Ecuador, Audiovisual Heritage, and Watson Kintner shines again.

December 3, 2014

Penn Museum’s film collections are popular with filmmakers and others in Ecuador, this much we knew from the many downloads and requests received. For a story on UNESCO Audiovisual Heritage efforts, the broadcast news producer, Tomás Ciuffardi, paid tribute to the significance of film archives as primary source historical materials. In his research he scoured the physical archives of Ecuador and collections available online to find footage significant to Ecuadorians.

Queue this television news program to 9:41 for a testimony on footage taken by Watson Kintner. (The narration for these sections is translated below)

From the written narration by Mr. Ciuffardi:
@ 9:41 We can also find [footage of] practically all the regions of Ecuador, filmed in 1949 by Watson Kintner, and housed in the University of Pennsylvania, […] showing the daily life of our country, [which attains] incommensurable value in face of the lack of [our own national or personal family] archives.
@ 10:18 …These and other surprising films have recently appeared, which no one knew existed. That is why today the National Council of Cinema is making an effort to obtain copies of these films from outside the country to incorporate them into the National Archives.

Note that the footage within the program by Kintner is some of the clearest, brightest, and most colorful, this is in part due to his use of colorfast Kodachrome film stock, a now discontinued product that was actually based in black and white technology with layers of dye affixed. Mr Kintner, an RCA Chemical Engineer closely connected with the Penn Museum, was prescient in his interest in material culture, and how people made things. In his filming, he seemed to take joy in trying to understand what people did in their daily lives. Perhaps he understood that things would not remain as they were, and that many folkloric patterns would be gone in the not too distant future. We are still grateful to Mr. Kintner for his careful note-taking (which you may find in the catalog records) and the interest he took in people all around the world.

See more 1949 footage of Ecuador from the Watson Kintner Collection.