For the Record: Oct. 16, 2009

The G. William Jones Film and Video Collection, Hamon Arts Library, has been awarded a $28,000 grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation (NFPF) for the preservation of Carib Gold (1956), an African-American crime drama set in Key West and featuring Ethel Waters, Cicely Tyson and Geoffrey Holder. The film is notable for its documentation of the Key West waterfront and shrimping fleet as they existed in the mid-20th century. The NFPF funds will allow the Jones Collection to use its print to create a new negative, prints, and videos. The new materials will be available for teaching, research and public viewing.

Elizabeth Johnston, a senior cinema-TV major in Meadows School of the Arts, has won the 2009 undergraduate scholarship presented by Women in Film.Dallas and will receive $2,500 toward her SMU tuition. Every fall, the organization awards two scholarships, one for undergraduates and one for graduate students, to Texas women studying media production. The awards were announced Oct. 8 during the Chick Flicks Film Series and Festival held at the Dallas Studio Movie Grill.

SMU receives grant to preserve national film treasure

Promotional poster for 'The Blood of Jesus'The G. William Jones Film and Video Collection at SMU’s Hamon Arts Library has received a National Film Preservation Foundation grant for $27,270 to preserve Spencer Williams’ classic 1941 film, The Blood of Jesus, the hugely successful African American salvation drama.

These funds will allow the library to use its print – the only known 35mm print in existence – to create a new negative, prints, and videos. These new materials will be available for teaching and research, and the library will be making them available to the public through a number of screenings.

The debut screening of the new print is planned for February 2009 in conjunction with a conference on African American author and filmmaker Oscar Micheaux at Columbia University.

The Blood of Jesus, shot in Texas on a shoestring budget, is probably the most popular movie made for African American audiences before World War II,” said Jacqueline Stewart, professor of film at Northwestern University and National Film Preservation Board member. “It is the first feature by writer-director Spencer Williams, later a star of TV’s Amos ‘n’ Andy, whose films have been vastly underappreciated despite his unique ability to capture Black religious and cultural practices while experimenting with film style.”

The Blood of Jesus was named by the Library of Congress to the National Film Registry in 1991.

Read more from SMU News