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Doc On Black Poet, Critic, Historian Sarah Webster Fabio Among 27 Films Selected For NFPF Restoration

Shadow and Act By Courtney | Shadow and Act September 25, 2012 at 6:41PM

This is wonderful news!
0
BFC/A Director Michael T. Martin with Sarah Fabio in Seattle, Washington (date unknown)
BFC/A Director Michael T. Martin with Sarah Fabio in Seattle, Washington (date unknown)

This is wonderful news!

Of special note among the 27 films green-lighted for preservation by the National Film Preservation Foundation is Rainbow Black: Poet Sarah W. Fabio - a portrait of Black poet, critic, and historian Sarah Webster Fabio, which includes readings of her works and interviews in which she discusses her approaches to writing, the relationship of the Black experience to her work, and her early influences.

And the institution awarded the grant to preserve the 1976 film is the Black Film Center/Archive at Indiana University; here's a little of what they had to say about the award, the film and its subject:

Sarah Webster Fabio (1928-1979) established herself as a major figure in the black art and cultural consciousness movements of the 1960s and 1970s through her contributions as a poet, performer, literary critic, and educator. Strongly associated with the Black Arts Movement in which she was active, Fabio’s major poetic work includes the seven-volume series, Rainbow Signs (1973): Black Back: Back Black; Boss Soul; Jujus/Alchemy of the Blues; Soul Ain’t, Soul Is; and Together/To the Tune of Coltrane’s “Equinox.” [...] Today, her influence is perhaps recognized most widely through her four Folkways Records albums, including Boss Soul and Jujus/Alchemy of the Blues...

You can read the rest HERE.

Sarah’s daughter, Cheryl Fabio, produced Rainbow Black: Poet Sarah W. Fabio as her MA thesis film in communications at Stanford University. She will work with the renowned film preservation lab Colorlab to restore the film, which means we should expect to see a re-release of it eventually.

At the moment, it appears to exist only in VHS format, and is available primarily in the libraries of colleges and universities. This restoration will hopefully encourage its introduction to new and wider audiences.

I should note that finding a good enough photo of Sarah W. Fabio was next to impossible. The above is the best in circulation; it features Ms Fabio with Black Film Center/Archive Director Michael T. Martin. As it states above, the date the photo was taken in unknown.

And here's the full press release from the National Film Preservation Foundation, listing some of the 27 films that will be restored/preserved, along with the institutions receiving the grants.

San Francisco, CA (September 18, 2012) - The Boy Mayor (1914), a Hollywood-produced short made in Portland, Oregon; the Tinsel town satire Hollywouldn’t (1925); Exploratorium (1974), the Academy Award–nominated short about San Francisco’s innovative science museum; early campaign footage of Harvey Milk and George Wallace; Lost Ceremonies of the Hopi Cliff Dwellers (1958), documenting the Native American troupe that helped secure federal protection of sacred Hopi dance ceremonies; Rainbow Black: Poet Sarah W. Fabio (1976); and Punish or Train (1937), about California’s juvenile correction system, are among 27 films green-lighted for preservation through grants announced today by the National Film Preservation Foundation. Awards went to 20 institutions.

The NFPF preservation grants target newsreels, silent-era films, documentaries, culturally important home movies, avant-garde films, and endangered independent productions that fall under the radar of commercial preservation programs. The awards provide support to create a film preservation master and two access copies of each work. Films saved through the NFPF programs are made available to the public for on-site research and are widely exhibited through screenings, museum installations, DVDs, television broadcasts, and the Internet.

Since created by Congress in 1996, the NFPF helped save more than 1,975 films through grants and project funding to 253 institutions across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The NFPF also publishes the award-winning Treasures from American Film Archives DVD series and organizes international projects to preserve and make available copies of “lost” American silent era films found abroad. The NFPF receives federal money through the Library of Congress to distribute as grants but raises all operating and project funding from other sources.

The grant recipients are:

Alabama Department of Archives and History (AL)

Anthology Film Archives (NY)

California State Archives (CA)

Carnegie Mellon University, Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation (PA)

Center for Home Movies (CA)

Colorado Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame and Museum (CO)

Council Bluffs Public Library (IA)

Exploratorium (CA)

George Eastman House (NY)

Indiana University (IN)

Kartemquin (IL)

Montana Historical Society (MT)

Ohio State University (OH)

Oregon Historical Society (OR)

Trisha Brown Dance Company (NY)

UCLA Film & Television Archive (CA)

University of Mississippi Medical Center (MS)

University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (PA)

University of Virginia (VA)

Verde Valley Archaeology Center (AZ)

The National Film Preservation Foundation is the nonprofit organization created by the U.S. Congress to help save America’s film heritage. The NFPF is the charitable affiliate of the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress. For the complete list of projects supported by the NFPF, visit the NFPF Web site: www.filmpreservation.org.


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