Panorama Ephemera by Rick Prelinger

Anthology Film Archives, Sept 20, 8PM

PANORAMA EPHEMERA (made by Rick Prelinger, 2004, 89:35 min., color and black and white) is composed of sequences drawn from a wide variety of ephemeral (industrial, advertising, educational and amateur) films, touring conflicted North American landscapes. The
films' often-skewed visions reconstruct a history filled with horror and hope, unreeling in familiar and unexpected ways.

PANORAMA EPHEMERA focuses on familiar and mythical activities and images in America (1626-1978). Its cast includes children, animals, farmers, industrial workers, superheroes, pioneers heading West, crash test dummies, and many others. Many creatures, objects, and
substances that often seem too familiar to notice take center stage, including pigs, corn, water, telephones, fire, and rice. At first resembling a compilation, it soon reveals itself as a journey through American landscape and history, and the story begins to emerge between the sequences.

The film consists of 64 self-contained film sequences ranging from 5 seconds to 4 minutes in length arranged into a narrative. Unlike many films made using archival footage, it's primarily a combination of sequences rather than a collage of individual shots. Many compilation or collage films use preexisting footage similarly to how we might speak in words or syllables. I think this film speaks in paragraphs.

A DVD-quality version of PANORAMA EPHEMERA may be downloaded at no cost from the Internet Archive:

It is released under a Creative Commons "Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike" license, and may be freely shown, copied, or distributed according to the terms of this license


Monday, September 20 at 8 pm: Anthology Film Archives, New York City

Anthology Film Archives is located at 32 Second Ave. at Second Street
and can be reached by the Second Avenue F train or the #6, Bleecker
Street stop. Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for students, seniors,
& $5 for AFA members.  Further information: 212-505-5181 or


Rick Prelinger
Prelinger Archives
P.O. Box 590622, San Francisco, Calif. 94159-0622 USA

Online film collection at Internet Archive: