West Virginia Filmmaker Finally Makes Films Available

Steve Fesenmaier writes "WV Filmmaker Ray Schmitt Creates His Website

Ray Schmitt has been making films since the 1970s - besides playing music and keeping his day job at the Congressional Research Service in DC. He retired to WV to his summer home in Hardy County several years ago, and since then has been producing films at an unequaled speed. He has made a short feature about UFOs in Hardy County, "The Lights." He has made some very good documentaries about some of our state's best artists - Twigman, Robert Singleton, and Jim Clark so far. Most recently he has produced his film profile about the Tusing Sisters of Lost Creek, Hardy County. While still working for the CRS he made the best documentary I have ever seen about retirement, "$4 Trillion and Counting: The Pension System in America." I certainly did not know anything about the various federal laws that created quite recently our retirement system. Ray has also made an excellent film about a world-class bellydancer, "Adriana: Shadows on Yellow Silk." During the last few year no WV filmmaker has been more of a film activist, coming to WV Filmmakers' Guild meetings at Sutton, working with other WV filmmakers, showing real solidarity. His proposal to make a film for a few thousand dollars on the 250th anniversary of Hampshire County, WV's oldest county, was unjustly turned down by the WV Humanities Council recently. Luckily his colleagues at the Library of Congress respect his work, and have shown his films, most recently "The Texture of Life," the Tusing Sisters film. Hopefully public libraries and other community groups inside WV and around the country and world will purchase copies of all of his fine films. He will be showing "The Texture of Life" and "Until I Become Light" as part of the WV Film Week at the Pioneer Theater in New York City on Saturday, March 27th. His new website where you can do this is -"

We love sound of napalm in the movies

Steve Fesenmaier writes "British poll on best film speeches puts Apocalypse Now, A Few Good Men and On the Waterfront at head of list with
Britain's Trainspotting 7th.

Full Story"


Latest Sandy Berman Video

Steve Fesenmaier wants to tell us about a new video featuring "unretired librarian" Sandy Berman:
Scott Lohman, who has lived in Minnesota for 14 years, interviews “unretired librarian� Sanford Berman about “libraries, books, and censorship.� This is Berman’s best video so far – he has the entire 25 minutes to precisely state what he thinks is going WRONG with the American public library as an institution. The interview he quotes, from New Breed, is not only his best single statement, but in my opinion, the best, most profound challenge to the contemporary corporatized public library. He was interviewed on June 10, 2003.
Read the continuation for more of Steve's comments and information about obtaining the video.


A Foreign Affair

rteeter writes "Haven't seen it myself, but a new movie called 'A Foreign Affair,' about two brothers who decide to look into Russian mail-order brides, includes a librarian who helps them research the subject. See also the IMDB entry."


Converting Videotapes to DVDs

Steve Fesenmaier writes "The NY Times has an excellent article on how to convert videotapes - home movies, etc. to DVD. Since we live in the TV age even more than the COMPUTER WORLD, all librarians need to know some basics.

Reg Req article is here.

The Stones of Summer - reprinted and STONE READER

Steve Fesenmaier writes "One of the best films ever made about books, libraries, and authors is THE STONE READER. The DVD of the film is now available from Barnes and Noble for only $39.95 - four disks with complete film and much more footage. Also, the original novel, THE STONES OF SUMMER, is being re-published this month. New Yorker Films is distributing the film to non-theatrical venues - like libraries, colleges, English courses.


Hollywood paranoia costs smaller distributors

Steve Fesenmaier writes "Small Studios Say DVD Edict Will Diminish Oscar Chances

he latest chapter in Hollywood's continuing struggle between art and commerce took place recently in a private conference room at the Four Seasons Hotel in Manhattan.

At the hotel meeting, held Wednesday, about six executives from several art-house film studios met to plot their response to a recent edict by the movie industry's trade association banning the sending of DVD's and videos to Academy Award voters.

The major studios pushed through the ban without consulting their smaller brethren — even those that were divisions of the studios' companies — saying they were acting to thwart pirating of movies.

The smaller studios see the move as a blow to their Oscar chances, having come to rely on the DVD's and videos to get their films seen by Academy Award voters who otherwise would not make it to the movie theaters.

Full NYTimes Article."


Media Librarian Celebrates 25 Years with State Film Festival

Steve Fesenmaier writes "I was hired by state librarian Fred Glazer, director of the West Virginia Library Commission, in June 1978, right out of library school. He had used federal funds to start the last new 16-mm film library in the world in 1976 after doing a survey of the state's public libraries. They overwhelmingly told him they wanted access to the great educational films other states had had since the boom after WW II.

Happy 70th Birthday Sandy Berman! A video review

Steve Fesenmaier writes "
This is possibly the clearest, most concentrated presentation ever given by Sanford Berman. "Humanist Views," a TV interview program produced by the Humanists of Minnesota, gives Sandy just 25 minutes. He uses every minute well, discussing the many, many problems patrons will find when they visit their local public library. Using a few examples, he discusses the very real censorship behind the friendly reference librarian or circ clerk you will find in the thousands of public libraries that claim to be "user friendly."


To the rescue of old film

An Anonymous Patron writes " Story about Library of Congress' Moving Image Section. Patrick Loughney head of the Moving Image Section's Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division, says it's an archivist's job to determine which old films require immediate care and which ones can wait a few years before getting a face-lift. He calls it a "a triage center for aging films"
Mr. Loughney estimates that "over half of films made in America are lost or survive in badly degraded form." Luckily, 3/4 of films made in America suck anyways. ;-)"



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