“Bill Nye: Science Guy” Slated for April 24 from PBS Distribution

PBS Distribution has announced the upcoming release of their latest POV title, Bill Nye: Science Guy (DVD: $24.99, Blu-ray: $29.99), slated for April 24. Once the host of a popular kids’ show and now the CEO of the Planetary Society, Bill Nye is leading a mission to launch LightSail, a satellite propelled by sunlight, while in turn fulfilling the legacy of his late professor and Planetary Society co-founder Carl Sagan. The film serves up a behind-the-scenes portrait of the “Science Guy,” who continues to inspire millennials to participate in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). In addition to Nye, the documentary features Neil deGrasse Tyson, Ann Druyan, and other notable voices in the field. Nye and his team are working toward the first-ever successful launch and flight of a solar sailing satellite propelled by sunlight in space. The film also offers a personal portrait of Nye’s life.

“Mabel, Mabel Tiger Trainer” Doc Available April 10 from Cinema Libre

Director Leslie Zemeckis brings to the screen the life of an unheralded female pioneer, Mabel Stark, the world’s first female tiger trainer, in the documentary Mabel, Mabel, Tiger Trainer (DVD: $19.95), slated for April 10 from Cinema Libre Studio. Mabel Stark first started working with tigers in 1916 and—over a 57-year career—would handle up to 22 tigers at once. She doubled for Mae West during the big top scenes in I’m No Angel (1933) and performed with or provided animals for several other films of the era. When the circuses divested from big cat acts in the ‘40s, Stark toured in Europe and Japan before joining Jungleland, a wild animal theme park in Thousand Oaks, CA, where she performed daily well into her 70s. Narrated by Melissa Leo, the film combines radio and TV interviews, archival footage and images, and interviews with circus historian Janet M. Davis,Clyde Beatty, Jr. (son of the famous tiger trainer, Clyde Beatty), and Zoltan Hargitay (son of Jayne Mansfield), who was mauled by a lion at Jungleland. Bonus features include additional tiger training footage, and a behind-the-scenes featurette with Zemeckis.

Oscar Winners on Video

A large number of the winners at the 90th Academy Awards are either currently available on home video or slated for release soon. The big winner in a contest that saw no wide sweeps was Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water (Fox, DVD: $29.99, Blu-ray/DVD Combo: $34.99, Mar. 13), which picked up awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Original Score, and Production Design. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Fox, DVD: $29.98, Blu-ray/DVD Combo: $34.99, avail. now) scored wins for Frances McDormand for Best Actress and Sam Rockwell for Best Supporting Actor. Best Actor went to Gary Oldman for Darkest Hour (Universal, DVD: $29.98, Blu-ray/DVD Combo: $34.98, avail. now), which also won for Makeup and Hairstyling, while Allison Janney won Best Supporting Actress for I, Tonya (Universal, DVD: $19.98, Blu-ray/DVD Combo: $22.99, Mar. 13). Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk (Warner, DVD: $28.98, Blu-ray/DVD Combo: $35.99, avail. now) snagged three technical awards—for Film Editing, Sound Editing, and Sound Mixing, while Blade Runner 2049 (Warner, DVD: $28.95, Blu-ray/DVD Combo: $35.99, avail. now) scored for Cinematography. On the writing side, Call Me By Your Name (Sony, DVD: $25.99, Blu-ray/DVD Combo: $30.99, Mar. 13) won for Best Adapted Screenplay, and Get Out (Universal, DVD: $19.98, Blu-ray/DVD Combo: $22.98, avail. now) took home the gold for Best Original Screenplay. Phantom Thread (Universal, DVD: $29.98, Blu-ray: $34.98, Apr. 10 ) won for Costume Design. Coco (Disney, DVD: $29.99, Blu-ray/DVD Combo: $39.99, avail. now) was a winner for both Best Animated Film and Best Song (“Remember Me”). Finally, Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405 (Grasshopper Film, DVD: $325, http://store.grasshopperfilm.com/heaven-is-a-traffic-jam-on-the-405.html), which won for Documentary (Short Subject), is currently available for institutions.

National Media Market to Manage Preservation Cooperative to Address Videotape Crisis in Academic Libraries

National Media Market and Conference (NMM) has announced the formation of the Academic Libraries Video Trust, a cooperative open to interested institutions, to facilitate preservation of commercial video content (primarily VHS) which is no longer in distribution. The Trust will leverage preservation and replacement exceptions for reproduction by libraries established by U.S. copyright law (17 U.S. Code § 108) that allow for duplication of content that is damaged, deteriorating, lost, or stolen, or is in an obsolete format. The Trust is expected to become fully operational by late 2018, thanks to a $10,000.00 gift by recently retired librarian deg farrelly.

“The opportunity to help create this new organization and serve libraries that value media collections is very important to me,” said farrelly, a Librarian Emeritus at Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ, who prefers his distinctive name spelled without the customary capital letters. “The Academic Libraries Video Trust will provide a service to benefit many institutions, especially research libraries. It’s a natural extension of the work I’ve been performing for four decades, to strengthen the usefulness and legitimacy of film and video as a tool in teaching and research across all disciplines.”

Section 108 is a topic explored extensively by farrelly and colleagues Chris Lewis, Media Librarian at American University, Washington, D.C., and Jane Hutchinson, former Associate Director of Media Services at William Paterson University Library, in Paterson, N.J. The trio created an online database called The Section 108 Due Diligence Project (http://section108video.com/) and documented search efforts for thousands of titles no longer available for purchase or licensing. Maintenance of the site and creation of secure technology will become the responsibility of the Trust, administered under the auspices of National Media Market and Conference.

Former NMM Chair Sarah McCleskey, Head of Resource & Collection Services at Hofstra University, is facilitating development of the Trust along with Chris Lewis. “Based on research performed by deg and other prominent media professionals, it’s estimated that U.S. academic libraries alone have thousands of VHS titles which are rapidly degrading,” said McCleskey. “It’s a matter of preservation — libraries that have spent significant funds collecting video need to protect their investments and fulfill their mandate to preserve this content.” According to Lewis, “The Trust has been created because the VHS format, which was once massively popular, is now obsolete, and much of the content borne on videotape has never been rereleased. No one makes VHS players anymore, and regularly-circulated tapes and players quickly degrade to the point of being unusable. The benign neglect that resulted in the loss of thousands of early motion pictures and early television recordings will happen with VHS recordings unless libraries undertake major preservation projects to protect them.”

“The intent of Section 108, and of the Academic Libraries Video Trust, is clearly not to sidestep any legitimate commercial interest,” states Kenneth Crews of Gipson Hoffman & Pancione in Los Angeles, the attorney retained by NMM for legal counsel regarding the Trust, “but to help support replacement and preservation copying after checking the market. The institutions that become members of the Academic Libraries Video Trust won’t be purchasing anything through the organization, but replacing a copy of a work they’ve already acquired consistent with copyright law.” “In fact,” adds farrelly, “the purpose of the Section 108 Due Diligence Project website has been to make widely available a list of titles for which librarians want to find replacements, and can’t. It can be viewed by rights holders as well as librarians.”

Member institutions will confirm that their use of any materials archived by the Trust will be in compliance with Section 108.

The Trust is currently inviting libraries and archives to become founding institutional members. Interested parties are encouraged to contact Jeff Tamblyn, Chair of the National Media Market and Conference (chair@nmm.net), for further information.

Relevant sites :

National Media Market https://www.nmm.net/

Section 108 Due Diligence Project http://section108video.com/

Cornell Law School Section 108 webpage https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/17/108


Photo caption: deg farrelly (right) makes a major donation to kickstart NMM’s new service initiative. Accepting is NMM Chair Jeff Tamblyn.