Last night at The Standard Hotel in the village, filmmakers, archivists, preservationists, film enthusiasts and other wonderful eccentrics gathered in the Highline Room and Terrace for Anthology Film Archives Film Preservation Honors and Benefit. I must say they know how to throw a party from performances by Angela McCluskey with Kraig Jarret Johnson, Paul Cantelon and Joseph Arthur, as well as Bush Tetras, to the evening's prestigious honorees, it was a real New York City event, complete with an amazing sunset backdrop over the Hudson. This year's honors went to the Women's Film Preservation Fund (full disclosure, I'm a proud WFPF committee member!), Richard Peña and Cinetech for their significant work in film preservation.
The evening began with Angela McCluskey belting her moody compositions holding the audience's gaze, followed by a screening (via film, not video!) and award acceptance. Richard Peña graciously accepted his award with family members in attendance. Cinetech's founder made a terrific speech on his passion for film and how he started his small company that is now a major player in film preservation. Filmmaker Sara Driver introduced Terry Lawler, Executive Director at New York Women in Film and Television (NYWIFT) and WFPF committee member, who accepted the award for the fund. Driver's film You Are Not I was preserved by WFPF and the newly restored version was screened at 2011's New York Film Festival and later through a retrospective of Driver's works at Anthology Film Archives (see great NY Times article here). Of course I'm biased, but Lawler's acceptance was particularly special not just because of the honor but she mentioned the fund's founder and independent producer Barbara Moss (who was also in attendance) and her mother, producer Vivian Moss, who were both there to enjoy the much deserved praise. WFPF screened a one minute promo showcasing a sample of films that have been preserved. The films ranged from silent era works to contemporary. Nice editorial work by committee member and editor Suzanne Pancrazi.
It was a fun night. Bush Tetras closed with some raucous tunes. It was really wonderful to see women filmmakers, preservationists and supporters of women made films celebrated properly (along with Richard Peña and Cinetech. They are, of course, both film comrades). And again, it's nice how Lawler included WFPF founder, Barbara Moss and her mother, Vivian Moss, in the acceptance speech. If it weren't for Barbara, this important fund wouldn't exist and if it weren't for her mother there would be less women in our industry making history. Shameless plug: To find out more about NYWIFT's Women's Film Preservation Fund, click here.