Film Screening at UCSB's Pollock Theater Celebrates Flying "A" Studio Centennial

With "The Artist" and "Hugo" dominating this year's Academy Awards, the silent era of cinema has once again struck the popular imagination. The Carsey-Wolf Center and the Department of Film and Media Studies at UC Santa Barbara will honor local contributions to this rich artistic legacy with screenings of original silent films by Santa Barbara's Flying "A" Studios. The films will be presented with traditional live piano accompaniment.

The screenings begin at 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 7, in UCSB's Pollock Theater.

The program includes four films, all being shown in Santa Barbara for the first time. Among them are "Method In His Madness," Santa Barbara's first surviving film; "The Vengeance," the first known surviving Flying "A" film; "To Rent, Furnished," a situational comedy produced in 1915; and "The Pilgrim," a classic Flying "A" western romance.

Santa Barbara was once home to the studio and production operations of a young, aggressive media company whose films were screened internationally. The American Film Manufacturing Company of Chicago, also known as The Flying "A," arrived in Santa Barbara in July 1912. In only eight years, the company created over 900 films, prints of which are scattered in film archives and personal collections around the world.

Dana Driskel, a studio professor of film and media studies at UCSB, has gathered Flying "A" films from archives for the centennial screening. He will be joined by local historian Neal Graffy in providing commentary on the role of Flying "A" in the nascent film industry and in the history of Santa Barbara. Pianist Michael Mortilla will accompany the films onstage in the campus's new state-of-the-art theater. An audience question-and-answer period will follow the screenings, along with a wine and cheese reception in the Michael Douglas Lobby, co-sponsored by the UCSB History Associates and the UCSB Affiliates.

Tickets are $15 for members of the UCSB History Associates or the UCSB Affiliates, and $20 for all others, and can be purchased in advance at

Questions about the event can be directed to LeeAnne French, associate director of the Carsey-Wolf Center, at or (805) 893-2186.

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