IU Libraries Film Archive’s film series to screen at Indy brewery

Guest post courtesy of IU Newsroom colleague Jaclyn Lansbery:

While determining social popularity and preventing forest fires might be thought of as things learned through experience or common sense, such topics were often explored through “social guidance films” shown in the classrooms of days gone by.

The Indiana University Libraries Film Archive is home to more than 48,000 such social guidance and educational films. IU was one of the major university-based distributors of such films from the 1930s through the 1990s, and remains one of the few distributors that keeps and preserves them, according to archive director Rachael Stoeltje.

Now, the archive is partnering with Indianapolis brewery Flat 12 Bierwerks to screen some of those films in an event dubbed “Retro Reel to Reel,” from 7 to 9 p.m. March 13 at the brewery, 414 N. Dorman St.

Date Etiquette

A screenshot from the social guidance short “Date Etiquette,” part of the IU Libraries Film Archive.

The event is the first outside the archive’s regular “Social Guidance Sundays” film series at Bloomington’s Bishop Bar. Begun in May 2013 as an effort to showcase the historical collection to a broader audience, the series is curated by four graduate students. Each screening usually features a unique theme, such as “Pills and Thrills” or “Female Troubles,” while the Indy event will feature the best films from previous series.

There’s even a special drink for the occasion — Flat 12 collaborated with Black Acre Brewing Co. to debut a new retro beer called Crap Shoot. Based on a Kentucky Common style beer, the beverage was created by randomly rolling a pair of dice to select the ingredients.

IU graduate student Jay McClurg, who helps curate films for the series, said he’d been trying to find Indianapolis venues for some time without much luck. Then, he stumbled on Flat 12, which already hosted a monthly film series called “Reel to Reel,” giving local and indie filmmakers the opportunity to screen their latest work.

Being able to show IU’s wide collection of social guidance films allows people to see some of the archive’s important collections outside an academic setting, he said.

“Many of these films also have unintentional entertainment value due to outdated production values and content that is out of sync with modern social norms,” McClurg told Art at IU via email. “In the end, though, they are great historical documents.”

Planning to attend the Indy event? Be sure to keep an eye out for the 1985 short, “Drinking and Thinking.” Filmed at IU, the film asks viewers what actions and behaviors are appropriate at a party. Also on the agenda is 1973 short “The Busters,” which was filmed in cooperation with the Indianapolis State police and features several locations around Indianapolis.

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