Saturday March 5
Andrus on Hudson
185 Old Broadway
Hastings-On-Hudson, NY 10706
Tickets available at the door.
$10 adults • $5 children
Selected Short Films of Alice Guy-Blaché
With improvised piano accompaniment by David Arner
Introduction and post screening discussion led by Dionne Bennett, Ph.D.
From 1896 to 1906 Alice Guy was probably the only woman film director in the world. An early 20th century filmmaking pioneer and one of the first to make a narrative fiction film, Alice Guy-Blaché made more than 1,000 films and ran her own film studio in New Jersey, experimenting with sound syncing, color tinting, interracial casting and special effects. She is credited with the invention of narrative film techniques that were used throughout the silent film era. She directed and produced or supervised almost six hundred silent films ranging in length from one minute to thirty minutes, the majority of which were of the single-reel length. In addition, she also directed and produced or supervised one hundred and fifty synchronized sound films for the Gaumont Chronophone. Her Gaumont silent films are notable for their energy and risk-taking; her preference for real locations gives the extant examples of these Gaumont films a contemporary feel. As Alan Williams has described her influence, Alice Guy “created and nurtured the mood of excitement and sheer aesthetic pleasure that one senses in so many pre-war Gaumont films, including the ones made after her departure from the Paris studio”. Most notable of her Gaumont period films is Vie du Christ (1906), a thirty-minute extravaganza that featured twenty-five sets as well as numerous exterior locations and over three hundred extras.
David Arner is a pioneer in the revitalization of live music for silent films. He has been presenting live, cutting-edge improvisational film scores for piano since 1986, including such films as The Wind, The Last Laugh, Peter Pan and The General. He has performed for films extensively throughout the country including The National Gallery in Washington, DC, the Alice Guy Blache exhibition at the Whitney Museum, “The Sound of Silents” at the American Museum of the Moving Image, and the Knitting Factory’s Silent Film/Loud Music Series among others. He has toured throughout New York through Catskill Nickelodeon, and has been a mainstay at Upstate Films in Rhinebeck, the New York State Writers Institute in Albany, and at colleges throughout the country. Mr. Arner has been awarded a Jazz Fellowship Award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Arner “holds and transports listeners through the incredible maze of his seemingly unflagging imagination.” [Paul Elisha, Northeast Public Radio]
ABOUT DIONNE BENNETT, Ph.D.
Dionne Bennett holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. in Anthropology and Literature from Yale University, and holds MFA in film and television production from the University of Southern California. She was previously the Director of the African American Studies Program at the University of Detroit Mercy and an Assistant Professor of African American Studies and a Visiting Professor of Women’s Studies at Loyola Marymount University. She has been a fellow of Harvard University’s W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, the Ford Foundation, and the UCLA President’s Office. As a television writer, researcher, and segment producer, she has worked for the NAACP Image Awards, the Essence Awards, the Democratic National Convention, and the Fox Movie Channel. Her research interests include African American and African Diaspora Studies, urban anthropology, psychocultural anthropology, and film, television, and cultural studies.
She is currently a Director of Gender and Urban Arts at Harvard University’s Hiphop Archive and Research Center and teaches at the New York City College of Technology.
She is the author, with photographer Matthew Jordan Smith, of Sepia Dreams: A Celebration of Black Achievement through Words and Images, co-editor of Revolutions of the Mind: Cultural Studies in the African Diaspora Project 1996-2002 (CAAS Publications, University of California Los Angeles, 2003), and a contributor to Black Los Angeles: American Dreams and Racial Realities (NYU Press, 2010).