A/CA collaborator Haidee Wasson just won the SCMS Katherine Singer Kovács Book Award for Everyday Movies: Portable Film Projectors and the Transformation of American Culture (University of California Press, 2020)!
Everyday Movies documents the twentieth-century rise of portable film projectors. It demonstrates that since World War II, the vast majority of movie-watching did not happen in the glow of the large screen but rather took place alongside the glitches, distortions, and clickety-clack of small machines that transformed home, classroom, museum, community, government, industrial, and military venues into sites of moving-image display. Reorienting the history of cinema away from the magic of the movie theater, Haidee Wasson illustrates the remarkable persistence and proliferation of devices that fundamentally rejected the sleek, highly professionalized film show. She foregrounds instead another kind of apparatus, one that was accessible, affordable, adaptable, easy to use, and crucially, programmable. Revealing rich archival discoveries, this book charts a compelling and original history of film that brings to light new technologies and diverse forms of media engagement that continue to shape contemporary life.
A/CA student Kyla Smith wins third place in the SCMS Student Writing Award for her paper "Showtime for American Business: General Motors and American Look"!
The Chevrolet-General Motors sponsored film American Look (1958) harnessed technologies of Hollywood spectacle to be bigger and bolder many sponsored films before it. More than sell a car, the film engaged its viewers with an exhibition of General Motors’ corporate persona and dedication to the rhetoric of “Good Design” on a grand scale in a Technicolor, widescreen sponsored epic. Locating my analysis within the cultural and geopolitical context of the Cold War era, in this paper I argue that American Look expands current rubrics for understanding sponsored and industrial films. (90)