Tobin Geideman: An Intern's Parting Thoughts

The PFA Library and Film Study Center recently said bon voyage and good luck to one of our top-notch volunteers, Tobin Geideman. Tobin has been with BAM/PFA since the fall of 2010, when he started as an intern through Berkeley High School.

01_colt-is-my-passport.jpg Photo: Jerry Fujio and Jô Shishido in A Colt is My Passport, 1967

Since that time, Tobin has worked with some of the BAM/PFA’s collections of rare film-related ephemera. He has been part of a cadre of dedicated volunteers who donate their time and expertise to help us develop these collections and to provide film research tools that are available nowhere else. He had this to say about his time here:


My primary focus at BAM/PFA has been on the CineFiles project, which currently boasts hundreds of thousands of documents related to tens of thousands of films, directors, actors, festivals, and more. I also helped organize the collection of historical lobby cards, and helped with the day-to-day minutiae that keep the PFA Library and Film Study center running for students, faculty, and visiting scholars.

02_lobby_card.jpg Akira Kobayashi takes a little sake in a typical lobby card from Nikkatsu.

As I delved through PFA Library’s vast collection of rare film materials, I’ve been able to discover films, directors, and actors who are relatively unknown outside the library’s walls.


I started my internship with an interest in Japanese cinema, which I was able to explore in depth at the library. I was able to see films by well-known directors like Mizoguchi and Kurosawa at the PFA Theater, but I also got sift through documents about directors whose films are rarely seen today. Last week’s highlight was getting to go through a box of vintage photographs and stills donated by Japan’s Nikkatsu Studios.

04_nikkatsu_theatre.jpg Nikkatsu’s theater/hotel in Tokyo.

Branded to Kill (directed by Seijun Suzuki for Nikkatsu in 1967) was already one of my favorite movies when I started volunteering, but this pulp film is only the tip of the iceberg in Nikkatsu’s output. Volunteering at BAM/PFA gave me a chance to become better acquainted with the studio’s work, and the images here are my personal favorites from the Nikkatsu collection.

05_jo_shishido.jpg Jô Shishido, Nikkatsu’s suave heartthrob, looking suave.


07_chishingura_2.jpg Publicity stills from Nikkatsu’s prewar adaptation of Chushingura.

Even though I volunteered for the PFA Library, I also took advantage of BAM/PFA’s exhibitions and L@TE programs. Trevor Paglin’s exhibition, The Other Night Sky, and the L@TE performance by the one-woman band, Grouper, stand as two of my favorites. I had seen Grouper perform in a more traditional concert venue, but her style of reserved ambient music was especially suited to the building’s sprawling concrete galleries, which opened my eyes to BAM/PFA as a unique space for music.


Tobin leaves us this summer for Montana State University in Bozeman, where he intends to study French and Japanese, and where we are certain that his creativity and curiosity will serve him well. We wish him the best of luck, and thank him for his hard work.