This blog post was written by Rachel Del Gaudio, a Moving Image Processing Technician at the Library’s Packard Campus.
A typical day for me each year in early June is full of stress and frantic correspondence as the final details for the Library’s annual Mostly Lost Film Identification Workshop are organized. However, these are not typical times. All of us at the Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation have been teleworking since mid-March; and while there was brief hope that Mostly Lost would occur as it had the previous eight years, that optimism was diminished as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold of the world. The cancellation of the 2020 edition of Mostly Lost was announced on April 1, but there are still ways that the community can help institutions identify unknown films.
I have authored previous Now See Hear blogs from 2014, 2015 and 2018 which explain the three-day Mostly Lost workshop and have even given the public a chance to identify some of the films that have become separated from their titles. But on what would have been the first full day of Mostly Lost 9, the Library of Congress has joined efforts with Cinematek Brussels to virtually stream films that have played during past Mostly Lost events yet remain unidentified. Hosted on both the Library of Congress and the Cinematek Brussels Facebook pages, the hour-long program STILL MOSTLY LOST will be streamed at 1pm ET on Thursday June 18, 2020.
Like the “live” Mostly Lost workshops, the purpose of STILL MOSTLY LOST is for viewers to relay suggestions as the films are screened. Utilizing the comments section, the audience can build on observations from others, which will hopefully lead to identifying titles for these films which have long eluded identification. Whether you are looking to view some rarely shown films, break out your detective skills, or flex your film history knowledge, the screening is sure to be fun and entertaining.
Anyone, regardless if they have a Facebook account or not, may view the streamed event. STILL MOSTLY LOST can be viewed here and the video will be available for two weeks after the event concludes.
Speaking of streaming, frequent Packard Campus silent film accompanist Ben Model and film historian Steve Massa have been hosting a popular live-streamed show on YouTube called The Silent Comedy Watch Party. These laugh-filled shows occur each Sunday at 3pm ET. On Father’s Day, June 21st, they will be screening a few comedy shorts that were identified during past Mostly Lost workshops. These films also happen to be included on the two Found at Mostly Lost DVDs released by Undercrank Productions in collaboration with the Library of Congress.
And finally, while many films have been identified during the eight previous editions of Mostly Lost, plenty remain unknown. I run a Flickr site that is dedicated to identifying unknown films, which also contains the remaining unidentified films from every Mostly Lost. The site similarly includes other nameless films that have baffled the collectors and archivists that submitted the images. You can help by leaving comments on this Flickr site and checking frequently.
If you would like to be kept in the loop about Mostly Lost, please let us know at [email protected].