The annual Jean Mitry Award is given out each fall at the Pordenone Silent Film Festival. The award honors individuals and institutions that have made outstanding contributions to the preservation and appreciation of the world’s silent film heritage. Past winners have included major figures in the archival community such as Eileen Bowser (MOMA), as well as scholars such as Tom Gunning (University of Chicago). This year the Mitry Award jury honored the late Susan Dalton (1944-2013) and her husband Paul Spehr, former assistant chief of the Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division of the Library of Congress, with dual Jean Mitry Awards.
Susan was associated with WCFTR from 1969 until 1980, first as the Film Archivist and then as Assistant Director. She was involved in the acquisition and development of some of the Center’s most important archival collections, and she played a vital role in the Center’s early development and emergence as an internationally prominent film archive. News of her death in November 2013 was received with sadness by all associated with WCFTR.
Paul Spehr is seen here accepting the two 2014 Mitry Awards on behalf of Susan and himself at the October Pordenone Festival. All of us at WCFTR are honored and touched that Susan was selected to receive the award, and we also join in congratulating Paul, a good friend of the WCFTR, for his equally well-deserved honor.
Vance Kepley, Jr.