SMU’s internationally famous collection of black independent films from the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s will be showcased from 7-10 p.m. Oct. 26-27 as part of the Fondren Library AV Bi-Annual Film Festival.
The G. William Jones Film and Video Collection in SMU’s Hamon Arts Library is home to the Tyler, Texas Black Film Collection, from which the festival screenings were chosen. These “race movies,” shown mostly in the segregated movie houses of the mid-20th century American South, were discovered in an East Texas warehouse on miraculously well-preserved nitrate stock in 1983. Transferred to safety film in 1985, several were digitally restored and released in a 3-DVD boxed set in 2004.
“These films stand as a testimony to the history of black independent film in the United States, to the skill and artistry that have existed in the genre for much longer than many people may know,” says Tinsley Silcox, director of public services for SMU’s Central University Libraries (CUL). “They’re also an undistorted glimpse of African-American life in the early 20th century, devoid of the usual Hollywood stereotypes. They’re very representative of African-American self-consciousness of the time.”
Silcox and Rick Worland, professor of cinema-TV in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, will host the festival and provide commentary on the films. All screenings will be held in McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall. Admission is free and open to the public.
The complete schedule:
Monday, Oct. 26
Tuesday, Oct. 27
For more information, contact Lisa Wall at 214-768-4397.