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April 24
1962 - SCV residents vote to connect to State Water Project, creating CLWA [story]


The Library of Congress announced Dec. 17 the 25 films selected for inclusion to the National Film Registry this year. Filmmaker and CalArts faculty James Benning’s 16mm documentary “13 Lakes” (2004) and CalArts alumnus John Lasseter’s (Film/Video BFA 79) 3D animated short, “Luxo Jr.” (1986), are on the list alongside films such as Steven Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan,” the Coen Brothers’ “The Big Lebowski” and John Hughes’ “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”

The Library chooses diverse “cultural, historical or aesthetic cinematic treasures” from American history to include in the archive. Films must be at least 10 years old to be considered.

“By preserving these films, we protect a crucial element of American creativity, culture and history,” says Librarian of Congress James H. Billington.

“13 Lakes” captures shots of 13 great lakes in the U.S., with each shot containing half water and half sky or land. More about the film’s significance from the Library’s statement:

Screenshot from "13 Lakes"

Screenshot from “13 Lakes”

 

“James Benning’s feature-length film can be seen as a series of moving landscape paintings with artistry and scope that might be compared to Claude Monet’s series of water-lily paintings. Embracing the concept of “landscape as a function of time,” Benning shot his film at 13 different American lakes in identical 10-minute takes. Each is a static composition: a balance of sky and water in each frame with only the very briefest suggestion of human existence. At each lake, Benning prepared a single shot, selected a single camera position and a specific moment. The climate, the weather and the season deliver a level of variation to the film, a unique play of light, despite its singularity of composition.”

Curators of the Rotterdam Film Festival, where the film was screened in 2005, noted:

James Benning | Photo by Manfred Werner/Tsui

James Benning | Photo by Manfred Werner/Tsui

“The power of the film is that the filmmaker teaches the viewer to look better and learn to distinguish the great varieties in the landscape alongside him. [The list of lakes] alone is enough to encompass a treatise on America and its history. A treatise the film certainly encourages, but emphatically does not take part in.”

Lasseter’s two-minute Pixar animation, Luxo Jr., was the first CGI film to be nominated for an Academy Award in 1987. The short about an adult lamp watching a younger lamp play with a ball became the inspiration behind Pixar’s iconic bumper. More from the Library’s statement:

“In strikingly vivid animation, Lasseter and Reeves manage to bring to joyous life these two inanimate objects and to infuse them both with personality and charm—qualities that would become the norm in such soon-to-be Pixar productions as Toy Story, Cars and WALL-E.”

Lasseter (right) with CalArts President Steven Lavine in May 2014 | Photo by Steve Gunther/CalArts

Lasseter (right) with CalArts President Steven Lavine in May 2014 | Photo by Steve Gunther/CalArts

Lasseter currently serves as the chief creative officer of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios.

The 2014 selections bring the number of films in the registry to 650.

 

Other CalArtian films that were inducted into the National Film Registry:

* 2013: Bless Their Little Hearts (1984), directed by faculty Billy Woodberry

* 2009: The Red Book (1994), directed by faculty Janie Geiser

* 2009: Scratch and Crow (1995), directed by late faculty Helen Hill

* 1990: Killer of Sheep (1977), directed by former faculty Charles Burnett

 

This year’s full list of 25 inductees:

* 13 Lakes (2004)

* Bert Williams Lime Kiln Club Field Day (1913)

* The Big Lebowski (1998)

* Down Argentine Way (1940)

* The Dragon Painter (1919)

* Felicia (1965

* Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

* The Gang’s All Here (1943)

* House of Wax (1953)

* Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport (2000)

* Little Big Man (1970)

* Luxo Jr. (1986)

* Moon Breath Beat (1980)

* Please Don’t Bury Me Alive! (1976)

* The Power and the Glory (1933)

* Rio Bravo (1959)

* Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

* Ruggles of Red Gap (1935)

* Saving Private Ryan (1998)

* Shoes (1916)

* State Fair (1933)

* Unmasked (1917)

* V-E + 1 (1945)

* The Way of Peace (1947)

* Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

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