THE ART OF EDITING SPIKE LEE DOCUMENTARIES

In 1996, Spike Lee embarked on his first feature-length documentary project, enlisting his frequent collaborator, Sam Pollard, to serve as the film’s editor and producer. 4 Little Girls, which revisits the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, went on to earn a 1997 Oscar nomination for Documentary Feature. In this clip from the Academy’s new Visual History Program Collection, Pollard discusses the creative liberation he experienced while working with Lee on his narrative and documentary films, and why he believes 4 Little Girls represents his greatest achievement as an editor.

4 Little Girls screens Sunday, July 20, at 2:30 p.m. in the Linwood Dunn Theater as part of the Academy’s month-long celebration of Lee’s career, “By Any Means Necessary: A Spike Lee Joints Retrospective.” In conjunction with the retrospective, an on-set photography exhibit titled “Wake Up!” by David Lee, Spike Lee’s brother, will be on display in the Linwood Dunn Theater Lobby Gallery.

Established in 2012, the Academy’s Visual History Program records oral histories with notable figures in the motion picture industry. The collection includes 43 interviews totaling more than 170 hours of video recorded material. For access to the material, please contact the Film Archive Public Access Center at (310) 247-3016, ext. 3380, or filmarchive@oscars.org.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BEVERLY HILLS!

We’re saluting the centennial celebration of Beverly Hills in style with a look at costume design drawings for Troop Beverly Hills (1989).

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Shelley Long
stars as Phyllis Nefler, a soon-to-be divorced mom living in fabulous Beverly Hills style. As leader of the local Wilderness Girls troop, Phyllis has her tailor customize basic uniform staples with some serious 1980s style. To quote two of the troop members, “Uniforms are sick. They blur ...
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STANLEY KUBRICK'S NAPOLEON

One of the most famous films never made, Napoleon was a dream project for director Stanley Kubrick after the release of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), for which he won an Oscar for Special Effects. However, numerous factors (particularly the perilous financial situation of MGM) meant that it would remain a dream instead of a finalized film.

The extensive documentation and other research from the project was later compiled into a lavish book, ...
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HOLLYWOOD AND THE GREAT WAR

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This July marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I, so this week we take a look back at the motion picture industry’s campaign to support the war effort. When the United States officially entered into the war in April 1917, Congress almost immediately passed the Emergency Loan Act to authorize the issue of war bonds. The Treasury Department enlisted Hollywood luminaries such as Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks to help sell the securities, which became known as Liberty Loans...
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SPIKE LEE’S 2007 OSCAR COMMERCIALS

In 2006, the Academy commissioned Spike Lee to direct a series of short television commercials to promote the 79th Annual Academy Awards, which took place on February 25, 2007. In August of 2006 in New York City, Lee filmed 123 individuals delivering iconic lines from Academy Award-winning and nominated films.

Six commercials were released and aired on ABC and its affiliates.

The Academy Film Archive holds the master elements to the commercials, including dailies and behind-the-scenes footage of the 2006 shoot which can be seen here: http://youtu.be/2WrRM2qXqxM

The Academy’s series “By Any Means Necessary: A Spike Lee Joints Retrospective” kicks off on June 26 with a screening of 25th Hour and the opening of the exhibit “WAKE UP! David C. Lee Photographs the Films of Spike Lee” at the Linwood Dunn Theater. The exhibit showcases photographs by David C. Lee taken on the sets of his brother’s films over the years. The Spike Lee retrospective continues with screenings celebrating the 25th anniversary of Do the Right Thing on June 27 in Los Angeles at the Bing Theater and June 29 in New York, with more films running through July at the Bing Theater and the Linwood Dunn Theater.




SECRETS OF THE SILVER SHEET

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By the time the first issue of The Silver Sheet was published in 1920, filmmaker Thomas H. Ince (seen below) was already a revolutionary motion picture producer and director. This publication marks the formation of his last motion picture company, the Thomas H. Ince Studios in Culver City before his untimely dea...
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MAKE YOUR OWN CARTOONS

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The Animators Kartoon Kit, a boxed set aimed at children and young artists, was filled with materials to make animated color cartoons at home, including the same paint used to create Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons. There weren’t enough blank cels in the kit to produce much of a film however, the accompanying booklet documents the common practice of washing the paint off the cels for reuse after photography.

The kit was the brainchild of young entrepr...
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SPIKE LEE'S START

Before he turned the heads of moviegoers with Do the Right Thing and She’s Gotta Have It, young filmmaker Spike Lee earned a Student Academy Award in 1983 for his first feature-length film, Joe’s Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads, his masters thesis at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Horace Long and Monty Ross are seen here in the film, which will have a rare public screening as part of our ...
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ADVERTISING AND THE OSCARS: 1955 FLASHBACK

Did you know that in the early years of the Academy Awards, commercials were integrated directly into the telecast?

In 1955, directly after Gene Milford receives an Oscar® statuette for Film Editing for On the Waterfront, Bob Hope introduces a commercial for the Oldsmobile Holiday, featuring Lee Bowman. The telecast, which lasted 104 minutes, featured only four commercials, all of which advertised the Oldsmobile.

On Friday, June 6, the Academy celebrates the 60th anniversary of On the Waterfront with special guest Eva Marie Saint.




DOCUMENTING WORLD WAR II: HOLLYWOOD SUPPORTS THE WAR EFFORT

As America plunged into World War II following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, members of the motion picture community rushed to assist in the war effort. Many of these highly-skilled film industry professionals lent their talents to the Army Pictorial Service (APS), a division of the U.S. Army Signal Corps. Established in 1942 by George C. Marshall, the APS counted among its most important tasks the visual documentation of the war.

In January 1943, director George Stevens joined the Army and was later selected to head the Special Motion Picture Coverage Unit (SPECOU) of the Allied Expeditionary Force. Working...
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