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COLLECTION Identifier: hfa00008

Helen Hill Collection

Overview

This collection contains films made by Harvard alumnus Helen Hill (1970 – 2007) as well as films relating to her life. The collection consists of 16mm projection prints and preservation masters of 10 of her short films, which were preserved for the Harvard Film Archive by Colorlab in Rockville, MD; Super 8mm footage from Home Movie Day, which she attended in New Orleans in 2006, which has been preserved to 16mm internegative as well as transferred to Betacam-SP, Betacam Digital, and DVD; Super 8mm footage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina; Betacam-SP, Digitial Betacam (TM), and DVD copies of animations made by Helen for the Canadian television show $treet Cents, a VHS copy of Upperground Show, a 16mm production made for a Harvard Visual and Environmental Studies (VES) 153 class project, and Super 8mm home movies.

Dates

  • 1990-2006

Language of Materials

Material is in English.

Access Restrictions

Access by appointment only. Applications to consult this material should be directed to the staff of the Harvard Film Archive.

Film prints are made accessible by appointment only and in close consultation with HFA staff. Although films do not circulate for individual use, students, filmmakers, artists, and researchers are encouraged to use the collections on-site. If their condition allows, prints from the HFA collection may be viewed on a flatbed viewer at the HFA’s Conservation Center.

Use Restrictions

Reproduction and/or publication of materials subject to copyright requires written permission from a) the copyright owner, his/her heirs or assigns and from b) the Fine Arts Library, owner of the original material.

Extent

1 collection (32 16mm film prints, 12 Super 8mm film prints, 2 Betacam-SP tapes, 2 Digital Betacam (TM) tapes, 3 DVDs, and 1 VHS (TM) tape)
This collection contains films made by Harvard alumnus Helen Hill (1970 – 2007) as well as films relating to her life. The collection consists of 16mm projection prints and preservation masters of 10 of her short films, which were preserved for the Harvard Film Archive by Colorlab in Rockville, MD; Super 8mm footage from Home Movie Day, which she attended in New Orleans in 2006, which has been preserved to 16mm internegative as well as transferred to Betacam-SP, Betacam Digital, and DVD; Super 8mm footage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina; Betacam-SP, Digitial Betacam (TM), and DVD copies of animations made by Helen for the Canadian television show $treet Cents, a VHS copy of Upperground Show, a 16mm production made for a Harvard Visual and Environmental Studies (VES) 153 class project, and Super 8mm home movies.

Biography

Helen Hill (May 9, 1970 - January 4, 2007) was an experimental animator, filmmaker, educator, artist, writer, mother, and social activist who lived in New Orleans, Louisiana. A native of Columbia, South Carolina, Hill began creating short animated Super 8mm films at age eleven. She earned her B.S. at Harvard University in 1992. While majoring in English, she also minored in Visual and Environmental Studies, where she made the 16mm animated short Rain Dance as well as two other animated films. After receiving an MFA from California Institute of the Arts in Experimental Animation, Helen, along with her husband Paul Gailiunas, spent time in Canada, where she continued to create films and teach film animation at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (now NSCAD University) and at the Atlantic Filmmakers Cooperative (AFCOOP), before moving to New Orleans in 2000. In New Orleans she taught animation at the Video Access Center and with the New Orleans Film Collective. Her short films, including Bohemian Town (2004), Madame Winger Makes a Film: A Survival Guide for the 21st Century (2001), and Mouseholes (1999), have been screened at festivals around the world. Always inventive and personal, her films were created using a number of animation techniques, including cel animation, hand-drawn animation, painting on film, and stop-motion using three-dimensional puppets. She is also the author of a book called Recipes for Disaster, which is a compilation of filmmaker’s techniques for hand processing film.

Tragically, Helen Hill was murdered by a random intruder in her New Orleans home in the early morning of January 4, 2007, one of six murders in New Orleans in a single 24-hour period. She made 21 films in her short life. Several of her films were damaged or lost when her home was flooded during Hurricane Katrina, but the remainder survived and in an extraordinary collaboration between Helen’s family, the Harvard Film Archive, New York University’s Moving Image Archiving and Preservation Program, Colorlab, the Orphan Film Symposium, the University of South Carolina, and countless individuals, Helen Hill’s films, including shorts, animation, and home movies, were quickly organized and donated by Paul Gailiunas to the Harvard Film Archive in 2007. Shortly thereafter, guided by the coordination efforts of Dan Streible, ten of her films were preserved by Harvard and Colorlab. One title, Rain Dance, was preserved at Colorlab, under the direction of Bill Brand as an NYU MIAP project, and all were put back into distribution in late 2007.

Arrangement

Organized into the following series:
  1. I. Short Films
  2. II. Home Movies
  3. III. Other Works

Acquisition Information

Helen Hill’s films, including shorts, animation, and home movies, were donated by Paul Gailiunas to the Harvard Film Archive in 2007.

Processing Information

Encoded by: Miranda Nero, Amy Sloper, May 2011
Link to catalog
Title
Helen Hill Collection, 1990-2006 : Film Guide
Author
Harvard Film Archive, Fine Arts Library, Harvard College Library
EAD ID
hfa00008

Repository Details

Part of the Harvard Film Archive, Harvard Library, Harvard University Repository

Contact:
24 Quincy Street
Harvard University
Cambridge MA 02138 USA
(617) 496-6750