By examining restoration projects completed by the Outfest Legacy Project for LGBT Film Preservationâa collaboration between Outfest and the UCLA Film & Television Archiveâthis essay articulates the unique challenges that the preservation and conservation of lesbian moving images have historically posed for traditional archives.
A Profile on the Outfest Legacy Project for LGBT Film Preservation
Somewhere not so far away, very quietly and unnoticed to the masses, history is disappearing. It’s fading away to tragic consequences because without knowledge of the past, we continue to head blindly into the future. Yes, we will always have classic books, paintings, photographs and pieces of music serving as historical bookends, but for a lot of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender filmmakers over the last century, their works of art have already been lost for good. But thanks to the pioneering Outfest Legacy Project for LGBT Film Preservation, all hasn’t been lost yet.
Different from the Others, the first, nearly 100-year-old, feature-length silent film ever made that paints an accurate depiction of LGBT people in 1919, screened last Saturday night to myself and hundreds of other gleaming members and friends of the LGBT community during the 2012 Legacy Awards at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Los Angeles, hosted by actor Michael Urie of CBS’ Partners. Courtesy of the Legacy Project’s restitution efforts, in partnership with the UCLA Film & Television Archive, a newly restored Different from the Others features actor Conrad Veidt as a violinist and music teacher who falls in love with his male student. But things soon go awry when a blackmailer threatens to expose their relationship, resulting in imprisonment under Paragraph 175, the law banning homosexuality in 1919 Germany. Read more