Class of 2010 – MA, CSI
CSI Masters’ program graduate Alicia Fletcher and how her quest to preserve film led her to launch an exciting new initiative called Silent Sundays.
A graduate of the Cinema Studies Institute’s Masters’ program at Innis College, Alicia Fletcher is a media archivist and film programmer dedicated to promoting and advocating for moving image preservation. In the program’s inaugural year (2008) she met many of the colleagues and mentors that would prove invaluable to her professional development. While at Innis, CSI faculty encouraged Alicia to explore an interest in early cinema, leading her to realize that the era’s study meant confronting film’s impermanence and fragility. Since graduating, Alicia has engaged with educational public programming to create awareness of the need to preserve film, and has contributed articles on the subject to journals such as The Moving Image.
After graduating, Alicia enrolled in the Photographic Preservation and Collections Management program, jointly hosted by Ryerson University and George Eastman House (MA 2011). This allowed her to combine historical and theoretical approaches to studying film with the technical skills needed to preserve film. While studying at Eastman House, Alicia was greeted by a collection of silent films rivaled by few others. There she utilized research skills, developed while studying at Innis, to identify unknown silent films, contributing to a collaborative Online Database dedicated to early film fragments.
In 2012, Alicia served as Digitization Coordinator of Adult Learning for the Toronto International Film Festival, project managing an online initiative for TIFF Higher Learning — a free year-round program that through screenings, master classes, and lectures, provides Canadian post-secondary students and faculty a forum in which to examine film and new media. This involved collaborating to produce curated online research material for the newly launched Higher Learning Digital Resource Hub. The Cinema Studies Institute faculty taught Alicia to exhaust every research avenue possible, allowing her to capture a wide range of historical, theoretical and cultural approaches within the Hub’s research material. She found this project particularly fulfilling because it furthers the educational resources available to her fellow cinema studies students, as well as emerging filmmakers and practitioners
Her commitment to silent film was recognized when Alicia was made a programmer of Silent Sundays at the Revue Cinema, Toronto’s only year-round dedicated selection of silent films in a theatrical venue. Along with co-programmer Eric Veillette, a journalist and fellow silent film enthusiast, she screens, promotes, and advocates for silent film. More than simply showingsilent films, Silent Sundays seeks to provide an authentic silent filmexperience by contextualizing the cultural significance of the films it screens. In keeping with the exhibition practices of the era, all screenings showcase live musical accompaniment, and often feature guest speakers, including Cinema Studies Institute faculty.
According to Alicia, the year she spent at Innis College provided a foundation for everything that came after. Through her studies she gained a competitive education, a community of like-minded individuals, and most importantly, the ability to share her passion for film with others.