians and museum professionals.

Seating is limited.

Contact me if you feel you have been left off the invitation list by mistake.

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 Dennis Nyback, co-founder of Oregon Cartoon Institute, will show a Portland film so rare that when we contacted the people who made it, they said it didn’t exist.

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This conference was inspired by the deluge of new information unleashed during the recent Mid Century Oregon Genius screening series which was supported by Kinsman Foundation and Miller Foundation, and fiscally sponsored by Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission.

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The first one day Oregon film history conference was made a success by the following presenters and participants.

Laura Berg, writer-editor
Richard Blakeslee, filmmaker
Richard Blue, James and Richard Blue Foundation
Bill Bowling, film locations consultant, founder of the Deinum Prize
David Bryant, filmmaker
Libby Burke, Bonneville Power Administration Archives
Mac Burns, Oregon Film Museum
Tom Chamberlin, filmmaker
John Concillo, Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission
Laurence Cotton, writer-filmmaker
Walt Dimick, filmmaker
Bill Failing, Oregon Historical Society
James Fox, UO Knight Library
Gus Frederick, Homer Davenport Project
Kohel Haver, Swider/Haver
Brooke Jacobson, educator
Jerry Ketel, Leopold Ketel
Gary Lacher, film preservationist
Taz Loomans, Blooming Rock
Frann Michel, Willamette University
David Milholland, Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission
Dennis Nyback, independent archivist
Elizabeth Peterson, UO Knight Library
Ingrid Renan, Exploding Green
Sheldon Renan, writer
Anne Richardson, Oregon Cartoon Institute/Oregon Movies, A to Z
Patrick Rosenkranz, author/historian
Jennifer Stoots, art historian/appraiser
Steve Stone, historian
Randall Stuart, Cerimon House
Ben Truwe, Southern Oregon Historical Society
Eric Underwood, City of Oregon City
Kate Wagle, School of Architecture and Allied Arts, UO

Thank you, all!