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Audiovisual Preservation Exchange (APEX) Returns to Buenos Aires

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2015

MIAP Director Dan Streible and MIAP Assistant Director Alicia Kubes with US Embassy Cultural Programs Officer Christine Meyer, NYU BA Director Anna Kazumi Stahl, Museo del Cine Director Paula Félix-Didier, and Andrés Levinson

The MIAP program has always focused on archiving and preservation from an international perspective. While our alumni, faculty, and students remain active in Asia, Europe, and Africa, in recent years, the program has developed a significant involvement across Latin America.

In June 2015, for the third year in a row MIAP students led a major collaboration with Latin American media archives, libraries, and universities. Building on the successful partnerships of APEX Bogotá 2013 and APEX Montevideo 2014, this year’s group visited the Argentine capital -- with more participants than ever.

The group’s blog well documents the APEX Buenos Aires accomplishments and experiences in illustrated reports. Please have a look!

Another sign of the strength of this continuing MIAP initiative is the expanding list of partners.

  • Our principal host, el Museo del Cine Pablo Ducrós Hicken (directed by NYU MIAP graduate Paula Félix-Didier) provided access to its enormous collection of historic films from across the world, a generous collaborative spirit with its talented staff, and two weeks of extraordinary hospitality across the city.
  • Argentina’s TV Pública, the nation’s oldest broadcaster, welcomed an APEX team to its historical archive of thousands of videotapes, particularly its 2” quad tapes.
  • The Film Foundation (chair and founder Martin Scorsese) supported students with a travel grant.
  • NYU Buenos Aires (director Anna Kazumi Stahl) hosted the colloquium that capped off APEX 2015. The Embassy of the United States in Argentina supplied audio equipment for simultaneous Spanish-English translation at that event.
  • Jim Lindner, a continuing supporter of MIAP and APEX (and a Tisch alum), paid essential supplies and offered substantial archival consultation on the trip. Working with the TV Pública tech experts, he activated a rather remarkable achievement: in short, they built a videotape cleaning machine out of parts scavenged from old 2” audiotape machines.
  • Cinecolor Digital, the nation’s leading film restoration lab, hosted APEX for a tour, and an exclusive sneak preview screening of the newly restored Academy Award-winning film La historia oficial (1985). Its director Luis Puenzo was on hand to discuss his work.
  • MALBA, el Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires, hosted a special screening of orphan films, programmed by Leandro Listorti and Andrés Levinson.

Founded in 2008 by NYU professor Mona Jimenez for her work on-going work in Ghana, APEX allows for the ongoing exchange of ideas, knowledge, technology, and work among media archivists internationally. In May 2009, Dan Streible organized a similar team of 14 experts who volunteered their time to work alongside Museo del Cine archivists in the week preceding the International Federation of Film Archivists congress in Buenos Aires. This 2015 exchange was a larger undertaking, co-led by graduating MIAP students Lorena Ramírez-López and Allie Whalen, who planned the workflows with Félix-Didier and her Museo colleague Andrés Levinson.

In addition to the group at TV Pública, three APEX teams worked on three film collections: the Argentine Navy collection of 16mm and 35mm prints dating from the 1930s through 1960s; the pre-1950 nitrate collection; and the noted Manuel Peña Rodríguez Collection of world cinema. APEX members worked alongside Museo staff in inspecting, repairing, and cataloging a fascinating array of films.

For the first time, APEX opened applications to working professionals beyond NYU. Our volunteers included colleagues from our two sister programs, UCLA Moving Image Archive Studies and the Selznick School of Film Preservation in Rochester – the first time all three U.S. media preservation programs collaborated. Others came from the University of South Carolina Moving Image Research Collections, as well as Chicago’s Media Burn Independent Video Archive, Biblioteca Nacional de Chile, and private-sector companies Gotika, Media Matters LLC, and Preserving the Past.

Also on the Buenos Aires team were leaders of the previous two exchanges, MIAP graduatesJuana Suárez and Pamela Vizner. Based respectively in Colombia and Chile, they have now formed their own audiovisual media consultancy, Second Run Media Preservation.

The colloquium finale, “Archives and Audiovisual Heritage in Latin America,” convened at the NYU Buenos Aires Academic Center, attracting more than 70 attendees (the seating capacity). In addition to APEX groups presenting the results of their work, other speakers came from Cinemateca Boliviana, the University of Buenos Aires, Cinecolor Digital, Universidad Católica del Uruguay, Archivo Nacional de la Imagen in Montevideo, and Museos de Arte in Bahía Blanca, Argentina.

Post script:  At the suggestion of the dean’s office, APEX highlights will be presented at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts “Day of Community,” October 2. Carolina Gil and Jonathan Farbowitz, who have volunteered to co-lead an APEX 2016, will report on the Buenos Aires exchange. Joining them will be new MIAP student Julio Cabrio – who participated in APEX Montevideo while working as an archivist at Universidad de La República in Uruguay.