Yale Film Archive wins 13th federal grant for preservation of significant films

  • Black and white image of man in profile with dark glasses looks out panes of gridded concrete window
October 11, 2023

In August, the National Film Preservation Foundation (NFPF) awarded federally funded grants to 31 institutions—including the Yale Film Archive—for each institution’s work in preserving important “orphan” films in their collections. Orphan films are films that have historic and cultural significance but lack commercial resources to support their preservation.

This grant is the 13th that the NFPF has awarded to the Yale Film Archive, and this year marks the 10th consecutive year of the organization’s support.

The 2023 award will enable the Yale Film Archive to preserve Shades, Roger Tilton’s 1960 short about the inmate rehabilitation program at Rikers Island correctional facility in New York. In selecting this year’s winners, the NFPF focused on the theme of community portraits. Shades traces the story of a fictional hoodlum’s participation in a rehabilitation program. It was produced by the City College of New York’s Institute of Film Techniques for the New York City Department of Correction.

The film’s production crew was made up of undergraduate film students. Among them was Ed English, credited as scriptwriter and associate producer, who later worked as an educational filmmaker for Yale University. In 1962, English was cameraman and editor for the controversial film Obedience, directed by Stanley Milgram, assistant professor of psychology at Yale from 1960 to 1963. (Milgram, influenced by the events of the Holocaust, conducted behavior experiments on the dangers of unquestioning obedience to authority.)

After English’s death in 2022, the Yale Film Archive acquired from his wife, Madelyn English, the original film elements for Shades—his earliest credited film work—including the A/B-rolls and soundtrack negative. The preservation work has just begun, but the Yale Film Archive will eventually screen Shades on campus.

Read more about the 2023 preservation grant awarded to the Yale Film Archive and the NFPF’s other  grant awards.

Search the Stanley Milgram papers in the Archives at Yale.

—Deborah Cannarella

Image: film still of Garry Goodrow as the character Shades