We are AMIA!

By Dennis Doros, Co-owner of Milestone and President of AMIA

My first trip to the Association of Moving Image Archivists was in Bethesda, Maryland in 1997. My panel on the collegial work between archives and distributors did not go very well — one of the archivists suggested that in 20 years, the only place that anyone could go see silent films would be in an archive. It was a bad prediction (as it turns out) and it reinforced my suspicions that many archivists were dead set against cooperating on restorations that would see commercial release.

But I met a new friend there who convinced me to come back and try again. The next year’s conference in Miami changed my life forever and set me on a course I never expected. I found not only colleagues in the archival world... but a family as well. (And now, I'm proud to say that my own family, Amy and our son Adam, are also members!)

I served three terms on the Board of Directors and after a hiatus, I am now back— this time serving as President of AMIA. Below is a photo of this year's board, a collection of amazing people that I’m proud and grateful to call friends. They work tirelessly to better our field and help our members.

Casey Davis Kaufman, Lauren Sorenson, me, Andrea Leigh, Teague Schneiter, Yvonne Ng, John Polito, Jayson Wall, Melissa Dollman

In its 28 years of existence, the organization has helped abolish the boundaries between commercial and non-commercial, distributors and archivists, labs and archives, collectors and copyright holders, academics and studios. We have grown from our early days of sitting around a table to nearly a thousand members from 29 countries. Our conference takes up three floors of hotel space with panels, workshops, exhibition spaces, roundtables, screenings and much more! We offer scholarships, internships, and travel grants to all those interested in the preservation of moving images.

This year, the Board decided to produce a song to welcome the newcomers to AMIA. It was intended to be a silly song — to show that the board was willing to put its best (or worst) foot forward to make people feel at home. However, we did not count on the talents of Audio Mechanics' John Polito. The song was both splendidly retro and funny and his audio talents made us sound, well, good! I make, shall we say, a surprising contribution. “We are AMIA” was a hit at this year’s AMIA conference, and we want to share it with our Milestone friends!

I want, however, to say that AMIA is just not all song and dance. It is four days of spectacular continuing education, networking, and problem-solving. So many restorations have come from colleagues meeting other colleagues at the conference, that a festival featuring all those restored moving images would take years. 

AMIA is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) and your donation can help to bring students and unsubsidized archivists to the conference from around the world. A gift to the AMIA travel fund is like the proverbial story of teaching a man to fish — you are not restoring a specific film, but you are helping to teach archivists who will go out and preserve and restore hundreds of films around the world. 

To find out how you can donate, here's the link!