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A Centenary Celebration of the Inexhaustible Inspiration of Orson Welles 

Maverick filmmaker and actor Orson Welles, director of what many consider the greatest film of all time, Citizen Kane, is the subject of this symposium in celebration of his centenary. Family members and colleagues, scholars, archivists and students come together to discuss his lasting impact and showcase the five Welles archive collections housed at the U-M Library in Special Collections.

Symposium Schedule

Monday, June 8

1:00 p.m. -- Introductory and Opening Remarks

Introductory remarks by FTVM Associate Professor Matthew Solomon, whose direction of the students in FTVM 330 culminated in the Orson Welles: Beyond the Canon and into the Archives exhibit. Opening remarks by Catherine Benamou, Associate Professor in Film and Media Studies at University of California, Irvine, who was instrumental in the acquisition of various Welles materials by U-M Library.

1:30 p.m. -- Donors & the Archive: Christopher Wilson

Christopher Wilson, who donated his father's, Richard Wilson's, papers to U-M, will discuss his father's longtime friendship and professional relationship with Welles and his own relationship with his father. FTVM alumni A. Brad Schwartz and Vincent Longo will moderate this session.

3:00 p.m. -- Donors & the Archive: Oja Kodar

Oja Kodar shares her memories of her life with Orson Welles and the importance of creating an archive dedicated to his work. Eliot Wilhelm, curator of film and video at the Detroit Institute of Arts, will moderate this session.

4:30 p.m. -- Rededication Ceremony

A celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Orson Welles-Oja Kodar Collection and the Richard Wilson-Orson Welles Collection

Tuesday, June 9

10:00 a.m. -- Scholarship & the Archive

This panel, consisting of two generations of scholars, presents work that originated from research done within the various Welles collections at U-M Library. FTVM Associate Professor Matthew Solomon will moderate this session. Panelists include Catherine Benamou, associate professor, University of California-Irvine; James Naremore, professor emeritus, Indiana University; A. Brad Schwartz, historian and author; and Vincent Longo, PhD student, U-M the Department of Film, Television, and Media.

2:30 p.m. -- Scholarship & the Archive

This panel discusses how the legacy of Orson Welles has been shaped in various media thirty years after his death. U-M Professor of English Language and Literature Lawrence Goldstein will moderate this session. Panelists include Chuck Workman, filmmaker; Jonathan Rosenbaum, critic and author; Stefan Droessler, curator, Munich Film Museum; Sidney Gottlieb, professor, Sacred Heart University; Filip Jan Rymsza, producer, restoration of The Other Side of the Wind; and Issa Clubb, producer, Criterion Collection (via Skype).



All films in conjunction with this symposium were screened at the Michigan Theater (as a part of the Cinetopia International Film Festival) unless otherwise indicated. 

Orson Welles: Beyond the Canon and Into the Archives Exhibition

April 29-September 16, 2015
Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library Gallery (Room 100) & Audubon Room

This student-researched exhibit, a project done in Matthew Solomon's FTVM 330 course, marks the centenary of Orson Welles -- one of America's greatest directors of film, theater, radio, and television -- and highlights letters, photographs, scripts, and production materials culled from the University of Michigan's extensive Orson Welles archives. 

Visitors may begin their exploration of Orson Welles by perusing the library lobby, wherein they will "meet the students" via the reflections they have penned detailing their varied experiences working within the archives; next, visitors enter the exhibition space, wherein they will be taken on a captivating visual and audial journey through the diverse professional achievements of Welles  coupled with the personal life stories that include his relationships with the people most significant to him; finally, visitors enter the gallery space, wherein they will conclude their tour by examining a unique collection of objects from the archives specifically selected by the students to showcase. The exhibition, as a whole, provides insight not often revealed -- and is a must for any Orson Welles fan. 

Too Much Johnson - A Staged Reading


Sunday, June 7, 2015 - 1:00 p.m.
Detroit Film Theater, DIA

The recent rediscovery of the film Orson Welles shot in 1938 for his stage production of Too Much Johnson was widely reported -- and generated considerable international enthusiasm. What was lost in the excitement of seeing Welles's "first" professionally produced film seventy-five years later, however, was the fact that this footage did not exactly constitute a film; rather, it was made to serve as a single component of a multimedia theatrical production. This event aims to return a part of this footage to resemble its original context by presenting it as Welles intended it -- as a screened prologue for a stage play accompanied by music.

To approximate this experience, the screening of the film footage that Welles himself shot for the prologue will be accompanied by narrated excerpts of the script and the music of U-M alumnus Frank Pahl and the Little Bang Theory -- featuring FTVM's Terri Sarris.  Recent FTVM alumnus and incoming PhD student Vincent Longo, who "rediscovered" Welles's original script, will be the narrator of the event and provide a brief historical introduction while several FTVM students, directed by FTVM's Mary Lou Chlipala, will participate in the reading of the script: Anne Marie Barry, Anna Baumgarten, Alexander Bernard, Ava (Emma) Burnham, Avery DiUbaldo,Michael Lopetrone, Nick Sheehan, and Riley Taggart. 


Thank you to the following groups for your generous support of this event: the FTVM Screenwriting Program; the College of LS&A; the Department of American Culture; the Department of English Language and Literature; the American Music Institute, the School of Music, Theater, & Dance; the Institute for the Humanities; Rackham Graduate School; and the University of Michigan Office of Research.