Annual Report for 2021

Arthur Hall dressed for Carnival
Elizabeth Roberts costume
Elizabeth Roberts photo

2021 Annual Report

ILE IFE Films, Inc.
Ile Ife Arts
The Arthur Hall Collection

President's Report

The year was another of quiet isolation. Indeed, of all the videos on our Vimeo channels,
Abbott Meader's Isolation was the most popular, playing all over the world,
quite remarkable for a silent little film about a boy in a rowboat.

The Special Collections Research Center in the Temple University Libraries continues to
process the Arthur Hall Collection. All the original films and videotapes that had been
stored in the vaults of Northeast Historic Film have made their way to Philadelphia. The
collection's LTO tapes that had been languishing in a PNC safe deposit box while the SCRC
moved from the Paley to the Charles are finally where they should be, not without further
incident. FedEx lost the Power of Attorney and the box keys we sent to Nana Korantemaa.
We sent a new POA, scheduled a time to drill out the safe deposit lock - toil and trouble -
but in the end, Nana delivered the goods. Again, the LTO tapes hold all the films and
videos in the Arthur Hall Collection - large, uncompressed Preservation Masters,
representing many years of work and a large financial investment.

The "B" set of LTO tapes now at the SCRC. The "A" set remains in the vaults of Northeast Historic Film
in Bucksport, Maine, providing duplicate, geographically remote long term storage of
the digital Preservation Masters of the Arthur Hall Collection.

I've always thought the real art of filmmaking is in editing, filming being a necessary
step to provide material for the editor. Now, here are hundreds of hours of dance footage
available to editors in a "Creative Commons license (with attribution)," the question
being how to find what's there. On Vimeo, I have made a channel for edited pieces, a
channel for oral histories, and a channel for at least a few of the collections's camera
tapes and archival footage. Ile Ife Films can continue to tinker with Vimeo, but
the real question is how the Special Collections Research Center will make
the Arthur Hall Collection easily accessible and broadly available
in the future.

I also think the art of dance films is very complex. Arthur Hall always told me that the
highest art was the interaction of dancers and musicians before a live audience. At best,
the camera can capture just one of an infinite number of variations on a dance, a sliver
of that ancient art form, and once it is presented back, it has lost the spontaneity - the
spark - of live dancers and live musicians playing off one another. Is film, then, just a
pale shadow of the dance? A documentation that once there was art there?

That's a bit of a poem by my friend, the late Walter Easton, who made movies with my
friend Abbott Meader, a member of the Ile Ife Films board of directors, whose film
Isolation, as noted at the outset, was the most viewed video of 2021 among our several
Vimeo channels, no doubt because of a global sense of isolation during the pandemic.
Abbott's channel on Vimeo is here. The second most viewed was my film Lake Dynamics
and Human Impacts
, no doubt because of global warming. My channel is here. The third
most viewed in 2021 is Arthur Hall Obatala. It is the most viewed all-time over the past
many years. I worked hard on Arthur Hall Obatala, beginning in 1978. It has gone through
several iterations, all of them available in the Arthur Hall Collections, but the one now
posted on Vimeo is my best effort. Note that it is not a document of a single dance, but a
melding of many, to make an experience only possible through the magic of cinema,
a completely different experience than the experience of the high art of live dancers
and live musicians in live conversation.

Among the other Ile Ife videos, in order of popularity during 2021:

Ione Nash Interview - may she dance in the heavens

Ray Hartung's ILE IFE House of Love - the classic potrait of the
Afro-American Dance Ensemble in its first full bloom.

Dance Yanvallu - Arthur Hall in rehearsal with
Rita Cottman Johnson, followed by a composite performance.

Snake Dance Teacher Dance - Arthur Hall and Norman Mills conduct a
West African Festival in a small mill town in Maine (1977).
The U.S. State Department put the film in all our African Embassies.
We should have charged the government more money.

Ode to Yemanya - the dance straight through, as performed at Movement Theatre
International by Rita Cottman Johnson, Monzella Allen, and the late
Van Williams.

Arthur Hall in Mister Rogers' Neighborhood - in which Fred Rogers gives
an introduction to the continent of Africa, after which he taught Arthur Hall
how to quiet things down for smaller people in an audience.

Prince Twins Seven-Seven - clips of Twins Seven-Seven
drawn from the Arthur Hall Collection for screening at the Woodmere
Art Museum's exhibit Africa in the Arts of Philadelphia:
Bullock, Searles, and Twins Seven-Seven

Orisun Omi (The Well) - the town may change, but the well
remains the same. A portrait of a cultural exchange between
Philadelphia and Bahia in Brazil.

Odunde 1995 - put togethe for Lois Fernandez.
There were multiple cameras over several days.
Lots more footage available.

Marie Laveau Conjers Gris Gris - The opening number of Act Two of
Fat Tuesday and all that jazz! (1977) The entire Great Performances
broadcast has been restored and preserved by Ile Ife Films.

Moving the Arthur Hall Collection - gives some idea of the scale.

Jorge Preloran's The Unvictorious One - Army Signal Corps (ca. 1956)
Filmed in Germany. The original film is in the Preloran Collection
at the Smithsonian.

Bobby Artis Tribute Rehearsal - Great little film
in which the spirits come down.

There are several other worthy pieces on our Vimeo platform which did not get much play in
2021, for whatever reason. Now that most everybody can make high quality films on their
phones, we look forward to the day when some hot-shot starts sampling the Arthur Hall
Collection for new and even better experiential cinema. Personally, I'm getting used to
filming with the new 4K handicam. It makes beautiful pictures (though it crashed my
editing program). Too bad that, back in the day, we were stuck with the expensive 16mm
and then the fuzzy-looking videotape, though every medium has its good points and bad.

By way of a preview of the 2022 Annual Report, see Two Songs from Saka Acquaye.

Ray Hartung filming ILE IFE House of Love (ca.1973)

2021 Financial Statement

2021 Credits

Opening Balance - $489
Cash Contributions from Bruce Williams - $2,000
Cash Contributions from Nana Korantemaa - $200
Income from archival services (Abbott Meader) - $726

Total 2021 Credits - $3,415

2021 Debits

Equipment purchases - Digital audio recorder - $274
Office chair for my aching back - $180
Bank Service fees - drilling open safe deposit box - $103
Contribution to Village of the Arts in support of German Wilson mural - $100
Annual fees and dues, State of Maine and Northeast Historic Film - $110
Preservation fees, Abbott Meader films and shrink wrap posters - $891
Postage and shipping, including lost FedEx package - $53
Maintain the website and domain name - $132
Maintain videos on - $240
High speed internet connection - $1,026

Total 2021 Debits - $3,109

Cash Balance on December 31, 2021 - $307

Respectfully submitted,
Bruce Williams
April 2022