At the next meeting of the Columbia University Cultural Memory Colloquium, on Monday, Sept. 26 at 6pm in 754 Schermerhorn Extension, Professor Jenny Davidson will present on the work of filmmaker Helen Hill. Helen Hill, experimental animator and handmade film advocate, was shot and killed in her home in New Orleans in January 2007. Her last film, completed posthumously by her husband Paul Gailiunas, is 'The Florestine Collection.' One Mardi Gras Day in New Orleans some years earlier, Hill found more than a hundred handmade dresses in trash bags on the curb; she set out to restore them and recover the story of the woman who had made them, a recently deceased African-American seamstress named Florestine Kinchen. Both the dresses and the footage were seriously damaged by Katrina; the completed film includes Helen's original silhouette, cut-out, and puppet animation, as well as flood-damaged and restored home movies. Three of Hill's films will be screened - 'Madame Winger Makes a Film' (9:29), 'Mouseholes' (7:40) and 'The Florestine Collection' (31:00) - followed by a discussion by Professor Davidson that will touch on questions about memorialization and the materiality of film, the persistence and contingency of archives and the imperatives of preservation in the wake of catastrophe.On a totally different note, I'm speaking about my ABCs of the novel project at Columbia's Cafe Humanities on Monday, Oct. 17 at 6pm.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011