On July 16, 2016, the American Cinematheque, The Mary Pickford Foundation, Seeking Our Story, and Rack Focus present a silent classic with a modern soundtrack: the surround sound premiere andnitrate restoration of Little Annie Rooney at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. This 4K high definition restoration with an original modern soundtrack provides today's audience with the ultimate viewing experience of this 90-year-old film.
Prior to the film presentation is a panel discussion with the Mary Pickford Foundation's CEO Henry Stotsenberg and Archive & Legacy Director Elaina Archer; film archivist Heather Linville of the Academy Film Archive; and composer Andy Gladbach.
The Seeking Our Story organization (which is dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments of women behind the camera throughout history, such as Pickford) and Rack Focus, an advocacy group calling for more opportunities for women filmmakers, will host a networking opportunity for female filmmakers.
The process of restoring and scoring Little Annie Rooney took several years. The original tinted nitrate print in Mary Pickford's personal collection at the Library of Congress, made from the camera negative in 1925, was brought to the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences archive in Los Angeles.
Through the Mary Pickford Foundation's extraordinary, multi-year partnership with AMPAS, the Academy Film Archive preserved the film photo-chemically, creating new 35mm preservation masters and prints.
The preservation master was then scanned at 4K resolution so that the MPF, in cooperation with AMPAS, could create a digital version, evaluating the film frame by frame, removing dirt and other signs of deterioration to perfectly match the original nitrate tints and tones.
Then, through the MPF Composition Program at Pepperdine University, an extremely gifted young composer, Andy Gladbach, was chosen to create a new sound track for the film. Mentored by professionals, Gladbach was joined by a 16 piece orchestra that included three percussionists, as well as a conductor and engineers, to record his original music.
|Andy Gladbach (left) working on the score|
The end result combines and showcases the finest work of artists, craftspeople and musicians from this century and from 1925.
Little Annie Rooney (1925, 94 min, USA, Dir: William Beaudine) stars Mary Pickford as a tomboy of the tenements who tends to her brother and widowed father in a multi-ethnic New York neighborhood, recreated entirely on the backlot of the Pickford Fairbanks studio. Her crush on a young man (William Haines) from a rival gang results in complications when he is charged with murder. Pickford produced, starred in and wrote this comedy with pathos (under the name of Catherine Hennessey).
Mary Pickford (1892-1979) was a multifaceted pioneer of early cinema. She was a talented performer, a creative producer and a savvy businesswoman who helped shape the film industry as we know it today. Pickford rose steadily to fame at a time when there was no path to follow.
With Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin, and D.W. Griffith, she founded the United Artists Studio in 1919. She was among the twelve founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (and the only woman), a founder of the Society of Independent Motion Picture Producers in 1941, and the last of the original United Artists founders to sell her interest in the mid-1950s. Her final film as an actress, Secrets, was released in 1933, the same week that newly elected President Roosevelt declared a bank holiday, closing down all financial institutions at the height of the Depression.
She had already established herself as one of the most successful actresses of all time, won an Academy Award for her first "talkie," Coquette, and went on to receive an honorary Oscar for her contribution to motion pictures in 1976. Pickford was also an early leader in the film preservation movement and an ardent supporter of creating a museum devoted to the art of moviemaking, as well as a philanthropist.
Today, the Mary Pickford Foundation actively cooperates with film archives worldwide on joint preservation projects, implements educational outreach programs in universities nationwide, and works to bring restored and rare films to new audiences in theaters throughout the world. The Foundation is also partnering with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to support the Academy's planned museum and has established an annual Mary Pickford Celebration of Silent Film. In addition, the Foundation continues to add material to the Mary Pickford Collection at the Academy's Margaret Herrick Library where they are working to professionally digitize documents, scrapbooks and photographs for future generations to study.
Throughout her life, Mary Pickford was committed to hands-on philanthropy and her Foundation continues to promote that philosophy by using the power of its people and other assets to make social change. For example, the Foundation has initiated and manages a number of charitable projects.
Co-presenting the event is the organization Seeking Our Story. This group of filmmakers and film enthusiasts seek education and inspiration through viewing and discussing films made by women. They currently present one film a month, each highlighting a different women director and exemplifying their influence on film history.
- Cari Beauchamp