Retro Mashup International

March 1, 2012

In which Penn Museum’s Film Archives announces a new occasional series: Live from the Archives!

One great pleasure of archival work is to see what creativity researchers bring to interpreting the materials in our Museums’ collections. Once, their output consisted mostly of print publications using these primary source materials, more recently, artists and filmmakers are discovering digital visual materials in the re-use of our film and other collections. Most excitingly, often these filmmakers come from the cultures of the people in the films.

Keep your eyes open for the following screenings:

From the 1930s to the early 1970s, the Chinese in Jamaica owned many small grocery stores all over the island. They were an insular group and mostly kept to themselves. The documentary “The Chiney Shop” explores the ways in which the Chinese shopkeepers contributed to Jamaican society.

The Chiney Shop Trailer from Jeanette Kong on Vimeo.

  • Maren Elwood’s film, Stone and People is about the tension between land rights of current day Inca people and archaeological field work and antiquities preservation. The particular Kate and Arthur Tode collection film reel from Peru that Maren culled from was preserved in a grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation in 2007, the first of four that we have received for our film collections. It is gratifying to learn that we selected to preserve a film that turns out to have relevance to a large audience in Peru, and will be reborn in a new context some eighty years later. (Imagine Kate and Arthur’s  spirits in surprise to see that they are heavily featured in a new film!) We expect to present this film in late 2012.


  • The latest collaboration with a filmmaker involves a Fulbright project in India about Victorian colonial period female travelers, which she will contrast with current day internet consumption (virtual travel) by South Asian teen girls. The filmmaker, Courtney Stephens, currently researching in Kolkata(formerly Calcutta), will be working with the Dixon and Tode collections for this film. which is titled Venus Peregrine. No date has been yet set for this screening, since it is still in production, but likely it will be in Spring 2013.
  • Stay tuned for more details!