Links to Silent Screen Organizations and Resources

FESTIVALS:

The British Silent Film Festival(and Symposium) is held at King’s College London. The festival, which examines filmmaking in Britain from 1895-1930, serves to encourage scholarly discussion and research on the dawn of cinema in Britain. 

Il Cinema Ritrovato (Cinema Rediscovered): Held annually in Bologna, Italy, Il Cinema Ritrovato is a festival dedicated to the rediscovery and restoration of rare films with a particular focus on films from the silent era. 

Le Giornate del cinema muto (Pordenone Silent Film Festival): The first and largest international film festival dedicated to the preservation, dispersion, and study of silent film, held annually in Pordeonone, Italy. 

Mostly Lost: A silent film identification workshop run by the Library of Congress. During this unique workshop each year, the LoC provides film scholars with the opportunity to help search for clues to identify unidentified or misidentified “lost” silent films. The workshop features films from the Library of Congress collections, as well as films from the Royal Film Archive of Belgium, George Eastman Museum, Lobster Film Archive, and the Museum of Modern Art. In the past as many as 26% of screened films have been identified during the course of the workshop.

Mykkäelokuvafestivaalit (International Silent Film Festival, Forssa): The Forssa Silent Film Festival is held in Forssa, Finland each summer. Each year focuses on a different region and that country’s films, but silent film is the overarching theme for the festival as a whole. 

San Francisco Silent Film Festival: Held annually in San Francisco, California, the San Francisco Silent Film Festival is “is a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the public about silent film as an art form and as a culturally valuable historical record.” 

Toronto Silent Film Festival: A yearly festival held in Toronto devoted to raising awareness for the loss-rate of silent films and dedicated to screening restored silent films that were once thought to be lost. 

ORGANIZATIONS:

Association of Moving Image Archivists: AMIA is a non-profit archival association concerned with the acquisition and preservation of moving image materials. 

Domitor: Domitor is a film society focused on the study of early cinema from its birth to 1915. Domitor supports international dialogues in the pursuit of new methods of historical research and understanding. 

FIAF: The Fédération Internationale des Archives du Film is a network of international archives dedicated to the collection, preservation, restoration, and exhibition of film and related historical materials.

Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé: Recently opened, the Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé Foundation is “dedicated to the conservation and the provision of public historical heritage of Pathé. The Foundation offers permanent and temporary exhibitions, collections, and resources, film series, and workshops.” The Foundation has recently put the data from Susan Dalton’s records of Pathé’s pre-1914 film entries online. 

The Magic Lantern Society: The Magic Lantern Society is an online platform for collectors, enthusiasts, students of film, visual media, and performative culture and archival organizations from over 30 different countries. Activities include international conferences, quarterly meetings, exhibitions, publications, film preservations, etc. 

The Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum: Aimed at keeping the spirit of silent film alive, the museum is both a research center and a public history museum. 

Women and Film History International: WFHI is a network of scholars and practitioners focusing on women’s roles in film history. 

Women’s Film and Television History Network- UK/Ireland: WFTHN is a group focused on women’s contribution to the cultivation and development of film and television in the UK/Ireland. 

Women’s Silent British Cinema: WSBC invites discussion and shared research on women’s roles in early British cinema. 

Women’s Work in British Film and Television: This project assesses the contribution women have made to film and television production in Britain, during a period of considerable social change for women and substantial institutional change for the industries spanning from the years 1933-1989. 

PIONEERS ON THE WEB:

Alice Guy Blaché: Blog by Alison McMahan about her research and published works on Alice Guy Blaché. Includes filmographies, information on these books, news, and additional links and resources.

Alice Guy – Paris Locations: A blog post from the Cine-Tourist on Alice Guy’s Paris films, broken down and examined film by film and location by location. 

Alla Nazimova Society: “The primary goal of the Alla Nazimova Society is to serve as a nexus for the growing community of fans, admirers, scholars and historians who are interested in the life and career of Alla Nazimova.”

Clara Kimball Young: The Stanford University run page of the “Unsung Divas of the Silent Screen” project devoted to Clara Kimball Young.

Helen Gardner: A website run by Gardner’s granddaughter, Dorin Gardner Schumacher, featuring photographs, archival materials, a blog, and ongoing research on the critical impact of Helen Gardner on the film industry.

Importing Asta Nielsen Database: An online database that is “designed to become the tool for international research into the distribution and exhibition of Asta Nielsen films in many countries before the First World War.”  

Lillian Gish: The official website dedicated to pioneer Lillian Gish.

Mabel Normand: A website featuring the research of Stephen Normand (Mabel Normand’s great-nephew) devoted to exploring and detailing the tremendous impact of Mabel Normand on comic art in film.

Mary Pickford: The official website of the Mary Pickford Research Foundation featuring original films, photographs, writing, archives, and historical material demonstrating the impact Mary Pickford and her colleagues had on the film industry.

Norma Talmadge: A website aimed at documenting the work of silent film pioneer Norma Talmadge.  

The Talmadge Sisters: A website featuring an article from the October 30, 1920 issue of Picture Show entitled “Sisters Three: The Life Story of the Talmadge Sisters.”

RESOURCES:

The Amateur Movie Database: This resource from the Department of Communication and Media Studies at the University of Calgary is a “tool for exploring the history of amateur cinema in North America during the middle of the 20th century.” 

American Silent Feature Film Database: A collaboration between the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation and the International Federation of Film Archives, this database “represents the first comprehensive survey of the survival of American silent feature films. It contains information on nearly 11,000 U.S. feature films released between 1912-1929, and holdings information about 3,300 of those titles for which elements are known to exist.” 

The Bioscope: Reporting on the World of Early and Silent Cinema: An online archive with an emphasis on scholarly discovery about the silent film era. 

Bristol Silents: An organization focused on the local silent film history of Bristol. 

Cinema Usherettes:  A Cultural History of the Cinema Usherette looks at the female usher from the early years of cinema through the 1970s.

Cine Silente Mexicano: Historical database on silent films and makers from Mexico. 

Colonial Film: An extensive archive of films having to do with life in the British colonies. 

The Complete Index to World Film Since 1895: This online database “contains information on over 507,364 films produced in most countries of the world between 1888 and 2015.”

DocSouth: Going to the Show: Going to the Show utilizes historical maps of South Carolina to situate the movie-going experience of North Carolina between the years of 1896 and the early 1930s with the spread of urban life across the state with an especial focus on how race conditioned this experience. The website boasts a searchable archive of artifacts and media ephemera related to the spread and sprawl of silent cinema in North Carolina.  

Early African American Film: Reconstructing the History of Silent Race Films, 1909-1930: Produced by a group of undergraduate and graduate students in the Digital Humanities program at the University of California, the “main goal of this project was to collaboratively create a database on early African-American silent race films by drawing together information in a wide range of primary and secondary sources…[and] contains information on films, actors, production companies, and other aspects of early silent-era African American race films. The database is intended to allow the public to learn about this period in film history that is too rarely discussed.”

Early Cinema Filmography of Ontario (ECFO): “Early Cinema Filmography of Ontario (ECFO) is an ongoing research project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).The project’s chief researchers are Marta Braun of Ryerson University and Charlie Keil of University of Toronto. ECFO provides data on all films made in Ontario between 1896 and 1930. As such, it functions as a parallel to the catalogue of early Quebec films compiled by the GRAFICS research group, headed by Professor André Gaudreault of Université de Montréal. Braun and Keil began their research on early Ontario cinema in 1995, with a SSHRC-funded project on the reception of early cinema in Toronto. The current filmography is an outgrowth and development of that initial research project.”

Early Cinema History Online (ECHO): Early Cinema History Online (ECHO) is a growing database of over 35,000 individual film titles (and associated credits) for films released between 1908 and 1920 in the United States.

Early Cinema in Scotland, 1896-1927: This digital resource “is a three-year research project (2012-2015) funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council. It is based at the University of Glasgow in partnership with the University of Edinburgh.” Includes annotated filmographies, a map of venues, and annotated lists of relevant people, companies, and primary sources.

European Film Gateway: A portal to archival holdings of photos, periodicals, programs, newsreels, documentary footage, and other materials. 

f_films: Female Filmworkers in Europe: In conjunction with the Department of Women and the Department of Culture in Frankfurt/Main, the Deutsche Filminstitut runs the project “f_films: Female Filmworkers in Europe.” The website serves as a database and aims to illustrate a “corrective” edit of traditional film history and research. The database features biographies, filmographies, and images of many silent film pioneers.

Film Archives Online: The result of the 2006 MIDAS project, Film Archives Online provides free access to moving image collections of film archives from across Europe. Works can be searched for by content, filmographic data and physical characteristics.

Forget the Talkies: Online community for silent film enthusiasts. 

Film of the Year: A blog that extensively explores the history of cinema one year at a time from the 1890s to 1960s.

Filmographie des “vues” tournées au Québec au temps du muet (1897-1930): A database of film titles from silent era in Quebec produced by Groupe de Recherche sur l’Avènement et la Formation des Institutions Cinématographique et Scénique (GRAFICS) research team. Principle investigators are André Gaudreault and Germain Lacasse (University of Montreal). Includes an extensive bibliography.

The German Early Cinema Databases: A website run by the Visual Communities: Relationships of the Local, National, and Global in Early Cinema research project at the University of Cologne. This website serves as a nexus that combines the Fairground Cinema Database, the Documents Collection, and the Film Supply and Programme Database to provide extensive data related to the distribution, exhibition, and reception of film and cinema in Germany between the years of 1895-1926. 

Great Women Animators: Great Women Animators is an ongoing research initiative and working database that showcases the careers of women working in the field of animation artist and production from the 19th century to the present. 

Indian Cine.ma: An annotated online archive of Indian film.

Italian Silent Cinema: Online archive of Italian silent film. 

Irish Silent Films: A portion of the larger website and project, Irish Film and Television Research online, this website is devoted to bringing Irish silent films out of archives, restore them, and place them online for the public to have free and easy access to, at present the website features nine fully restored and uploaded films.

The Kinothek Asta Nielsen: This organization was founded in 1999 with the “aim…to locate the film work of women in the past and present to document and make them publicly available.” 

La Dimensió poc Coneguda: Pioneres del Cinema: La Dimensió poc Coneguda: Pioneres del Cinema is a Spanish research project and website stemming from the Spring 2014 exhibition of the same name at the Cinema Museum in Girona, Spain. The website includes virtual content, bibliographies, links, news, and aims to serve as a visual representation and exploration of some important theories in the history of feminism applied to the history of cinema.

The London Project: “The London Project is a major study of the film business in London, 1894-1914, organised by the AHRB Centre for British Film and Television Studies. The London Project has produced a searchable database documenting cinemas and film businesses in London before the First World War. ”

London’s Silent Cinemas: A website serving as  a resource on the history of motion picture exhibition in London from 1906-1930. The site serves as a rich depository of local histories, city council records, film trade journals, directories, cinema programs, and city mapping and planning. All of this information and material is accessible through the website’s interactive “London’s Silent Cinemas Map.”

Lost Films: An “internet portal aimed at collecting and documenting film titles, which are believe or have been to flared ‘lost.’” Created by the Deutsche Kinemathek, in collaboration with Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv, Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung, Centre national de la cinématographie (CNC), Filmarchiv Austria, and Národní filmovy archive. 

The Loudest Voice: An enthusiast’s blog primarily containing images and short blurbs about silent film. 

Mapping Desmet: This interactive map-tool is the result of the project ‘Data-driven Film History: A Demonstrator of EYE’s Jean Desmet Collection’ (2014-2015) which demonstrates the spread of programming and distribution of the film collection of Jean Desmet (1875-1956), a film distributor and cinema owner in the Netherlands. This visual map-tool links data from three databases: Collection EYE, CinemaContext, and a database of films which Jean Desmet rented out in the years 1910-1912, created by film archivist Rixt Jonkman. The ultimate aim of this tool is twofold: 1) to showcase the individual films’ distribution and screening and 2) to visualize gaps and overlaps in the three databases.

The Media Ecology Project: “A digital resource at Dartmouth that…provides online access to primary moving image research materials, and engages dynamic new forms of scholarly production and online publishing.”  

Media History Digital Library: A non-profit site dedicated to digitizing film documents and publications in the public domain. 

Motion Picture & Television Reading Room, Library of Congress: The American Memory Collection is a database of early American motion picture archives within the Library of Congress. 

Nitrate Film Interest Group: A Flickr account that’s part of the Association of Moving Image Archivists’ interest groups, the Nitrate Film Interest Group “is to help archives around the world identify unknown films in their collection….The Nitrate Film Interest Group is dedicated to promoting education about nitrate film as well as functioning as a resource for those interested in and working with nitrate film by becoming a major resource for archivists’ needs.” 

NitrateVille: An online forum and thriving community dedicated to the discussion, collection, and research of and on classic film. The website has sections dedicated to silent film, film preservation, and more.

Nordic Women in Film: By “expanding the female filmmaking universe”  the Nordic Women in Film online resource serves as an ongoing research initiative about more than 800 entries on Nordic female film directors, producers, screenwriters, editors, cinematographers, set designers, makeup artists, and inter-title screen artists. This interactive site of exploration includes film clips and archival posts pertaining to women involved in film process from the start of motion pictures to the present in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. 

The Origins of Cinema-1890-1915: In-progress film library with corresponding posts. Created and managed by film historian Klaus Kreimeier, this resource includes numerous films made by or featuring the women featured in WFPP. 

The Orphan Film Symposium: “Archivists, academics, & artists saving, studying, & screening neglected moving images.”  

Picturegoing: An ongoing survey reproducing eyewitness testimony of viewing pictures, from the seventeenth century to the present day with a focus on eyewitness testimony of watching films from the 1890s to present day.

Portale Cinema Muto Italiano: A digital resource from Cineteca Nazionale (with support from the Film Board-Ministry of Heritage and Culture and Tourism), this rich portal features still and moving images, bibliographies, filmographies, digitized primary sources and documents, and an in-progress list of Italian silent cinema magazines (preserved by the Library L. Chiarini of the Experimental Center of Cinematography and the Library M. Gromo of the Cinema Museum of Turin).  

Progetto di ricerca sulla censura cinematografica in Italia: Produced by Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali and the Cineteca di Bologna, this database and research project looks at film censorship in Italy, 1913-2000. 

Progetto Turconi Project – Davide Turconi Project: A database of film frames collected by film historian Davide Turconi from the early film period (1897-1915). 

Project Arclight: A collaborative effort between researchers at the University of Concordia and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Project Arclight serves as an interactive resource and tool for analyzing 20th century American film and media history through comparative trends across space and time. Making use of digitally scanned periodical sources, users can deploy Project Arclight as a self-professes “data mining and visualization tool” to at once search through the Media History Digital Library and to graph resulting analytics. 

Silent Era: The Progressive Silent Film List: The Progressive Silent Film List is a growing online collection of information on more than 22,500 silent and sound films produced from 1888 through the end of 1929. 

Silent Film Music: Blog and podcast of silent film accompanist Ben Model, which includes methods in approaching silent film score and an archive of live performances. 

Silent Film Sound & Music Archive: “Established in 2014, SFSMA is building a robust archive of music for silent cinema (c. 1895-1930) and related film technologies for research and performance. The archive includes sheet music for film, cue sheets, instruction manuals for film accompanists, and a bibliography of resources on silent film sound and music. All of the silent film music archived here is available to download for free.”  

Silent Film Still Archive: An online archive of stills associated with early cinema. Images include original studio photographs, advertising, lobby cards, sheet music, and other ephemera from the silent film era. All photos have been scanned from original photographs issued by respective studios at the films’ release.

Silent Locations: A blog dedicated to the historical locations in which the silent films were produced. 

Silent London: This website is written and edited by Pamela Hutchinson, a journalist and silent film enthusiast. Hutchinson has written about silent cinema for a variety of websites and publications, and is considered a top authority on silent cinema in the UK. Silent London serves as a silent film review blog and community for silent film devotees.

The Silent Treatment: The Silent Treatment is a bi-monthly silent cinema digest with topics that encompass many aspects from silent film stars to reception of particular films.  

Silent Volume: Blog profiling different silent films by writer Chris Edwards. 

Silents Are Golden: An online source for silent film with over 600 film reviews, 800 archival photos, and 150 in-depth film features. 

Timeline of Historical Film Colors: A database created and curated by Barbara Flueckiger, Professor of Film Studies at the Institute of Cinema Studies, University of Zurich, to serve as a web resource on the history, techniques, and significance of color on film.

Unsung Divas of the Silent Screen: Dedicated to actresses in the silent era, this site, created and maintained by Greta de Groat, contains numerous links and articles. 

DISTRIBUTORS FOCUSED ON EARLY CINEMA

Flicker Alley: “Flicker Alley creates and distributes new digital editions of cinema classics & rare works that may otherwise be lost to time. Working with archives, preservationists and film historians Flicker Alley brings you the rare classics so our collective film history and culture will be preserved and enjoyed.”

Grapevine Video: Distributor with “over six hundred DVDs available: from rare and obscure silent subjects to foreign film, and early talkies to classic television!”

Harpodeon: “Founded in 2008, Harpodeon is a film distributor specializing in rare and unusual silent films, early feature films, and niche silent genres. Our products are available streaming online, for download, on DVD, or they may be licensed for theatrical screening.”

Kino Lorber: “The classic arm of Kino Lorber offers many of the greatest films from the past, both silent and sound, for the discriminating viewer, from historical silents through the French new wave.” Kino Lorber’s silent cinema collection consists of numerous films across a variety of genres, including the recent anthology Pioneers of African-American Cinema and the forthcoming Pioneers: First Women Filmmakers.

Lobster Films: “The Lobster collection catalog, now on-line, covers 60 years of cinema – from 1895 to the 1960’s. It’s a real gold mine of early films containing rare and unique gems, but also offering some of the great heritage classics.”

Milestone Films: Founded in 1990 by Amy Heller and Dennis Doros, Milestone Films has “since gained an international reputation for releasing classic cinema masterpieces, groundbreaking documentaries, and American independent features.”