The Colour Fantastic: Chromatic Worlds of Silent Cinema, EYE Film Institute

The Colour Fantastic conference from 29 to 31 March provides a stimulating environment for specialists from across different disciplines to raise contemporary archival and academic debates around colour in the silent film era. Exploring archival restoration issues, colour film technology, colour theory, experimental film and intermediality in the silent film era, Colour Fantastic will contain more than 35 varied presentations by academics and film specialists from archives, museums and cultural institutions all around the world.

The keynote speakers will include Peter Delpeut, Dutch filmmaker and writer who directed the Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival workshop in 2003 and produced films Lyrical Nitrate and Diva Dolorosa, comprised of archival found footage. There will also be Professor Tom Gunning (University of Chicago) who has written extensively on early cinema and the culture of modernity from which cinema arose, and Vanessa Toulmin (National Fairground Archive/University of Sheffield) who is a leading authority on Victorian and Edwardian entertainment, having also extensively researched travelling show people.

As well as inspiring talks, the conference will incorporate screenings of restored and rarely seen films such as a digital restoration of the pacifist film Maudite soit la guerre (1914), made in Belgium by Alfred Machin. This new version is mainly based on an early coloured nitrate print, spliced together with a few black and white scenes discovered in Belgium and France.

Found footage film, Lyrical Nitrate, has been made as a tribute to the pre-1915 filmmaking by Peter Delpeut and is compiled from many scenes of dramatic nitrate decay. When the Earth Trembled (USA, Barry O’Neill, 1913) is a fiction piece which will be premiered at the conference, and is based on the real life San Francisco earthquake of 1906. A new restoration, it combines the best images from 3 different sources, held by MoMA, the BFI and a tinted nitrate print with Dutch intertitles.

The Colour Fantastic: Chromatic Worlds of Silent Cinema, 29-31 March, EYE Film Institute, IJpromenade 1, 1031 KT Amsterdam, Netherlands. For more information visit

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