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For as long as there’s been a movie industry, there have been filmmakers compelled to work outside of it. In celebration of National Silent Movie Day, Lost & Found at the Movies offers two stories that explore early expressions of “independence” – women filmmakers like Lois Weber and African-American filmmakers like Oscar Micheaux. Subsequently written out of prevailing narratives of film history, they are also stories that shed light on the richness and complexity of filmmaking during the silent era.

We also look at the enduring influence of silent film for contemporary filmmakers and we revisit the idea that “Silence is Golden.”

Lost & Found at the Movies is generously supported by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association

John Nein

John Nein

John Nein is a senior programmer at the Sundance Film Festival and deals primarily with US and international feature films. He also plans the festival’s panels and runs the Institute’s film preservation initiative. John grew up in Europe and the United States, studied history at Carleton College and earned his MFA from UCLA’s Film Directing program, where he made several award-winning shorts and lobbied tirelessly for better coffee in the vending machines.

Shelley Stamp

A leading expert on women and early movie culture, Shelley Stamp is the author of the Lois Weber in Early Hollywood and Movie-Struck Girls, and curator of the award-winning collection Pioneers: First Women Filmmakers.  She is Professor Film & Digital Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she has twice won the Excellence in Teaching Award.

Allyson Nadia Field

Allyson Nadia Field is Associate Professor Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago. Her research focuses on African American cinema and is unified by two broad theoretical inquiries: how film and visual media shape perceptions of race and ethnicity, and how these media have been and can be mobilized to perpetuate or challenge social inequities. Grounded in sustained archival research, she is the author of Uplift Cinema: The Emergence of African American Film & The Possibility of Black Modernity; co-editor of Screening Race in American Nontheatrical Film and L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema; writer of essays featured in Cinema Journal, Film History, Framework, and more. Currently, Field is editing a special double issue on speculative approaches to film histories, working on two interrelated book projects, and researching the work of Luther J. Pollard and the Ebony Film Company. In 2021, she was appointed to the National Film Preservation Board by the Librarian of Congress as a representative of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies.

Event Image: Still from “Shoes”; Allyson Nadia Field © Erielle Bakkum.

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