Monthly Archives: February 2012

SLIS Students Design Photograph Database for the BFC/A

Four students from the School of Library and Information Science recently created a database currently in use at the BFC/A.  Dr Ying Ding’s class, Database Design, was chartered with teaching students how to use various database models, understand database theory, and finally, to create their own.  Stacey Doyle, Asik Pradhan, Rebecca Reed, and Jane Shin built a database for us to be able to search and access our database collection easier.  From their project description:

The [Black Film Center/Archive] seek a database that allows them to successfully search and cross-reference their photograph collection…The database will not only support the instructional and research needs of the patrons, but it will also encourage personal interests in the history, meaning, and aesthetics of black film via the photograph collection.  The purpose of the database is to create something that will streamline the clients’ photograph acquisition and retrieval process and make it easier for [the BFC/A] to cross reference.

The photograph database in now online and searchable (the photos themselves are not online for copyright reasons, but can be viewed/scanned/copied at the BFC/A).

“Before, we just had a big list and it was only categorized by the title of the photo, which could be many things,” said Stacey Doyle, who worked on the project and now works at the BFC/A.  “Say you were looking for photos of Denzel Washington – the photos titled ‘Denzel Washington’ would likely be promotional headshots.  A photo of him on set might be titled ‘Glory,’ and it would be tougher to know.  So with this, you get a better sense of what we have.”

The collaboration between the BFC/A and the School of Library and Information Sciences is representative of the larger effort of the BFC/A to be a place of learning for a wide section of interests at Indiana University, and to collaborate on various projects with students and groups on campus.

Promotional photos from Baadasssss (2003) with Melvin & Mario Van Peebles. Photos by Michael O'Connor. Copyright 2003 Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Promotional photo of Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis (undated) from the photograph database.

Call for Submissions – Indiana Black Expo Film Festival

Submit your film to the Indiana Black Expo‘s 2012 Film Festival.  The annual festival will take place this July 14-15 in Indianapolis.  They are accepting completed feature-length and short-format fiction and documentary films.  There is also a cash prize for the audience award-winning film.

The submission deadline is April 2, 2012.  Click HERE for the submission form as well as relevant details.

You may contact Darla Pemberton (dpemberton(AT) with any  questions.

Archivist Mary Huelsbeck to be Assistant Director at the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research

Mary Huelsbeck, Archivist and Head of Public & Technology Services at the BFC/A, will be leaving for a position at the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research, where she will serve as Assistant Director.

Mary Huelsbeck

Mary has been with the BFC/A for 5 years, a tenure marked by the move of the BFC/A and our collections. Mary oversaw the move of our film collections from a rented space to the IU’s Auxiliary Library Facility, and the movement of the Center/Archive to our current location in the Wells Library.  Additionally, Mary has played an integral role as Associate Editor of Black Camera, the journal published by the BFC/A and the IU Press since 2009 and dedicated to the study and documentation of the black cinematic experience.

As Assistant Director at the WCFTR, Mary will work with over 300 manuscript collections, 15,000 motion pictures and television shows, 2,000,000 still photographs, and several thousand sound recordings.  Mary, who grew up in the Fox Cities of Wisconsin, says she is both excited to be closer to her family and to have the opportunity to work with the extensive and wide ranging collections at the WCFTR.

For our part, we wish Mary the best as she moves to Wisconsin, and thank her immensely for the dedicated and wonderful work she has done for us over the past five years.

BFC/A Looks to Hire Archivist

The Black Film Center/Archive is looking to hire an archivist.  Please visit the human resources page or contact human resources with inquiries.  Pass along to all who might be interested.



5572 – Archivist, Communication and Culture

Job Summary: Identifies, collects, processes, manages, and preserves all archival documents and audio-visual collections of the Black Film Center/Archive. Trains and supervises graduate research assistants, part-time staff, and volunteers charged with maintaining the Black Film Center/Archive website, database, blog, and e-newsletter; assists the archivist with processing collections; and engages in outreach activities and programs to faculty, students, staff, and the general public. Collaborates with the director on grant proposals and extra-mural funding; curates exhibitions and displays; and conducts workshops and presentations regarding the collection/preservation activities of the Archive. Coordinates and schedules all faculty assigned to teach courses at the BFC/A and supports classes with audio-visual materials derived from our collections.


Qualifications: Review your qualifications prior to applying to ensure that you meet the minimum qualifications for the position. Resume and cover letter required.

REQUIRED: Masters degree in library science/archive administration and two years of professional experience in a relevant field.

Mastery of the collection, preservation, and management of archival materials, particularly audio visual materials; knowledge of audio visual materials and equipment; and experience using Microsoft Word, Access, Excel, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and EAD.

Applications accepted until March 1, 2012, or until position is filled.

‘On the Margins of Brazilian Cinema’ at IU Cinema

On the 23rd and 24th of February, IU Cinema will celebrate non-traditional Brazilian with the series Cinema Maldito: On the Margins of Brazilian Cinema.  This Night I Will Possess Your Corpse (José Mojica Marins, 1967), The Red Light Bandit (Rogério Sganzerla, 1968), and  Romance (Sergio Bianchi, 1987) will be shown.  From the IU Cinema on the series’ raison d’etre:

While Brazilian and other Latin American cinemas are often discussed as being “peripheral”–accounting for woefully small percentages of their domestic markets, all dominated by the Hollywood giant–those very cinemas have developed their own margins, films which for various reasons fall outside the mainstream of domestic films.  Brazil has a rich tradition of fervent creativity on the margins: there were always filmmakers ready, willing and able to challenge what passed for the establishment.

Romance (1987, Sergio Bianchi)

Complimenting the three feature films will be a lecture by Richard Peña about his 25 year long tenure programming the New York Film Festival.  Peña is Director of the Lincoln Film Center in NYC and is Professor of Film at Columbia University.

This series is sponsored by Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, the IU Cinema, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, the Black Film Center Archive, the Department of Communication and Culture and the Latino Studies program.

Pan African Film Festival: February 9th to 22nd

The Pan African Film Festival opens today – February 9th – and will run through the 22nd of February.  The aim of the festival, which claims the distinction of being the largest Black History Month event in the country, “is to present and showcase the broad spectrum of Black creative works, particularly those that reinforce positive images, help to destroy negative stereotypes and depict an expanded vision of the Black experience.”

The Centerpiece of the festival will be the world premiere of Russ Parr’s The Undershepherd.  An impressive cast features in the film, including Isaiah Washington, Robinne Lee, Bill Cobbs, Malinda Williams, Clifton Powell, Elise Neal, Lamman Rucker and Vanessa Bell Calloway, who will come to the festival and host a Q&A after the world premiere.  Closing Night will show the world premiere of Woman Thou Art Loosed: On the 7th Day, a thriller by Neema Barnette, with Blair Underwood, Sharon Leal, Nicole Beharie, Pam Grier, Bishop T. D. Jakes, who will all also be present for a Q&A following the screening.

Loretta Devine will recieve a Lifetime Achievement Award                   Credit: Matthew Jordan Smith


Additionally, several important people will be given special honors by the Pan African Festival.  Actress Loretta Devine will be honored with a Lifetime Acheivement Award on a special Night of Honor, where seven other honorees will be inducted for various significant contributions to film across the African diaspora.

The 20th festival will screen 158 films from 36 countries including the Americas (in particular, a number of Caribbean films), Africa, and Europe.  In addition to the film screenings, the festival includes spaces and venues to celebrate and promote visual art, spoken word, and comedy.  Many panels and workshops will punctuate the event, organized under producing, acting, writing, and marketing in cinema.

Danny Glover, Ja’Net DeBois, and Ayuko Baby founded the Pan African Film Festival in 1992 and dedicated the festival “to the promotion of ethnic and racial respect and tolerance through the exhibit of films, art and creative expression”.

Independent Lens to Feature ‘More Than A Month’

Independent Lens, a weekly show on PBS and ITVS highlighting the work of independent filmmakers, will feature More Than A Month, a documentary by Shukree Tilghman as part of its celebration of Black History Month.  Tilghman addresses Black History Month itself in the film, advocating the abolishment  of Black History Month so as not to designate black history as a separate (and minor) footnote to history itself.  For this, the film has been called ‘controversial’ and ‘provocative,’ – dynamics which Tilghman also explores in the film.

The argument has been advanced before; Tilghman says that Morgan’s Freeman’s criticism of Black History Month was pivotal “because someone else said what I was thinking in public.”

And yet, Tilghman’s campaign to end Black History Month, “meant to be provocative more than practical” according to Tom Jacobs of Miller-McCune, is more of a way of interrogating the various dynamics of marking (cordoning off?) black history in the particular way that we do.  In an interview with Marco Williams (who produced More Than A Month),  Tilghman explains:

[The film]begins with a question of ‘Should we have Black History Month?’ and it really through the middle becomes ‘What does it mean that we have a Black History Month?’ and then as we go further along – ‘What would it mean if we didn’t have it? What would that say about us as Americans and how we view each other in 2011?’

Filmmaker Shukree Tilghman wearing protest sign in Harlem. Credit: Antonio Caton

These questions take Tilghman to many (and surprising) places: from his parents’ house to Harvard, from a Sons of Confederate Soldiers gathering (they’re working to establish Confederate History Month in Virginia) to the Philadelphia Public Schools, who have made a yearlong African American History course a requirement for high school graduation.

Tom Jacobs comments  that “Tilghman’s a great guide on this journey: he’s genuinely troubled by the questions he raises, but he’s also unpretentious, quizzical, and, at times, bemused.”

From the press release from ITVS:  “At its core, More Than a Month is about what it means to be an American, to fight for one’s rightful place in the American landscape, however unconventional the means, even at the risk of ridicule or misunderstanding. In that way, it is about the universal endeavor to discover one’s self.”

Before the premiere of the film on February 16th at 10PM on PBS and ITVS, there are several screenings around the country, including the Missouri History Museum,  the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, and the Schomburg Museum in New York, among others.

See clips of the film here and here.