July 31--Educators from near and far will explore the Wild West on film at a special three-day seminar beginning Thursday at the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation on Mount Pony in Culpeper.
The Film Foundation, a nonprofit group co-founded by Martin Scorsese, hosts the special event, "The American West and the Western Film Genre," as part of its national Story of Movies program for teachers and students.
"The Library has a long and mutually beneficial relationship with the Film Foundation -- we've always had a representative on their Archivist Advisory Council and have preserved more than two dozen films with Foundation funding -- so the Packard Campus is pleased to host the workshop, which we see as part of our educational outreach mission as well," said Mike Mashon, head of the moving images section.
About 40 mostly local teachers, as well as those hailing from as far away as California and Canada, will participate in the free workshop on the Packard Campus. Pre-registration was required and the event is now completely booked.
"The American West" event will introduce educators to an interdisciplinary curriculum covering a critical period of American history (1860-1900) when the U.S. was forging an identity. It will include three days of dual screenings of old Westerns in the Packard Campus Theater, examining how filmmakers of the 20th century represented the era.
The idea is that participating teachers will take the knowledge they learn at the seminar as well as the free teaching materials back to the classroom. Movies are a door to knowledge -- of society, history and art, according to the American Film Foundation.
Morning workshop topics will cover The Myth of the American West, Standards of Justice in the American West and Industrialism, Nation Building, and the End of the American West.
Matinee movies shown as part of the event will screen at 2:30 with additional screenings each night at 7:30. All of the showings are open to the public. Reservations are recommended.
Thursday afternoon it's "Hell's Hinges" (Triangle, 1916) in the Packard Campus Theater followed by an evening screening of John Wayne in "The Big Trail" (Fox, 1930).
Friday's movie selections are "Stagecoach" (United Artists, 1939) at 2:30 and later, Henry Fonda in "My Darling Clementine" (20th Century Fox, 1946).
Saturday in the Packard Campus Theater watch a matinee of "Red River" (United Artists, 1948) followed by an evening show of the classic "Shane" (Paramount, 1953).
"Westerns have always been road maps that tell viewers more about the contemporary U.S. than about the country as it existed in the last half of the 19th century," R. Philip Loy wrote in his 2004 book, Westerns in a Changing America.
According to Film Foundation materials promoting the Culpeper seminar, educators should teach Western film in the classroom because it is an evolving and changing expression of different stages of American cultural history. Investigating the mythology of the Western allows students to interpret how Americans, as well as people from different countries, have viewed American political, social and economic values, according to the organization.
The Story of Movies was created by the Film Foundation in partnership with IBM and Turner Classic Movies. The program is free to middle schools nationwide and its materials can be accessed at storyofmovies.org.
"When I was a kid I thought movies just came from air," said Clint Eastwood in an online video promoting the program. "I thought they just appeared. The point that I realized someone was making the movies came a little later. I remember being shocked the first time I ever walked on a movie set and realized they weren't doing the whole movie from beginning to end."
Former program participant Jody Supula, a teacher at Bloomfield Middle School in New Jersey, said studying film is crucial for students because movies speak everyone's language.
"It's universal," she said. "A main point is to have students appreciate film as an art form and to also learn how to read a movie, not just sit there and passively watch it."
Free movies in August on Mount Pony
The Library of Congress Packard Campus in Culpeper will screen the following:
Thursday "Hell's Hinges" (Triangle, 1916), silent, 2:30 p.m.
Thursday "The Big Trail" (Fox, 1930)
Friday "Stagecoach" (United Artists, 1939), 2:30 p.m.
Friday "My Darling Clementine" (20th Century Fox, 1946)
Saturday "Red River" (United Artists, 1948), 2:30 p.m.
Saturday "Shane" (Paramount, 1953)
August 8 "Emperor Jones" (United Artists, 1933)
August 9 "Paths to Paradise" (Paramount, 1925), silent with live musical accompaniment
August 10 "Meatballs" (Paramount, 1979)
August 15 "Marjorie Morningstar" (Warner Bros., 1958)
August 16 SCIENCE FICTION DOUBLE FEATURE
"Space Amoeba" (Toho, 1970), in Japanese with English subtitles and "Kingdom of the Spiders" (Dimensions, 1977)
August 17 "The Parent Trap" (Disney, 1998), 2 p.m.
August 22 "Phantom of the Paradise" (20th Century Fox, 1974)
August 23 "Swept Away" (Cinema 5, 1974), Rated R
August 24 DOUBLE FEATURE
"Cry Baby" (Universal, 1990) and "Johnny Dangerously" (20th Century Fox, 1984)
August 29 "Hudson Hawk" (Tristar, 1991), Rated R
All movies are free and screen in the LOC Packard Campus Theater on Mount Pony Road in Culpeper. Movies show at 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Make reservations by calling (540) 827-1079 ext. 79994 or show up early to get on stand-by. Reservations will be held until 10 minutes before show time.
(c)2013 the Culpeper Star-Exponent (Culpeper, Va.)
Visit the Culpeper Star-Exponent (Culpeper, Va.) at www2.starexponent.com
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