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You are here: Home / Conferences / Montréal 2017 / Programme

Film leaders, typographic ephemera, and the ends of film-as-film

When Fri 15 Sep 1810
Where UQAM, Cœur des sciences
What
Who Matt Soar
This presentation offers an overview of Lost Leaders, a multiyear project of research and creation exploring the esoteric “metadata” to be found on film leaders dating back to the beginnings of cinema. Lost Leaders begins with the premise that we can learn a great deal about the provenance of film-as-film artifacts through a closer examination of the first twenty feet of most film reels meant for circulation and projection. Before the “actual” film, before the title sequence, lies a hidden section of film loaded with arcane information—studio logos, “China girls”, handwritten notes, typographic flourishes—relating to identification and synchronization. Intended to be hidden from the cinema audience’s view, the countdown section is in fact highly recognizable, having appeared in multiple very public venues since the first official standard emerged in the US in 1930. These include: experimental and avant-garde films, movie sequences, documentaries, music videos, and LP and book covers. Apart from identifying four US standards (Academy 1930, Society 1951, Universal 1965, Projection 1999), Lost Leaders has also been a project of creative exploration, involving photomontage, stained glass, cameraless animation, and interactive narrative.

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