by Lorien Nettleton ~ February 1st, 2013
Hangar Door Cinema is bringing the past alive at the Alaska Historic Film Festival this Saturday, February 2nd. A collection of films spanning Alaska’s colorful history are on loan from the Alaska State Library Historical Collections, and are making their first appearance outside Juneau.Damon Stuebner is a digital archivist for the Alaska State Library, and he originally put the collection together for an Arts and Humanities program that took place last year in Juneau. Stubner says the collection has a little of everything:
The historical collection contains films donated by individuals and organizations from around the state during all periods of modern alaska history. Some are home movies, like one shot in 1931 about the completion of the Donaldson Bridge in Juneau, shot in 16 millimeter color, a rare practice at the time for anywhere in America, much less in Alaska.
Another film is a 1959 newsreel about the 49th state at the time of its entry into the Union. Stuebner says pieces of film like this tell volumes about the past.
Stuebner says his job of digitizing historic films regularly presents him with some interesting discoveries. He gives one example, where a unique film came to the Library in an archaic video format that required a lot of effort to be able to view it.
After all the work to bring the old tape back to life, the video proved to be a rare speech by Senator Ted Kennedy given in Sitka in 1968, shortly after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Selections from The State Library’s Historic Film Archives can be seen on Saturday Night at the Sheldon Community Arts hangar, doors open at 7 pm.