‘A’? Runaw_y letter searches for identity

One of the great thrills (and benefits) of processing and describing documentation collections, is the discovery and ‘making visible’ of fascinating contextual material. Over the last 10 months, while working on the records of Pacific Films Productions Ltd., we have been fortunate to gain intimate insights into the development of this key New Zealand film production company – which was based in Wellington from 1948 to 1992. Among the records surrounding the more than 400 titles that Pacific Films produced over the years, we can only imagine the legacy that remains to be discovered, and we thought we would share just one of the many interesting items found recently.

Photographs by Mishelle Muagututi'a: Letters against the wall of the Research Room, level 2.
Photographs by Mishelle Muagututi’a: Letters against the wall of the Research Room, level 2.

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Glimpses of The Film Archive Cafe

A nice collection of photos from our Visitor Services team are the subject of our blog this week. Amanda White, David Klein, Kate Lepper and Abbekah Arulandu took some snaps over the course of a typical day and night to give you a sneak peek of what they get up to. These lovely folk are the friendly faces you’ll see upon walking through our front doors. They are dedicated to making your experience at The Film Archive and our medialibrary an enjoyable one. We even captured a sneaky shot of our Projectionist Oscar Halberg at work! Be sure to say hello next time you’re in and grab a $3 coffee – the cheapest in town!

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Packed With Action and Incident

Like many workplaces around the world, the Archive has a wee informal sweepstake on the go, where we compete to pick the results of the FIFA World Cup 2014 match by match. Complete with scoreboard positioned at the staffroom entry, even those with little interest in sport like to see where they sit alongside those hardened fans.

Diane McAllen (Film Archive Project Developer, currently positioned 5th on the scoreboard) reflects on the changing world of sport coverage. 

Since the very beginnings of cinema, sport events have been recorded on film.

The earliest types of sport to be filmed were boxing matches—“fight films” as they were commonly called—along with horse racing. One of Thomas Edison’s first filmic experiments recorded men boxing and in July 1894, the match between Michael Leonard and Jack Cushing was filmed at Edison’s “Black Maria” New Jersey studio. Continue reading

Ria Apostolidis, Costumier

Ria Apostolidis is a Costumier based in Wellington. She’s constantly inspired, surrounded and involved in the creative arts. Being naturally drawn to historical, vintage, and retro fashion, she enjoys the whole process of making costumes, from the undergarments to the outerwear. This, in parallel with the love of learning and teaching herself new skills, has led her to learn embroidery, hand finishing techniques, corsetry, millinery, and lace making in addition to many others. Ria also has a fascination with modern technology, interactive, theatrical costume and unconventional construction. She is excited by projects that offer challenges, and the creation of costumes which offer something to the performer to enhance their work. Check out Ria’s website here.

On the 13th June 2014, Ria held a performance at the Film Archive in the TV room, attempting to recreate the Serpentine Dance (1895) featuring Annabelle Moore. It was known as a “Skirt Dance”, and was a popular vaudeville attraction. This small piece of American film was Wellington’s first public screening of motion pictures, held at the Exchange Hall, 28 October 1896. Ria played this century old clip on a loop while she performed in front of it with cartoon animations projected on to her costume. Here is the video:

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