Charles Musser Wins International Cinema Award

Charles Musser, associate professor of film studies and American Studies at Yale, is this year’s recipient of the Jean Mitry Award, presented in October at the fifteenth Pordenone Silent Film Festival in Italy. The award, established in 1986, is given annually to honor individuals and institutions for their work in safeguarding the heritage of the silent film. It is named for Jean Mitry, a prominent French film historian of the 1950-70s.

Mr. Musser was honored for his many contributions to the study of the silent cinema. His three major books, focusing on the American cinema in its earliest years, “profoundly changed our knowledge and understanding” of this period in film history, according to the award citation. These books are “The Emergence of Cinema: the American Screen to 1907,” “Before the Nickelodeon: Edwin S. Porter and the Edison Manufacturing Company,” and “High-Class Moving Pictures: Lyman H. Howe and the Forgotten Era of Traveling Exhibition.” In addition, his hour-long documentary on Porter and his six-part touring exhibition, “Before Hollywood: Turn of the Century American Films from the Archives,” co-curated with Jay Leyda made a nearly forgotten period in cinematic history available to a wide audience around the world. Mr. Musser also created the definitive microfilm edition of U.S. motion picture catalogues published 1894 -1908, authored a book series with the Smithsonian Institution Press, and prepared the forthcoming complete filmography of Thomas Edison, 1890-1900.

Mr. Musser B.A. ‘73 earned his Ph.D. in 1986 from New York University and taught at NYU, Columbia, and UCLA, before coming to Yale in 1992.

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