NEA awards $50k grant to Media Burn to digitize collections of Kartemquin Films

On May 6, 2015, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded a grant of $50,000 to FITV/Media Burn for a project which will digitize and create access to 239 videotapes from three rare, unfinished or previously unreleased collections from the Kartemquin Films archives that document artistic communities and the role of art in society.

None of these collections has ever been accessible to the public before, and we are very excited to be a part of this landmark project!

Media Burn is currently working to raise additional matching funds to complete the project, which is budgeted at $100,000.

The collections selected for digitization as part of the project include:

A Year on Teen Street (1996) (124 tapes)
Follows the Teen Street youth troupe, a project of Free Street Theater, over the course of a year as they create and perform their acclaimed Mad Joy at Steppenwolf Theatre.

Chicago Crossings (1994) (100 tapes)
Takes you in to the studios of 12 artists, six black and six Jewish, as they prepare their work for a show at the Spertus Museum addressing the relationships of African Americans and American Jews.

When Art Makes a Difference (1991) (15 tapes)
An unfinished project looking at censorship and the role of art in a democracy in Chicago and Prague in 1990 featuring two trips to Prague right after the Velvet Revolution.

We’re excited to continue working with Kartemquin on the preservation and public access of their underseen archival works.

This project is a continuation of a partnership we established in 2013 when Media Burn applied for, and received, two grants from the Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC) to transfer 21 half-inch reels from Kartemquin’s collection. In total, BAVC provided $5,620 in in-kind work and Media Burn provided $3,266 in cash and $4,000 in in-kind work for the restoration, transfer, and online accessibility of these reels. All 21 videos are online and can be viewed at Media Burn’s website. Many are camera originals shot for “Where’s I.W. Abel?”

 Where's I.W. Abel?
“Where’s I.W. Abel?” (1975). Made by Kartemquin and a rank-and-file steel workers caucus, the video documents the opposition of the rank-and-file to the no-strike agreement between Steelworkers President I.W. Abel and the ten major steel companies, made without a vote by the membership of the union. Featuring Staughton Lynd.

 

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