This week marks the return of UCLA Film & Television Archive’s biennial Festival of Preservation. Playing all through March, the Festival showcases UCLA’s recent achievements in safeguarding and making available its many film treasures, five of which were preserved through recent NFPF grants.
The Murder of Fred Hampton (1971), Howard Alk and Mike Gray's documentary on the violent death of the leader of the Illinois Black Panther Party, will be preceded by The Jungle (1967), a vivid portrayal of Philadelphia street life starring and made by African American gang members. In 2009 it was named to the National Film Registry.
Also on the Registry is The Way of Peace (1947), an animated plea for pacifism written and directed by Frank Tashlin for the American Lutheran Church, with narration by Lew Ayres and photography and puppet design by special effects wizard Wah Ming Chang. The film will screen with Moods of the Sea (1942), a lyrical depiction of California’s coastline by montage masters Slavko Vorkapich and John Hoffman, edited to the sounds of Mendelssohn.
Moods of the Sea was preserved through the Film Foundation and the NFPF’s Avant-Garde Masters Grants. Made possible by the generosity of the George Lucas Family Foundation, the AGM program also funded the preservation of The Books of Ed Ruscha (1969), a tongue-in-cheek reading of the artist’s books by musician Mason Williams (of “Classical Gas” fame). Be sure to check the Festival’s full schedule to see the impressive range of other films that will be playing at UCLA’s Billy Wilder Theater.