State of the Arts: Silent Sundays, Human Rights Film Festival, Barbara Smail Award Winner, Kasini House Closed, Getting on the Obama Train
Cinephiles love Turner Classic Movies, a cable network that screens forgotten treasures and oddities along with recognized classics of old Hollywood. This Sunday, January 18, at midnight, TCM viewers will get the first small-screen look at the work of a local film archivist.
Filmmaker and curator Bruce Posner of Plainfield, New Hampshire, presents the long-running Cine Salon avant-garde film series at Dartmouth College’s Howe Library. On December 1, he showed Salon regulars the results of his latest digital film restoration project: a 10-minute 1921 short called “Manhatta ,” in which two photographers captured striking, painterly images of the New York cityscape. (A November 8 New York Times article chronicled the restoration, which cost about $150,000 and was funded by New York’s Anthology Film Archives and other institutions.)
Posner trekked to L.A. to oversee the painstaking project of removing shakes and scratches from the only known print of “Manhatta” at Lowry Digital in Burbank. (On January 19, he’ll introduce “Manhatta” and another restored film, the 1958 “N.Y., N.Y.,” at Los Angeles’ Roy and Edna Disney/Cal Arts Theater.) Locals who’d rather stay at home can catch the TCM premiere of both films as part of a series called “Silent Sunday Nights .”
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This week Waitsfield’s Big Picture Theater  hosts the MountainTop Human Rights Film Festival , featuring 13 politically engaged documentaries and an appearance by author and activist Naomi Wolf. Meanwhile, the organizers of Montpelier’s Green Mountain Film Festival  are soliciting grassroots contributions to help raise $12,000 they need to put on this year’s fest in late March. “A donation of $25 is suggested but donations in any amount, large or small, are welcome,” writes Rick Winston of the Savoy Theater to his mailing list.
While the GMFF’s full schedule hasn’t yet been announced, it will include national fest fave Wendy and Lucy , the indigent-girl-and-her-dog saga starring Michelle Williams, and a live appearance by documentarian Les Blank . On February 22, Winston will present a clip-enhanced lecture called “What Makes a Classic?” as a fundraiser. Donations may be sent to Focus on Film, 26 Main Street, Montpelier, VT 05602.
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Burlington City Arts announced the 2009 winner of its annual Barbara Smail Award at an exhibit reception in late December, but released official word just this week: Burlington mixed-media artist Jude Bond , known for her quirky creations made from vintage fabrics, will receive $1000 and the use of BCA’s facilities — including the darkroom and print and clay studios — for one year. The award was established by friends and family of the late Vermont painter Smail, who died in 2001. Bond should be familiar with the opportunities already: She’s been the Early Arts Coordinator at the Firehouse since 1994. She also belongs to the nearby 215 College Artists’ Cooperative . . . In other visual-arts news, the lights are out at the Kasini House  on Burlington’s North Street. The innovative gallery has packed up and moved to Montréal, where partners Ric Kasini Kadour and Chris Byrne live full-time. In Vermont, the two have published the monthly “ArtMap Burlington ,” the official guide to the city’s First Friday Art Walk, and hosted local artist meetups. Neither returned phone calls before this week’s deadline, and the website doesn’t say a word about the change — yet. Stay tuned . . . One more thing about the Obama bandwagon (see page 28A): Middlebury’s Maple Landmark , which makes wooden products for children, has been selected to create a toy train engine to celebrate the inauguration. (Obama opted to travel, à la Abraham Lincoln, by train on the last leg of his trip to Washington, D.C.) The little engine that could is made from Vermont hardwood and printed with the Inaugural Seal on one side and “Obama Biden Renewing America’s Promise” on the other. Maple Landmark owner Mike Rainville shares that customized trains — toy-sized, mind you — are being provided to the First Daughters.