Ashley Blewer: Digital Archiving, Open Source Work & Systems of Strength

My friend and colleague Ashley Blewer is one of the most inspirational people I know. She makes hard things seem simple because she enjoys them so much. She has this brilliant gift of being talented at digital preservation and moving image archiving yet not coming off as intimidating or pretentious. She always seems willing to answer questions you might have and goes out of her way not to make you feel stupid for asking.  Ashley has spent countless hours working on projects that provide educational access to folks who might want to learn about moving image archiving but may not have the funds to do so.

I am incredibly proud to know this fabulous human being, count her as one of my friends and get to watch her be the mighty rock star that she is!!!

Please enjoy our conversation and check out the links and the bio just underneath here. Please note that this episode was recorded in advance so forgive date discrepancies

Bio:

Ashley works as at Artefactual Systems as their AV Preservation Specialist, primarily on the Archivematica project. She specializes in time-based media preservation, digital repository management, infrastructure/community building, computer-to-human interpretation, and teaching technical concepts. She is an active contributor to MediaArea’s MediaConch, a open source digital video file conformance checker software project, and Bay Area Video Coalition’s QCTools, an open source digitized video analysis software project. She holds Master of Library and Information Science (Archives) and Bachelor of Arts (Graphic Design) degrees from the University of South Carolina.

The absolutely amazing Beyoncé articles that Ashley wrote that we discussed:

https://bits.ashleyblewer.com/blog/2016/04/29/lemonade/

https://bits.ashleyblewer.com/blog/2016/02/09/format-ion-video-playback-errors-in-beyonces-latest-music-video/

The other OMGWTFBBQ mindblowing piece that she wrote on the recent Netflix doc series, Wild Wild Country:

https://bits.ashleyblewer.com/blog/2018/04/01/wild-wild-country-and-the-magnetic-media-crisis/

MOAR FUN ASHLEY LINKS!!!:

avpres-training resource https://training.ashleyblewer.com/

Episode 7: Millie De Chirico- Comin’ Up With That Weird Stuff! Exhibition as access, women in programming spaces, & the joy of TCMFF

This week is TCMFF, which in laymen’s terms means Turner Classic Movie Film Fest.

IT’S THE HAPPIEST TIME OF THE YEAR. LIKE FOR REELZ.

Well, at least it’s my happiest time. It’s what I affectionately call “Classic Film Summer Camp.” Even if it doesn’t happen during the summer time.

So in order to celebrate this wonderful and exciting event, I got one of the women that I love and admire in a massive way to be on this week’s episode.

Her name is Millie De Chirico and she continues to be one of the most amazing and dynamic forces at TCM.

This is her bio:

Millie De Chirico is 14-year member of the programming department at Turner Classic Movies. She co-created TCM Underground, the channel’s late night cult movie franchise and now lends her programming expertise to FilmStruck, the new streaming service created by TCM and the Criterion Collection. In her spare time she co-hosts a podcast with comedian April Richardson called Sordid Details (sordidpodcast.com).

TCM Underground, if you are not aware, is a masterpiece and an accomplishment unto itself, let alone the gazillions of other things that Millie does daily.

One of the big myths in the film world is that “the ladies” can’t stomach grindhouse films or that we just don’t like that sexploitation/exploitation morally messy media. It goes without saying that there is a certain unspoken idea that most fans of the genre would not be queer or POC either. But we exist. Millie’s dedication to TCM Underground and her passion for this landscape is important on many levels. If you listen to our conversation we discuss this.  This has led to her programming the midnight movies at the TCMFF which is nothing but brilliant.

I CANNOT WAIT FOR THIS YEAR’S FESTIVAL!

We talk about a lot of things in this episode. One of the things that we get super Real Deal about is the state of film exhibition and the theater scene. The last few years has seen some upheaval but it’s gotten a little quiet.  Like everyone thinks what happened at Cinefamily, Fantastic Fest, etc, was a one-off and that we can all go forward as things were, la la la la.
But we (being marginalized folx) weren’t happy before the Dude-programmer-pocalpyse and we certainly aren’t pleased now. And the situation is pretty easy to fix. Really. It is. We talk about that here too.

I’m not gonna lie: this is a GREAT EPISODE. But it was great because Millie is a damn ROCKSTAR. 

So here’s the million dollar answer, of course. You want to know what Millie’s top pics for TCMFF are and (maybe) mine. So, look below! They do not disappoint. And if you’re going to TCMFF, hope to see you there. Say hello!

Millie De Chirico’s 2018 TCMFF Recommendations

WORLD’S GREATEST SINNER (1962, d. Timothy Carey, 82m, Digital) (duh!)
A STAR IS BORN (1937, d. William A. Wellman, 35mm) on nitrate
FINISHING SCHOOL (1934, d. George Nichols, Jr. and Wanda Tuchock, 35 mm)**Preserved by the Library of Congress.
OUTRAGE (1950, d. Ida Lupino, 35mm) Ida!
WILL SUCCESS SPOIL ROCK HUNTER (1957, d. Frank Tashlin, Digital) Jayne!

My list is a little different. These are some of the films that I will probably end up going to. But these are also ones that I am VERY EXCITED ABOUT!!

In no particular order….

FINISHING SCHOOL (1934, d. George Nichols, Jr. and Wanda Tuchock, 35 mm) **Preserved by the Library of Congress.
WORLD’S GREATEST SINNER (1962, d. Timothy Carey, 82m, Digital)
STAGE DOOR (1937, d. Gregory La Cava, 35mm) nitrate & has a Bill Morrison short called The Letter playing before it!!!! YES!!
HATFUL OF RAIN (1957, d. Fred Zinnemann, Digital)
A LETTER TO THREE WIVES (1949, d. Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Digital)
WHEN YOU READ THIS LETTER (1953, d. Jean-Pierre Melville, Digital)
Panel Discussion- Through a Lens of Color: Black Representation in Film featuring: Gil Robertson IV, of the African American Film Critics Association, Professor Jacqueline Stewart, filmmaker Mario Van Peebles and moderated by Donald Bogle.
GIRLS ABOUT TOWN (1931, d. George Cukor, 35mm)
Hollywood Home Movies: Treasures from the Academy Archive
The Academy Film Archive shares gems from its collection with specially-selected home movies from Hollywood’s Golden Age, Presented by Randy Haberkamp, Managing Director of Preservation and Foundation Programs for AMPAS, and Lynne Kirste, Special Collections Curator at the Archive.
WOMAN OF THE YEAR (1942, d. George Stevens, Digital)