New York Premiere of the Academy Film Archive's Restoration of Jack Hill's SPIDER BABY
Filmmaker William Lustig to Host Opening Night
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the New York University Orphan Film Symposium will present this year’s installment of “The Real Indies: A Close Look At Orphan Films,” a two-day screening series on Friday, October 31, and Saturday, November 1, at the Academy Theater in New York City. The series serves as an opportunity to re-discover and re-appreciate orphan films – rarely seen, previously neglected cinematic works deserving preservation and revival. This eclectic showcase will open on Friday at 7:30 p.m. with the New York premiere of the newly restored 35mm print of the cult horror-comedy classic Spider Baby, written and directed by Jack Hill. Filmmaker William Lustig, known for his low-budget indie horror films, will introduce Hill and Spider Baby, as well moderate a conversation with Hill afterwards.
Filmed in 1964 but not released theatrically until 1968, Spider Baby marked director Hill’s solo debut. Cheekily subtitled “The Maddest Story Ever Told,” it follows three orphaned siblings suffering from a rare genetic disorder that causes them to regress, the narrator warns us, “to a pre-human condition of savagery and cannibalism.” Prior to the screening, a trailer reel from the Packard Humanities Institute Collection will highlight six other films written and directed by Jack Hill, including House of Evil (1968), Coffy (1973), and Switchblade Sisters (1975). Hill will introduce the film and participate in an onstage discussion following the debut of Spider Baby.
Saturday’s program will offer a full day of rediscovered and recently preserved orphan films, starting at 10:00a.m. Twenty speakers will treat attendees to an array of cinematic creations, more than twenty films, ranging from a minute to an hour in length. The films are organized into three sessions:
- Pioneering Women (10:00AM – 1:00PM) – Films by and about women: Aloha Wanderwell Baker’s world travels in the 1920s and 30s, the acclaimed 1980 documentary The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter, and the feminist Make Out (1970) from the radical Newsreel collective.
- Experimental Views (2:00PM – 4:00PM) – Expressive and personal experimental films that challenge the way we see the world: the late Standish Lawder’s Necrology (1970), Frank and Caroline Mouris’ hyperkinetic Coney (1975), Les Blank’s Running Around Like a Chicken with Its Head Cut Off (1960), Bill Morrison’s Outerborough (2005), and four handcrafted works, Esther Shatavsky’s collage Bedtime Story (1981), Lisa Crafts’ post-apocalyptic Glass Gardens (1982), Jeanne Liotta’s “erratic erotic” Blue Moon (1988), and Bill Brand’s Organic Afghan (1969 -- screening in public for the first time)
- Visions of New York (6:00PM – 10:00PM) - The Five Boroughs filmed across nine decades: Actors’ Fund Field Day at the Polo Grounds (1910); footage of the New York Giants 1917 World Series and an anarchist attack on Wall Street (1920); newsreel outtakes NYC Street Scenes and Noises (1929); Magic Carpet of Movietone Presents ‘Broadway by Day’ (1932); Oscar nominees Brooklyn, U.S.A. (1947) and 3rd Ave. El (Carson Davidson, 1955); Noel Black’s children’s telefilm Reflections (1967); Con Edison’s The Proud New Yorkers (1971); a trio from the Young Filmmakers Foundation, Life in New York (1969), Black Faces (1971), and Coney Island (1973); the 1974 featurette, The Making of Pelham One Two Three along with a previously shot video of Ed Koch introducing a 1994 Film Forum screening of The Taking of Pelham One Two Three; and the Oscar-winning claymation Sundae in New York (Jimmy Picker, 1983).
Distinguished orphan film advocates, including some of the filmmakers themselves, will introduce and provide insights into these unique cinematic works. Joining Jack Hill will be Oscar®-winning animators Jimmy Picker, Frank Mouris, and Caroline Mouris; Oscar-nominated documentarian Connie Field; veterans of the Young Filmmakers Foundation, Luis Vale, Steven Siegel, and Phil Buehler; and independent NYC artists Lisa Crafts, Jeanne Liotta, and Bill Morrison; Associate Curator in MoMA’s Film Department Ron Magliozzi; Director of Repertory Programming at Film Forum Bruce Goldstein; Archivist for the Reserve Film and Video Collection of The New York Public Library (Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center) Elena Rossi-Snook and Archivists from Anthology Film Archives Andrew Lampert and John Klacsmann; NYU MIAP Archivist Emily Nabasny and BB Optics Archivist Pamela Vízner.
“The Academy is excited to partner with the NYU Orphan Film Symposium and showcase the work of the Academy Film Archive. This program presents a great opportunity for these lost treasures to return to the big screen,” said Patrick Harrison, the Academy’s Director of New York Programs and Membership.
“NYU Cinema Studies is thrilled to partner again with the Academy, an organization that shares the Orphan Film Symposium’s mission to save, screen, and study an inspiring variety of films,” said Dan Streible, director of the Moving Image Archiving and Preservation Program at New York University.
“The Real Indies” celebrates the preservation work of those organizations providing its content: the Academy Film Archive, Anthology Film Archives, the Museum of Modern Art, the New York Public Library, New York Women in Film and Television, Film Forum, IndieCollect, the Library of Congress, the University of South Carolina Moving Image Research Collections, the Smithsonian Institution’s Human Studies Film Archives, and Library and Archives Canada.
Tickets for Friday’s opening night screening of Spider Baby are $5. Doors open at 6:30PM. Individual tickets for Saturday’s series will be priced at $5 per session. Doors open at 9:30AM. Tickets for the event can purchased online at oscars.org and at the Academy box office on October 31st and November 1st.
The Academy Theater is located at 111 East 59th Street in New York City.