YANOMAMÖ FILMS PRESERVATION CAMPAIGN
DER has been awarded a matching grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation to preserve and remaster 9 classic 16mm films from the Yanomamö Series!
In 1968 and again in 1971, ethnographic filmmaker Timothy Asch and anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon formed a unique collaboration to document the Yanomami, an indigenous community living in the Amazon River Basin. The resulting Yanomamö Films Series was a groundbreaking ethnographic media project consisting of 21 finished films that expanded the boundaries of documentary.
We’ve selected a mix of Asch’s innovative short “sequence films,” and films about myth and fieldwork to focus on in this round of preservation (The Ax Fight was restored and preserved in 2001). All of the selected films are in regular demand for teaching and screenings around the world.
- A Man Called “Bee” (40 min, 1974) Tim Asch’s documentation of Napoleon Chagnon’s fieldwork among the Yanomami.
- Magical Death (29 min, 1973) documentation of Yanomami shamanism.
- A Father Washes His Children (15 min, 1974) observational study of a Yanomami headman.
- Moonblood: A Yanomamö Creation Myth (14 min, 1976) exploration of Yanomami mythology.
- Weeding the Garden (14 min, 1974) documentation of everyday Yanomami life.
- Climbing the Peach Palm (9 min, 1974) observational study of Yanomami tool use.
- A Man and His Wife Make a Hammock (12 min, 1975) observational study of Yanomami daily life and crafts.
- Arrow Game (10 min, 1974) documentation of Yanomami children’s games.
- Children’s Magical Death (7 min, 1974) Yanomami children imitating their shaman fathers.
For this project, we’re partnering with the Smithsonian’s National Anthropological Archive, the archival repository for the edited Yanomamö Films and their “outtake” footage. Over the past twenty years, the Smithsonian has cared for these materials; this is the best long term home for our films. Once the new masters are created, they’ll go straight into archival, subzero film storage and a copy of the digital files will go into a secure digital asset management system.
The Yanomamö Films Series was one of DER’s two founding collections, and was produced, edited, and distributed all in-house. We are proud to continue to be the caretakers of these innovative pieces of documentary history. We hope you will join us now in ensuring these films will be available to educate, debate, and inspire for another fifty years!
Here is a short video demonstration of the preservation work in progress:
Thank You to All Our Donors!
In 2017, we successfully raised matching funds to enable us to do preservation work on nine Yanomamo films made by Tim Asch and Napoleon Chagnon. That lab work is underway. A heartfelt thanks to all the donors who made our Fall/Winter 2017 Yanomamo Preservation Project fundraising a success.
The following individuals and groups made significant donations enabling them to complete the preservation funding needed for an individual film. Watch for their names in the film preservation credits! Thank you to our Adopt-A-Film Donors!
Arrow Game Emilie de Brigard
Weeding the Garden Sue Marshall Cabezas
A Man Called Bee Robert Lemelson
Climbing the Peach Palm Peter Dow
Magical Death M.A. Visual Anthropology (MAVA), University of Southern California
A Man and His Wife Make a Hammock Documentary Arts and Ethnographic Research (DAER), Temple University: Matthew Durington, Kerim Friedman, Kijung Lee, Jay Ruby, Stephanie Takaragawa
A Father Washes His Children Culture and Media Program, New York University: Alice Apley, Amahl Bishara, Chris Boebel and Christine Walley, Robert Chang, Elaine Charnov, Ximena A. Cuenca, Beth Epstein. Cheryl Furjanic & Will Sweeney, Faye Ginsburg, Brian Larkin and Meg McLagen, Katie Leary, Jason Price, Bambi B. Schieffelin, Sarah Teitler, Deborah Thomas, Pegi Vail
Children’s Magical Death Friends and Alumni of the M.A. Visual Anthropology (MAVA), University of Southern California: Ilisa Barbash, Brittany V. Gates, Wilton Martinez, Nicole Miyahara, Amy Murphy, Nick Rothenberg, Stacy Rowe, Sabrina Skau, Karin Stellwagen, Lucian Taylor, Andy Wilson
It Takes A Village
And a special thank you to our individual donors as well for their generous support.
Athens Ethnographic Film Festival
Jordyn Bonds & Joel Roston
Jennifer Leong Cardwell
Austin de Besche
Rita Di Gioia
Taylor Dunne & Eric Stewart
Edward (Ned) Dwyer
R. Brian Ferguson
Harriet Gordon & Peter Getzels
Brittany Gravely & Ken Linehan
Joanne S. Luciano
Marsh Ross McElwee
Molly Dog Films
Joan Kathryn O’Donnell
David Plath Susan Porter
Ted Sitting Crow Garner
Ivo Strecker & Jean Lydall
Rich Van Meter
Luveen Rupchand Wadhwani
MORE WORK TO DO!
The preservation and remastering of these and other films is on-going. We need your support. Please consider a donation to DER to allow us to continue this work. And we’d love to talk to you about additional Adopt-A-Film opportunities.