Jean Desmet’s Dream Factory, 1906 – 1916
Elif Rongen, curator, EYE Film Institute, Amsterdam. Belgian-born film impresario Jean Desmet (1875 – 1956) spurred the growth of a new urban film culture in Europe before and during World War I. Desmet’s collection of 35mm prints and related materials (including posters, handbills, correspondence, and other ephemera) is now a vast visual-historical archive preserved at the EYE Film Museum in Amsterdam. In 2011 the Desmet collection was inscribed on UNESCO’s Memory of the World register — one of the few film collections in the world to receive this designation. On January 14, 2017, EYE film curator Elif Rongen introduced Up in the Air!, the first program of short films from the Desmet collection for the six-part NGA film series Jean Desmet’s Dream Factory, 1906 – 1916.