Library Leads Hunt for Mostly Lost Films

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Thu, 05/19/2016 - 12:35 -- Nick Dager

The Library of Congress is once again providing a unique opportunity for film scholars and archivists to play cinematic detective by participating in its free Mostly Lost workshop.  The case is solving riddles and finding clues to the identity of unidentified, under-identified or misidentified silent and early sound films.  The scene is the state-of-the-art theater at the Packard Campus in Culpeper, Virginia, and the date is Thursday, June 16, through Saturday, June 18.

The fifth in an ongoing series, Mostly Lost will tap the collective knowledge of the participants to obtain as much information as possible about the unknown or little-known films. During the screenings, attendees are encouraged to talk in the theater, calling out names of actors, locations, car models, production companies or anything else they recognize about each film.

All genres of films will be shown, including comedies, dramas and actuality films. Philip Carli, Ben Model and Andrew Simpson will provide live musical accompaniment during the workshop and the evening presentations of newly preserved silent films.

The workshop will feature unidentified films from the Library’s collections as well as from other archives, including the Royal Film Archive of Belgium, George Eastman Museum, Lobster Film Archive and the Museum of Modern Art.

Of the possible 125 titles screened at the workshop in 2015, 33 films—26 percent—were identified during the event. Through further research conducted after the workshop, an additional 25 titles have been identified in conjunction with the Association of Moving Image Archivists Nitrate Committee’s Flickr page. 

Daytime events are open only to registered workshop participants.  Register for the workshop at  The deadline for registration is Wednesday, June 1.  For more information, email [email protected]

The evening screenings on June 16 and June 17 at the Packard Campus are free, but the June 18 screening at the State Theatre in Culpeper has a $10 admission charge. All evening screenings are open to the general public.  In case of inclement weather, call the theater reservation line no more than three hours before show time to verify status.

For further information on the theater and film schedule