Berkeley, CA, May 6, 2005-The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) announces that Edith R. Kramer, Senior Film Curator and Director of the Pacific Film Archive since 1983, will retire at the end of June. She began working at PFA in 1975 as assistant film curator, and served as acting director of PFA in 1980.
BAM/PFA Director Kevin E. Consey notes: "This July, after twenty-two years as Senior Film Curator and Director of the Pacific Film Archive, Edith will retire, leaving to her audience, community, and staff a much-evolved institution, not to mention copious memories of exquisite evenings at the movies that made cinephiles- and sometimes filmmakers and scholars-out of those of us in the seats. . . . We intend to thank Edith for her many years of service to the Pacific Film Archive and honor her remarkable contribution to film culture by ensuring PFA's continuing prominence among the world's film archives."
During her years at PFA, Kramer has received acclaim for her tireless commitment to film preservation and collection development, presiding over the collection's expansion to more than 12,000 titles, many important film preservation projects, the PFA's Library and Film Study Center's exemplary service to scholars and researchers, and PFA's entry in 1989 as an active member of the International Association of Film Archives.
Kramer is particularly admired locally and in the international film community for curating a magnificent array of public screenings at which she has shared her enthusiasm and wry wit regarding individual films, genres, and national cinemas. She has provided audiences rare opportunities to engage in discussion with respected scholars, authors, and filmmakers. A partial list of guests at PFA includes such renowned directors as Nagisa Oshima, Michelangelo Antonioni, Charles Burnett, King Hu, Agnieszka Holland, Stanley Kramer, Budd Boetticher, Samuel Fuller, Jan Nemec, Abraham Polonsky, Masahiro Shinoda, Terry Zwigoff, Dusan Makavejev, Robert Wise, Yvonne Rainer, Gus Van Sant, Johan van der Keuken, Fernando Birri, Frederick Wiseman, and Bertrand Tavernier.
Under Kramer's direction, PFA also became a locus for a fascinating and varied group of film festivals, including the San Francisco International Film Festival, the Margaret Mead Film and Video Festival, NAATA's San Francisco International Asian American Film Festiva, MadCat Women's International Film Festival, and the Human Rights Watch Film Festival. Kramer presented many UC Berkeley courses, including Film 50: Introduction to Film, that have been perennial favorites with students and general audiences alike.
Kramer demonstrated how the art of silent cinema can enrich contemporary life, by commissioning eminent composers and music ensembles to create new scores for silent era masterpieces such as Aelita: Queen of Mars, The House on Trubnaya Square, and Earth. Throughout her career she has championed avant-garde cinema and living artists working in the medium of film. She has always insisted on the importance of collecting, preserving, and screening their creations, and has labored to bring them a measure of well–deserved attention and respect.
In recognition her unflagging dedication to the presentation and preservation of the art of film, Kramer received The Chancellor's Distinguished Service Award of the University of California, Berkeley in 2003. She is a Chevalier and an Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et Lettres, having received these honors in 1994 and 2000 from the French government for her contributions to French film culture. She has served on numerous juries, panels, and boards, including the Programming and Access Commission of the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF). She received the 1990 Bernard Osher Cultural Award and, in 2001, was named a Member First Class of The Royal Order of the Polar Star by His Majesty Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden.
To honor Edith Kramer's dedicated service to BAM/PFA, the museum is creating the Edith R. Kramer Collection, which will constitute a dynamic legacy of works ranging from avant-garde to documentary to international classics. This acquisitions campaign to acquire key films that will help illuminate the history of cinema is underway. Gifts to this initiative can be made through the museum's Development Office; for information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.