Indiana University Libraries’ Moving Image Archive (IULMIA) and The Media School at IU Bloomington are celebrating a $100,000 grant from the Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation (AWCCF) to support A Century of 16mm: Expanding the Possibilities and Extending the Reach of Cinema.
Throughout 2023, Indiana University organizers will present a series of public events to mark the 100th anniversary of the introduction of non-flammable 16mm safety motion picture film, first developed and marketed by Eastman Kodak in 1923.
The statewide project is led by Rachael Stoeltje, Associate Librarian and Director of the Moving Image Archives, and Greg Waller, Provost Professor of Cinema and Media Studies in the IU Media School. As archivist and scholar, respectively, Stoeltje and Waller have devoted much of their professional careers to the preservation and study of 16mm as one of the twentieth century’s most significant media forms. Stoeltje is currently president of the Association of Moving Image Archivists and served on the Executive Committee of the prestigious International Federation of Film Archives. Waller is editor of the quarterly journal Film History from IU Press.
The introduction of 16mm revolutionized film as a medium for communication, entertainment and artistic expression. As Waller explained, the relatively inexpensive film, cameras and projectors suddenly made filmmaking a viable pursuit for people outside of Hollywood.
“16mm both broadened and transformed what we think of as film,” he said, noting that 16mm was utilized for everything from home movies and educational films to public service announcements and corporate training films. “The cameras aimed at the consumer market were easy to use, so almost anyone could become proficient. And the projectors were highly portable, so almost anywhere could become a screening space.”
A Century of 16mm will highlight this diversity of films and filmmakers. In addition to the AWCCF grant, the project is supported by several units around the Bloomington campus, including the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President and the Arts and Humanities Council.
“We are so grateful to the Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation and all of our campus partners for their support,” said Diane Dallis-Comentale, Ruth Lilly Dean of University Libraries. “Their generosity will allow us to bring a unique and diverse set of programs to a broad audience here on campus and across the state. A Century of 16mm will showcase IU Bloomington at its best.”
Public programming for A Century of 16mm will take place in Bloomington, Indianapolis, and elsewhere around the state of Indiana. The programming will draw upon resources at IU Bloomington such as archival collections and exhibition spaces, as well as the expertise of faculty and staff.
Stoeltje noted, “We have spaces like the IU Libraries Screening Room in Wells Library, which is excellent for smaller audiences, and of course IU Cinema, which is a magical place to screen any film. Then we have faculty experts in film studies in the Media School and other units around campus, as wells as archivists and staff experts in film restoration and preservation. We can approach the topic from an incredible number of angles to consider the cultural impact of 16mm, its historical importance and its influence on American cinema today.”