The Florida Moving Image Archive

Discussion in 'Collectors' started by DaveBrett, Sep 12, 2007.

  1. DaveBrett

    DaveBrett Member

    Nov 28, 1998
    Austin, Texas
    Have any of you ever heard of the Florida Moving Image Archive?
    Their web site is:

    I am trying to find out if they have any classic soccer on tape.
    I have emailed and called them numerous times. They do not respond...
    News Tapes Expand Eclectic Archive:
    The Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archive is Expanding Its
    Collection With Tapes of TV Newscasts From the 1970s and '80s
    Monday July 30
    The Miami Herald
    By Erika Beras

    When Rick Remmert was organizing a 25-year reunion for the University of
    Miami's 1982 national championship baseball team, he ordered a slew of
    memorabilia, including orange, green and white M&Ms. But what the reunited
    ballplayers treasured most was a reel of their winning season, partially
    compiled by the Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archive. "Seeing yourself
    as a young man winning the national championship, now that's pretty darn
    special," said Remmert, who was the school's assistant athletic director in
    1982. "There's not many places you can go to get your history back."

    Over the years, curator and preservationist Barron Sherer has accommodated many
    requests like Remmert's -- people seeking film from a time when video cameras
    were scarce. He also gets requests from people like Ken Burns. It's where the
    acclaimed filmmaker went for footage of the historic Hampton House Motel when
    he was making his 10-part documentary Jazz.

    And when fashion and interior designers are searching for Art Deco Miami Beach
    inspiration, it's one of the first places they contact. Now the archive has
    added to its extensive Florida history with a massive donation from WPLG-ABC
    10. Five thousand three-quarter-inch u-matic tapes of newscasts from the '70s
    and '80s will join the eight million feet of film and countless hours on beta,
    videotape and DVDs stored in the archive.

    For now, the footage will remain in that format, but the archive hopes to
    digitize it and all the footage it has in storage. "There are a lot of dates
    that are not accounted for, in terms of the news. And even if we have it, this
    is another perspective," Sherer said. The local TV station is gearing up for a
    move from its headquarters on Biscayne Boulevard to an office on Hallandale
    Beach Boulevard in Pembroke Park. "Our new building will be bigger, so we have
    the space, but this is just a matter of what we need," said WPLG News Director
    Bill Pahovey. "We'll still have access to it, but now the public will also."

    Among the footage in the donation: the station's 1980 coverage of the McDuffie
    riots and the Mariel boatlift.

    The Wolfson archive opened in 1986 and is partially funded by local, state and
    federal grants. It's located in a 1,500-square-foot room of the main branch of
    the Miami-Dade Public Library downtown. Dedicated to film produced in or about
    Florida, the archive houses everything from county-commissioned videos to
    promotional videos made for local tourist attractions, like Parrot Jungle, now
    called Jungle Island. The footage dates as far back as 1910. Film that runs the
    risk of deteriorating or holds significant historical importance has been
    restored to original quality. Some of it is wacky only-in-Miami images like
    one-time sideshow, vaudeville and movie stars Violet and Daisy Hilton --
    Siamese twins -- operating their snack stand on West Flagler in 1960. Stacked
    in reels, the titles alone tell the story of the area -- 1926 Miami after
    Hurricane; 1955 Overtown Easter Parade; 1961 Dade County Jail. The Wolfson also
    collects home videos donated by Floridians, a rarity among archives. Only about
    10 moving image archives in the country collect amateur films, said Rosemary
    Hanes, moving image reference librarian at the Library of Congress.

    "This is video that was shot without financial interest. They tell us a lot
    about America's history, politically, personally, artistically," Hanes said.
    "It's a record of our culture, our history, our society."

    The archive welcomes all donations and dubs the film into VHS or DVD for the
    donors. "When I got here in 1991, we had about an hour of home movies," Sherer
    said. "Now we have thousands." Among the 300 families represented in the film
    are two black Miami families -- one identified as the Hayeses; the other
    unidentified. The film is of the families spending time at the designated black
    beach at Virginia Key Park.

    "When you think about it, you don't see a lot of that stuff on television from
    the days of segregation; what you see are white families," Sherer said. "We get
    requests from scholars from all over the world for the footage." In addition to
    the donated material, the archive has been recording and storing every South
    Florida newscast since 1989.

    The archive's main room is climate-controlled to protect the film --
    temperature at 68 degrees, humidity at a minimum. Other storage locations exist
    throughout the city. For a fee, Sherer will comb through footage and compile
    reels for clients. Depending on what the footage will be used for, prices range
    from $100 to $2,000.
    "For John Q. Public, it'll probably be $100 to $150," Sherer said. "But if it's
    for distribution, all of the licensing fees can make it go as high as $3,000."
    More than half the footage in Billy Corben's 2006 documentary Cocaine Cowboys
    came from the archive.
    Independent producer Molly Bernstein's documentary on Cuban-American dancer
    Pedro Ruiz aired on PBS's In the Life in June. She used footage from the
    archive of his hometown.

    "I rarely get to use home footage in my films," she said. "But it's more
    atmospheric. It evokes emotion." Requests also come in from Hollywood -- for
    research .

    When Oliver Stone was making Born on the Fourth of July, JFK and The Doors, he
    requested material. When Michael Mann made Ali, he contacted the archive.
    "He wanted to know what the front of his house looked like, what the gym where
    he trained was like," said Sherer, who found footage of the boxing legend
    watering the lawn at his Allapattah house in old WTVJ newscasts. Novelists also
    come in search of inspiration.

    "With a moving image . . . there's a richness to it that you can't get from a
    still photograph," Sherer said. Every month, the archive gets about a dozen
    calls from people who were one of the 14,000 South Florida children who sat in
    the audience of The Skipper Chuck Show, the long-running children's television
    show. But although the show was broadcast for several decades, most of it was
    not recorded. The archive has only 10 episodes on file. It also gets many calls
    from Cuban Americans hoping to find footage of their parents arriving in Miami
    in the 1960s. The archive is open to the public by appointment, but only
    Sherer, another preservationist, Erin Clark, and two interns can handle the
    film. "These are one-of-a-kind," Sherer said. "They are artifacts. You couldn't
    ask to hold the first American flag, could you?"

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