Oregon Film History Invitational/May 5, 2017

by Anne Richardson

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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 and Welcome 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!

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