The American Federation of Arts has received a $200,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in support of a traveling exhibition titled "The Birth of Hollywood: Early Features 1913 to 1918."
The exhibition is a follow-up to "Before Hollywood: Turn-of-the-Century Film From American Archives," which was presented by the non-profit visual-arts program and service organization in 1987.The "Birth of Hollywood" project is to be completed in 1993, the 100th anniversary of what is regarded as the first film studio in the United States, built by Thomas Edison in West Orange, N.J.
The exhibition is to provide restoration and circulation of early works by directors who were famous for their later films, like Frank Borzage, Cecil B. DeMille, John Ford, Thomas H. Ince and Raoul Walsh. The exhibition will also introduce audiences to such accomplished but now virtually unknown directors as John Collins, John Emerson, Marshall Neiland and Lois Webber.
The years covered by the exhibition saw a revolution in American cinema, with the introduction of feature films that replaced 8- to 15-minute shorts.
"The Birth of Hollywood," a 12-part, 20-hour series, will begin with a six-site tour of 35-millimeter prints, said Sam McElfresh, the director of the media arts department of the American Federation of Arts.
This tour of cities yet to be determined is to be followed by a nationwide tour of 16-millimeter prints.
The exhibition is to be accompanied by a wall-mounted photo essay to illuminate the history of filmmaking from 1913 to 1918.
The American Federation of Arts says it intends to raise the $600,000 required to match the NEA grant from private sources.