BCSC: On Location
Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 4:00 PM - Saturday, February 23, 2013 at 6:00 PM (PST)
San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
"ON LOCATION" is a three-day conference with accompanying Pacific Film Archive film series examining the emergence and historical development of cinematic “location” in the first few decades of the twentieth century. Reflection on contemporary media practices has created intellectual curiosity about the idea of cinematic place as a historical phenomenon in all of its various manifestations. During the silent era, the location of filming moved from interiors to exteriors, and from low-tech production sites to studio cities. Whereas some national and regional cinemas became closely associated with natural location settings, others were identified with the manufacture of locations through in-studio simulations or the effects of montage, resulting in practices of “creative geography” in the widest sense. In turn, location-dependent genres such as the Western, the travelogue, the ethnographic documentary, and the city film developed specific attachments to place. Exhibition locations shifted from vaudeville theatres to nickelodeons to picture palaces and from urban centers to small towns. Hollywood’s simultaneous development as a real and imagined place affected models for studio filmmaking and cinematic geography around the world. Such developments prompt numerous questions: How was the idea of "location shooting" developed alongside and sometimes in opposition to "studio set"? When and how did "location" emerge as a complex site of production, a lure for audiences, a generic rubric, and a guarantee of realism, as well as a site of artifice and fantasy? How was the cinematic articulation of a broad range of locations influenced by pictorial traditions such as the picturesque, landscape painting, and photography? What are the social and political implications of these varied sites of production and exhibition?
This three-day conference will feature plenary lectures by four prominent silent cinema scholars and concurrent sessions with lectures by thirty more from across the country and around the world. Attendance at the conference is free and open to the public, but pre-registration is encouraged.
An accompanying film series at Pacific Film Archive will present screenings of films that exemplify these concepts, beginning in early February and concluding with screenings Tuesday-Friday evenings during the week of the conference. Information about the series can be found at http://www.bampfa.berkeley.edu/filmseries/ and tickets for screenings can be ordered through the PFA box office.