Taking place May 20–22, the UCLA Festival of Preservation showcases the variety of recent preservation work by the UCLA Film & Television Archive. The 20th edition of the Festival includes 10 features, seven shorts and four television programs. Among those shorts are three titles preserved through recent NFPF grants, all screening on Saturday, May 21.
Hey, Mama (1967) is a cinéma vérité documentary about African American life in the Oakwood neighborhood of Venice, California. It was directed and edited by Vaughn Obern, a white UCLA film student who spent six months in the neighborhood. Aware of his own status as an outsider, Obern immersed viewers in the daily lives of Oakwood’s working-class community and demonstrated the conditions created by structural racism. The film won second prize in the documentary category of the Fourth Annual National Student Film Festival.
On the same program is another cinéma vérité documentary: Haskell Wexler’s The Bus (1965). Funded, produced, and photographed by the great cinematographer, the film follows and profiles a diverse collective of 37 activists as they journey on a three-day cross-country trip from San Francisco to Washington D.C. to participate in the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, one of the largest human rights rallies in U.S. history. The Bus and Hey Mama were both preserved through the NFPF’s federal grant program.
Paper Moon (1949) is a short improvisational film by Flora Mock, a filmmaker, teacher, artist, and member of the feminist avant-garde of Los Angeles. Made during Mock’s study of animation at UCLA, Paper Moon takes the form of a color collage that visually interprets Nat King Cole’s titular recording. It was described by the Los Angeles Times as a “West Side Story–style romance told in the vocabulary of cut and torn paper.” The film was preserved though The Film Foundation and the NFPF’s Avant-Garde Masters Grants, made possible by the generosity of the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation.