Ben Harry, curator of the audiovisual materials and media arts history, explained the BYU Motion Picture Archive largely works with films produced by BYU’s former motion picture studio.
BYU had an active motion picture studio from 1953 to 1990, Harry explained. The studio produced educational films as well as films for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Films such as “Johhny Lingo,” “The Mailbox” and “The Phone Call” were produced by the studio throughout the years. Eventually, the studio began throwing away the camera’s original rolls of film, but the BYU Motion Picture Archive decided to save them and restore the films to their original glory.
“Returning to the master source of information allows us to recapture what was there from the beginning,” Harry said.
According to him, many of these films were filmed at and around BYU campus and have been in storage for years. Much of the restoration effort comes from BYU students and faculty.
“Each semester we offer an internship in film restoration. I walk the students through the process of picking a title from our camera masters, preparing the film for digital scanning and then bringing that back to life in the digital realm,” Harry said.
Students are given opportunities to participate in these projects and to help other viewers learn more about the restoration process.
“It is fascinating to see the before and after film clips where you can see just how much work the students have done,” Roger Layton, Harold B. Lee Library Communications manager, said.
By restoring these films, the Motion Picture Archives Department gives individuals the opportunity to relive a piece of history and “take a walk down memory lane.”
“Making a film requires a great deal of dedication. Every finished film requires a lot of hard work and a number of miracles. BYU staff, students and faculty put a great deal of effort into these productions,” Harry said.
The showcase’s two showings invite the audience to reflect upon considerations when courting. “Are You The One: Choosing a Mate” was produced in 1968 by the BYU Motion Picture Archive and the School of Family Sciences.
George Summerill, a sophomore in the pre-advertising program, is excited about the archive showcase and the opportunity to get involved in film restoration.
“As a student wanting to get more involved in film restoration, it would start with attending the viewing of these restored films … I see myself advocating and sharing this unique and special opportunity with other students, friends and family,” Summerill said.
All BYU staff and students are invited to come and relive a part of film history through the Film Restoration Showcase Friday, Oct. 13 at 7:30 p.m. in the Alice Louise Reynolds auditorium in the Harold B. Lee Library.