Media Burn Archive collects, restores and distributes documentary video created by artists, activists and community groups. Media Burn is a project of the Fund for Innovative TV, which has been producing challenging documentary video and television since 1990.
    Our mission is to preserve audiovisual records of history and culture and to engage audiences with their creative reuse.
    The national significance of the collection of more than 7,000 videos has been recognized with grants from the National Archives, the “Save America’s Treasures” program of the NEH, the NEA, Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, and MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. Your support is a critical part of our success. Please donate today.
    The boxes of tapes in your basement or closet may be deteriorating much faster than you think. You will have no better chance of transferring them successfully and for a reasonable cost than today. Media Burn is a boutique footage transfer service that provides highly personalized attention to your project.

New Videos

  • Enjoy our new iPhone video tour of the forgotten corners of Comiskey and Wrigley Field

    Enjoy our new iPhone video tour of the forgotten corners of Comiskey and Wrigley Field

    Chicago baseball fans are traditionally loyal to either the Cubs or White Sox. It’s a classic North Side vs. South Side rivalry that has lasted more than a century. This year’s Crosstown series is just over a week away with the first game to be played at U.S. Cellular on Monday, July 25th. For the occasion we have created a Crosstown Classics tour with Vamonde. To view the tour: 1. On your iPhone, install Vamonde through the App Store (it’s free). … Continue reading

  • Ten Years of mediaburn.org

    Ten Years of mediaburn.org

    July 2016: Celebrating ten years of Media Burn online It’s been ten years since we launched mediaburn.org. Since then, our videos have been viewed in almost every country in the world, by more than 13 million people. This photo was taken on July 6, 2006, at the newly unveiled Cloud Gate (“the Bean”) sculpture at Millennium Park as our core group prepared for the official launch of mediaburn.org, which was nearly three years in the making. Top row: Jesse Weinberg, Judy Wallenstein, Russell Porter, … Continue reading

  • Rostenkowski on Politics 101

    Rostenkowski on Politics 101

    “The game is compromise. That’s politics.” -Dan Rostenkowski This month The Atlantic published an article titled “How American Politics Went Insane,” diagnosing the cause of the pervasive political disintegration in Washington, D.C. as “chaos syndrome.” Joining the choir of complaints about the chaos undermining American politics, the author, Jonathan Rauch, offers a new tune: “Our most pressing political problem today is that the country abandoned the establishment, not the other way around.” Rauch contends that in the course of reforming … Continue reading

  • What’s Uptown?

    What’s Uptown?

    A look at Uptown in 1981 from the point of view of the everyday people who live and work in the neighborhood. In addition to on-the-street interviews with working class people about their opinions on their neighborhood, the documentary also spends a significant amount of time talking to gang members. The footage in mostly in color, although a few sections are in black & white. Continue reading

  • Love Wins

    Love Wins

    “That is what I think family values are all about. Love.” -Studs Terkel This Sunday, June 26th, marks the one year anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling, Obergefell vs. Hodges, which guaranteed the fundamental right to marry to same-sex couples throughout the United States. This decision is the culmination of decades of activism, and is an important moment for human rights, especially for the couples and families directly affected all across the country. Throughout June, gatherings, marches and protests occur across the … Continue reading

  • [Unknown performance]

    [Unknown performance]

    Fragments from what appears to be some sort of staged performance. The footage is sparse and cuts in and out, sometimes with loud feedback noises. Continue reading

  • A Gary Tape

    A Gary Tape

    An organizing workshop led by activist Staughton Lynd at Indiana University Northwest on 9-16-71 to discuss organizing around tax policy and investigating grocery pricing in Illinois and Indiana. A month earlier, President Richard Nixon had issued an executive order freezing wages for 90 days. In response, supermarkets were pressured to suspend price increases, although this group felt they were not adhering to this promise. Continue reading

  • The Mother #1

    The Mother #1

    Footage from a performance of an English-language version of the Bertolt Brecht play “The Mother.” This performance appears to be at a smaller theatre, with very minimal set and prop design—many of the setting details are conveyed by the chorus saying the scene’s expository text out loud in unison. This tape contains the first four of the play’s fourteen scenes. Continue reading