News / “Symposium on Preserving Pittsburgh’s Moving Image… Past, Present, and Future” to be held on Friday, October 21, 2011


The University of Pittsburgh School of Information Sciences (the iSchool), in collaboration with Pittsburgh Filmmakers, will host the Fourth Annual Three Rivers Film Symposium as a prelude to the annual Three Rivers Film Festival. Scheduled for Friday, October 21, the Symposium will review the past, comment on the present, and project to the future of filmmaking within Pittsburgh. The city was the site of the first nickelodeon, has become a preferred location for shooting contemporary films (Batman, anyone?), and has been described as “being at the crossroads of the avant-garde cinema movement,” according to Robert Haller in his 2007 book Crossroads. The Symposium will draw local collectors and stewards of collections, scholars and students, filmmakers, and film fans to discuss the impact of moving image production on community and memory in Pittsburgh. The event will take place from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm at Pittsburgh Filmmakers Melwood screening room at 477 Melwood Avenue (Oakland) in Pittsburgh. The Symposium is a free event, but reservations are required due to space limitations. More details about the Symposium and registration are available at

Sessions within the Symposium include a keynote lecture by Robert Haller, Director of Library Collections at Anthology Film Archives, an international center for the preservation, study and exhibition of film and video, with a particular focus on independent, experimental, and avant-garde cinema. Mr. Haller’s lecture will be followed by a discussion session on the role of moving image production, community, and memory in Pittsburgh which will be moderated by Will Zavala, Associate Professor at Pittsburgh Filmmakers. A series of research papers will be discussed in the afternoon session entitled “Moving Image Preservation in the Writing of History”, which will be moderated by Richard J. Cox, Professor at the iSchool. The papers under discussion include:

Against Preservation, or How Films Only Stand in the Way of Film History, by Mark Lynn Anderson, Associate Professor of Film Studies in the Department of English at the University of Pittsburgh

Doing Film History Without Watching Films: Two Case Studies by Kristy Fallica, doctoral candidate in English/Film Studies at the University of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh (1958): Experimental Energies in the Sponsored Film
by Sean P. Kilcoyne, a graduate of the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation in Rochester, NY

Mariam Meislik (Media Curator at Pitt’s Archives Service Center) will moderate a roundtable discussion on “The Work of Moving Image Preservation in Pittsburgh” from the perspectives of a preservationist, librarian, and curator. The group will explore the theoretical and practical modes for both institutionalized and independent care of moving image media in the region.

This Symposium is co-hosted by Pittsburgh Filmmakers and the School of Information Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. Other gracious sponsors include: the University of Pittsburgh Film Studies Program, the Three Rivers Film Festival, the Infinity Student Chapter and the Society of American Archivists’ Student Chapter at Pitt, and Giant Eagle Market District.

The day-long symposium will be followed by a free public screening of WELCOME TO SMOKE CITY! A Slight Sampling of Pittsburgh Film at 8:00 pm. The screening will be moderated by Greg Pierce, Assistant Film and Video Curator at the Warhol Museum. Films within the sample include:

WELCOME TO SMOKE CITY! A Slight Sampling of Pittsburgh Film

  1. GATEWAY TO THE FUTURE (1959) by Packaged Programs Inc.
  2. RIVER OF STEEL (c.1951) by Packaged Programs Inc.
  3. HOME INVENTORY (1959) by Joseph D. Kramer
  4. BRADDOCK MICKEY (1962) by unknown
    TELEVISED GRAND ROUNDS 1963 (1963) by The University of Pittsburgh
  6. STAN BRAKHAGE AT CHATHAM COLLEGE, 1973 (1973) by Dave Saz
  7. DAWN OF THE DEAD RUSHES, 11/6/77 (1977) by George Romero
  8. AUTUMN LEAVES (1960) by Fred McLeod

All films are 16mm, b/w or color, sound or silent.

For more information about the “Preserving Pittsburgh’s Moving Image” Symposium, please visit Pittsburgh Filmmakers and the iSchool at Pitt are pleased to be supporting the Symposium, which fits naturally within their missions. Pittsburgh Filmmakers is committed to the artist and the advancement of artistic excellence in visual arts – specifically film, digital video, photography, media, and fine and creative arts and crafts; the provision of equipment and facilities for artists; the conduct of instructional programs; and the stimulation of public understanding and awareness through exhibitions, demonstrations, and sales. More information about the work of Pittsburgh Filmmakers can be found at The iSchool is home to a graduate degree program (offering both Master’s and PhD degrees) in Library and Information Science, with a specialization in Archives, Preservation and Records Management. Visit for more information about the iSchool and its mission to explore the intersection of people, information and technology.