Volume 3, Number 6
1st Quarter 2003
Director's Cut
WHO KNEW that when a group of volunteers started the Alaska Moving Image Preservation Association 11 years ago that we were heading into uncharted territory. That's exactly where we are today as regional archives around the country are watching AMIPA as it implements the Voices & Images of Alaska (VIA) project. Our task is huge, and we only have one chance to get it done. But if the enthusiasm and energy I have witnessed so far is any indication, Alaska is blazing a path that other states may try to model in the future.
Nowhere in the country is there a richer history and culture worth preserving than here in Alaska. Film and video of the last centur century has documented what life was like in The Last Frontier, but all of that is threatened to be lost as footage ages and the funds to care for it diminish. The VIA project, funded in part by a major grant from Save America's Treasures, gives AMIPA and other Alaska institutions and organizations hope that these valuable resources can be saved for generations to come.
The VIA project allows us to take the first necessary step: education, inventory and assessment. In the next few months, we hope to identify any and all culturally and historically important video, film and audio collections that exist within the state. We'll also do some detective work to determine important collections located outside of Alaska. We'll determine what condition these collections are in, and what needs to be done to get to the next step: preservation.
Our ultimate goal is to allow public access to all of this important documentation. When we first embarked on this adventure, we didn didn't know Alaska was pioneering unfamiliar territory. We saw a need to save historical footage, while many others had yet to realize the value. AMIPA cannot take on this lofty goal alone. It will take a team effort - from volunteers, to caretakers, to funders and those involved in creating the rich film and video history Alaska has today. After so many years of struggling and fighting to create the support for this mission, it's exciting (and a little scary) to begin the first phase of this project. We'll need each of you along the way.
Francine Lastufka Taylor
Francine Lastufka Taylor is co-founder and executive director of AMIPA. She is the keeper of the long-term vision for the organization and has concentrated on building the infrastructure and systems to expand AMIPA's staff over the last year. Prior to joining AMIPA, Francine worked as an award-winning documentary television producer. Her career also includes stints as a musician, performer and a weekly newspaper columnist.
BOB CURTIS-JOHNSON - "Troubleshooter"
Like many people involved with AMIPA, Bob Curtis-Johnson first learned of the organization when Francine, Bob's landlord at the time, asked him to volunteer his expertise on a project. His volunteer status led to a seat on the AMIPA board in 1996. As AMIPA's Technical Director, Bob oversees much of the day-to-day operations, often focusing on the technical infrastructure and overall finances. Bob moved to Alaska in 1981 to attend UAA, then held video editing jobs at KTVA Channel 11, Image Productions (later Videoplex) and with editing facilities in Boston and northern Virginia. He returned to Alaska in 1993 freelancing for his own company, Summit Day. In 1995 Bob became a founding partner in Sprocketheads, then started with AMIPA in 1998. He also enjoys making short movies as the founder of "Bob's Shorts" movie group, fishing, skiing and advising a youth group at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. Bob's wife, Kathy, is attending nursing school and they have a 10-year-old daughter, Makenzie.
PETER SHEFFER - "Film Janitor"
Peter Sheffer began working at AMIPA in 2000 through an internship program at Alaska Pacific University. He joined the staff as Archivist a year later. Peter's responsibilities include handling stock footage requests, coordinating the dubbing and cataloging of new acquisitions and researching Alaska collections. An accomplished musician, Peter also makes movies, and is in completion on his first feature-length film "Bedlam by the Moonlight." His parents are ministers who took him as a child to a variety of locations including Missouri, Alabama and eventually, Trapper Creek, Alaska. Peter views his job as "the purest job you can have in the film market."
KEVIN TRIPP - "Film Detective"
Kevin Tripp joined AMIPA in April 2002 as an Archivist. He was raised in Western Washington and spent more than a decade in Bellingham, Washington, working for the International Society for Optical Engineering. At AMIPA, Kevin's biggest challenge is to help the organization develop a collection level catalog for the VIA project (see page three). So far, Kevin has been instrumental in researching options for database software and developing a first-phase data collection questionnaire. Kevin also was the main coordinator for VIA 2002, AMIPA's media preservation conference. Kevin is a self-described "movie geek" and was on the founding board of a successful independent film venue in Bellingham. He holds bachelors and masters degrees in sociology/demography, and a certification in archives and records management. His wife, Susan Anderson, is President and CEO of The CIRI Foundation.
VIA: Voices and Images of Alaska
VIA-Voices and Images of Alaska is AMIPA's long-term strategy to identify and protect Alaska's culturally and historically valuable film, video and audio collections-the initial phase of which is a $1 million inventory and assessment project. Latin for "the way," VIA is an appropriate name for the journey AMIPA has begun.
A statewide advisory committee has been formed to help guide the project, including Alaskans ranging from Barrow to Juneau. The VIA Advisory Committee is comprised of caretakers of collections from broadcast stations, state institutions, the University of Alaska, historians and others-all individuals who are as concerned as we are about saving the state's collections.
"The more I have learned about the importance of saving Alaska's historic collections, the more interested I become in finding a solution,"said Mike Martz of KYUK in Bethel, and a member of the VIA Advisory Committee. "We have more than 4,000 tapes here in Bethel including news stories, news programs, documentaries, promotions and public service announcements, public affairs programming and a feature magazine show in both English and Yupik. Nearly everything is the only copy and much of it is really important to save."
Because Alaska's video and film collections are so varied in content, each with its own unique issues, the Advisory Committee will play an important role helping AMIPA identify as many of the historically valuable media collections in the state as possible. The Committee has already come to the conclusion that preservation needs across the state will vary greatly, with some organizations needing little or no training, and others needing a significant amount of assistance.
VIA archivist Kevin Tripp is compiling a database of individuals and organizations that might have collections. "We are throwing a wide net of inquiry to help insure we find the important ones. We're really trying to identify all the important collections, so we can start working with their caretakers on the inventory and assessment," said Tripp.
We're already busy on a variety of fronts to begin the inventory phase of the VIA project. AMIPA has redesigned its space to accommodate extra staff for the VIA project. We've drawn-and redrawn -plans, researched work patterns and looked at technological and workstation needs. That meant out with the old Salvation Army surplus furniture and in with more space-efficient, contemporary office furniture. It's a tight squeeze, but we're making it work.
Fundraising continues to be an ongoing certainty in our lives. AMIPA is looking for approximately $300,000 more to match the $500,000 from the Save America's Treasures grant (see article at right). Handling a $1 million project has meant researching and creating a more solid infrastructure for the organization. This work has included transferring our financial accounting to Cook Inlet Tribal Council (CITC) Shared Services and researching, installing and learning how to use new computer software and telecommunications systems.
Education is another major goal of the VIA project. Our two-day conference, VIA 2002: Sharing the Knowledge, Sharing the Tools was held October 28 and 29 in Anchorage. The conference included workshops, panels and presentations designed to teach skills and give people the tools and knowledge to work on their collections. AMIPA staff and experts in the field from inside and outside Alaska were presenters. While the immediate goal was specific to the VIA project, the knowledge gained from the conference and the overall VIA project helped collection curators rise to a new level of understanding of how to take care of the state's media heritage.
Once we have the information about collections in Alaska, a database will be compiled that can be shared with the University of Alaska and the State Library, as well as regional and national online "gateway" projects. Those who don't want information about their collections to go public can choose to keep their information private. VIA's goal is to catalogue important collections, with an eye towards their preservation-not to make decisions about who has access. In late 2003 or early 2004 we hope to begin the next phase of VIA-taking steps to insure that these materials have adequate storage and care to maintain them into the next decade.
  • Fannie Akpik
    Ilisagvik College, Barrow
  • Gaylin Fuller
    North Star Borough School District, Fairbanks
  • Mike Martz
    KYUK, Bethel
  • Alexandra J. McClanahan
    Cook Inlet Region, Inc., Anchorage
  • Allison McLain
    Aleutian-Pribilof Islands Association, Inc., Anchorage
  • Steve Rollins
    UAA-APU Consortium Library, Anchorage
  • Kay Shelton
    Alaska State Library, Juneau
  • Stephanie Stevens
    National Park Service, Anchorage
  • Dirk Tordoff
    Alaska Film Archives, Rasmuson Library, UAF, Fairbanks
  • John Tracy
    KTUU-TV, Anchorage
Matching Our Good Fortune
With the award of a $500,000 Save America's Treasures matching grant, AMIPA has to meet a huge challenge-raising $500,000 from non-federal sources during the next two years. The grant allows $95,342 expended toward the project in 2001 (while the request was under review by the National Park Service) to be applied toward the match, as well as $50,000 secured this year through the Alaska State Legislature and $30,000 donated by the Municipality of Anchorage.
With in-kind services and other funding, approximately $300,000 needs to be raised through cash donations or in-kind services. Grant requests or letters of interest have been submitted to a variety of sources including the Paul G. Allen Foundations, Quest for Truth Foundation, Newman's Own Foundation, Wells Fargo Bank and the Rasmuson Foundation.
To find out how you can help with fundraising for the VIA project, contact AMIPA Executive Director Francine Lastufka Taylor at 279-8433.
Outreach & Education Committee
Board member Dr. Susan LaGrande is chairing the Outreach and Education Committee, which is working to educate all Alaskans about the need for preservation of Alaska's cultural and historical heritage documented on film, audio or video tape. Other committee members include Janelle Cowan, Pat Hackley, Linda Robinson, Dolores and Gene Roguszka, Laura Tarter and Claire Wipperman. The committee currently meets once a month to work on activities such as workshops and screenings. Members who attended the Annual Membership Meeting in September 2001 will recall the historic Anchorage bus tour with narration and video clips, which was the premiere run for "The Greatland History Bus," generously sponsored by Holland America Tours. The Committee hopes to improve the bus tour to create an educational experience that schools may be able to use as a "virtual tour" of Alaska and Anchorage's rich history.
If you are interested in serving on this committee, please contact AMIPA at 279-8433. You need not reside in Anchorage. In fact, we welcome members and others from throughout Alaska to share their time and talent to help us reach outlying communities with our message of preservation.
Politics of the Past
Last October 18, in Anchorage's historic 4th Avenue Theater, AMIPA presented "Politics of the Past," a fundraising event featuring a screening of the best, the funniest, the most unique and important political spots and programs in Alaska's history. Note that there will be another screening of this popular program on April 19, 2003, in Juneau's Centennial Hall. VHS copies of the program are available for $15; contact AMIPA for details. All proceeds from these events and the sales of the video benefit AMIPA.
Board of Directors Changes
Thanks to Walter Parker, President, and Laura Bliss Spaan, Secretary, for their years of service as officers on AMIPA's Board of Directors. At the Board retreat, held April 30, Steven C. Levi was elected President, Peter Partnow Vice-President, and Susan LaGrande, Secretary. Ben Brown and Tom Begich were both appointed at the August Board meeting. Congratulations to our new Directors and Officers.
A great big thanks! to AMIPA volunteers Sheila and Theresa McSherry, 13-year-old twin sisters, (and their mother, Cecelia) for answering our call for volunteers and donating over 20 hours of work this summer. Here, they pack tubes from the WWII-era KFAR radio transmitter. The tubes were donated to AMIPA by engineer Paul Jewusiak of Anchorage Media Group.
Thanks to Our Supporters
The following people and organizations elect the Board of Directors and make our association possible. Please join us and help preserve Alaska's moving image heritage.
Platinum Level ($5,000 & above):
Alaska Broadcasters Association
Municipality of Anchorage
Save America's Treasures
State of Alaska
Robert & Virginia Walp
Gold Level ($2,500 - $4,999):
Spiral Design Studio
Porcaro Communications
Silver Level ($1,000 - $2,499):
Alaska Humanities Forum
Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association
The CIRI Foundation
Wells Fargo Bank Alaska
AES-Alaska Executive Search, Inc.
Jonathon Butzke
Talking Circle Media
Academy Level ($500 - $999):
Alaska Media Directory
The Begich Apartments
Alyeska Pipeline Service Company
Nick Begich Scholarship Intern Fund
Thomas Begich
Calista Corporation
Doyon, Ltd.
Susan Gamache
Barnard Gottstein
Augie Hiebert
Steven C. Levi
The Nerland Agency
John Miller
Walt Parker
Peter Partnow
Jim & Flo Rooney
Senator Ted & Catherine Stevens
Francine Lastufka Taylor
Lowell & Tay Thomas Jr.
Benefactor ($250 - $499):
Susan LaGrande
Gloria McCutcheon
Michele Miller
C. Vincent Shortt
Donelle Thompson
Donor ($100 - $249):
Baker Jennings Films
Sarah Barton
Laura Bliss Spaan & Mike Spaan
Chuck Blomfield
David Bogart
Ben Brown
Helen Butcher
The Curtis-Johnson Family
Gerald & Beverly Dubie
Mike & Evie Dunham
Stephen Gong
Lucy Groh
Karl Gurcke
Dave Harbour
Stephen Haycox
Sam Kito
Patrick Landry
AJ McClanahan
Colleen McDonald
Susan & Ted Parsons III
John & Carolyn Rader
Millie & Robert Renkert
John & Lucille Rense
The Frances & David Rose Foundation
Marie Schave
Patrick & Marcella Sharrock
Jeff & Mary Silverman
Phil & Deborah Smith
Thomas & Jane Stewart
Kevin Tripp & Susan Anderson
Catherine Weimer
W.J. Wellenstein
Vicki Wilson
Blair & Mary Wondzell
Kathy Young
Family ($50 - $99):
Maureen & Stewart Aull
Candace Beery
Mark Begich
Sylvia Broady
Allison Browne
Deanna Clasby
Ralph Courtney
Janelle & Glenn Cowan
Ronald & Jonna Daugherty
Bob Ely
Robert & Alicia Iden
Bob Jenkins
Barbara Karl
Chris & Jim Kemper
Tony & Mary Jane Lastufka
Nancy Mathey
Jane Meacham
Jim, Debbie & Kelly McCormack
Jacqueline Musgrave
Lisa Parker & Steve Horn
Ford & Karen Reeves
Chris & Linda Robinson
Jack & Martha Roderick
Jeanne Schaaf & Robert Werner
Brock & Janice Shamberg
John Strohmeyer
Arliss Sturgulewski
Fay & Pat Von Gemmingen
Joan Walker
Robert & Judy Weimer
Dorothy & John Zappa
Individual ($35 - $49):
William Bacon III
John Benson & Sally Bentley
Linda Billington
Phyllis Brown
Cordova Historical Society
Arthur Curtis
Bonnie Curtis
Allen Davis III
Elisa Fleener
Jill Galbraith
Barbara Garner
Christine Gill
Jan Ingram & Rick Goodfellow
Roz Goodman
Larue Hellenthal
Dianne Holmes
Lorie Kirker
Anne Landrum
Billijo Link
Shirley Marpe
John McKay
Frank Norris
Sioux Plummer
Nina Prockish
Brita Rice
Don Rinker
Gene & Dolores Roguszka
Deborah Schildt
Kay Shelton
Cathy Sherman
Kelly Stearns & Sean Edwards
Helen Strusz
Student/Senior ($20 - $34):
Daisy Lee Bitter
Pamela Eldridge
Jean Graves
Sylvia Johnson
Molly McCoy
Brian Meacham
Sylvia Short
Bob Wienhold
If your name has been inadvertantly left off this list, we apologize. Please call 907-279-8433 and we'll make it right.