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Steve Fesenmaier writes: "While discussing the need for a film exhibition policy, I asked Marie
Nethus, director of the Donnell Media Center in the NYPL, if anyone had
ever shown a series of films made by librarians. As far as she knew, no
one has. She asked me to program such a series for spring 2005. I was in
NYC in March 2004 to introduce a week of 17 films made in West Virginia
at the Two Boots Pioneer Theater. I have known Marie for many years,
meeting with her during American Film Festivals.
More inside...I told her that I had worked on many films - not as director, but as
associate producer for "Correct Change," a 2002 indie feature in WV, and
many other films - as researcher, location assistance, etc. I also told
her that I have a copy of a great indie feature made in Lexington, Ky.
and directed by a librarian, Jeremy Horton - the film is called "100
Proof." I sent out a call for other filmmaker librarians and received
several notices. I also know that there is a new documentary about Ms.
Nethus' predecessor, MLS founder of the Donnell Media Center, William
Sloan, who moved across the street to MOMA in 1980 to become director of
circulating films. Bill, like myself, has helped many, many filmmakers
over the years - directly by providing research and information on
subjects, programming the films, and in his case, distributing films
Here are some of the filmmaker librarians I have lined up -
* Jenni Matz. Currently a MLS student at Simmons University in Boston,
she has worked on many films, most recently directing "Abe Lerner: A
Life In Books."
* Marc P. Syp - media librarian at the St. Louis Public Library. He
shot several PSAs for the city of St. Louis and directed a 1998 mock
documentary on a young man who wanted to become a clown like his
http://www.mstl.org "Media" and then "This Is Saint
* Christine Wallace of the Vancouver Public Library, presently a library
student, produced a 10-minute short, "Good Morning." It is about 20
somethings dealing with the concept of God in the urban setting.
I would like to program a month long - 4 night series, opening with "100
Proof." Secondly, "Correct Change" and a few shorts I worked on. Third,
the filmmakers above. Lastly, the world premiere of the doc on William
Sloan. Maybe the series could be expanded to 6 nights if more librarian
filmmakers contact me.
Ray Schmitt, a retired employee of the Congressional Research Services
at the Library of Congress, has been making award-winning films for
decades, and often premieres them at the Mary Pickford Auditorium at LC.
His new film, "The Abby Spirit," is a portrait of the daughter of my
colleague Susan Hayden, WVLC Adult Services librarian, which will have
its world premiere at the West Virginia Library Association conference
in November 2004. Ray retired to WV several years ago and has shown his
films in many libraries around the state including the Paw Paw Public
Library, the Hardy County Library in Moorefield, and the St. Albans
Public Library branch of Kanawha County Public Library.
I have also invited Ann Seidl, "The Hollywood Librarian," who is
producing a feature film about the images of librarians in Hollywood
films. She said that she probably will be editing the film in the spring
so she may not be able to present the film.
If time permitted, I would like to show several videos about Sanford
Berman, one of the greatest living librarians. In June 2004 a 4.5 minute
film about his life was presented at the national conference in Orlando
before Mr. Berman was given the highest honor the American Library
Association gives - lifetime membership. The film was produced by ALA
under the direction of past ALA-president Mitch Freedman. Mr. Berman has
been a guest on many cable programs in Minneapolis and a video stream
was posted of his 2003 Elizabeth Stone Memorial speech at Catholic
University of America School of Library Science. His ALA award noted
that Mr. Berman has spent his career fighting for equal treatment given
to non-print media in libraries.
If you are a filmmaker librarian, please contact me - Steve Fesenmaier,