All manner of films outside the commercial mainstream: amateur,
unreleased, and
underground films, as well as
home movies,
test reels,
fringe TV,
and other
ephemeral moving images. More...

The next biennial, four-day Orphan Film Symposium:
May 23-26, 2020
EYE Netherlands Filmmuseum in Amsterdam.
Theme and call for presentations to be announced in 2019.


Meanwhile . . .

Announcing! Orphans 2019: RADICALS!

June 7 & 8, 2019, the Austrian Film Museum in Vienna hosts "Radicals," a two-day edition of the NYU Orphan Film Symposium.

Call for Presentations

The Austrian Film Museum, longtime home of unconventional cinematic expressions, welcomes a line-up of radical orphan films as a finale to its 2019 spring season.

Scholars, archivists, curators, and artists will explore a variety of neglected films related to diverse forms of radical style, practice, and politics. What examples of radical filmmaking are there to be discovered? How have various stripes of radical politics been represented or documented on screen? How are radical new practices and ideas in archiving and preservation challenging traditional approaches?

In addition to unveiling rarities from the Film Museum’s own collection, the symposium will include content selected from responses to this Call for Presentations.

We invite one-page proposals for presentations (15 to 45 minutes), especially those that include screening seldom-seen material. New media productions using archival or found footage in a challenging manner can be considered too.

E-mail proposals to

Deadline: December 10, 2018

Summarize the significance of the material and topic; identify AV material to be screened by title, running time, and format. Please send text as a file attachment.

Presenters should commit to attend the full symposium. Registration and attendance is open to all, beginning January 2019. Watch this space. . . .


Read the complete Orphans 11 program here.

NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Department of Cinema Studies, and its Moving Image Archiving and Preservation Program hosted the 11th Orphan Film Symposium, April 11-14, 2018, at Museum of the Moving Image. Scholars, archivists, media artists, curators, preservationists, collectors, librarians, students, and other enthusiasts explored a variety of neglected works and moving image artifacts.

Inspired by Plato's Symposium (360 BCE), the theme was love. Love in the many senses of the word -- romantic, spiritual, filial, religious, parental, empathic. Love of others, humanity, planet, country, family, animals, food, pleasure, art, peace, place, learning. Or as Plato might say agápe, eros, philía, and storgē. Cinephilia itself opened the door to all kinds of films we love. Among the orphan categories elated to love: amateur films and home movies; advocacy films; works made by religious or charitable organizations; romance and melodrama; erotica, porn, dating do's and dont's; advertising and animation; patriotic pictures; cult films; movies for children. What films have inspired love (or hate), passions, or devotion?

Merci, Cinémathèque française!

The Cinémathèque française and NYU Cinema Studies co-hosted a special edition of the Orphan Film Symposium in Paris, March 2-4, 2017.

The theme: Tests, essais et expérimentations

Orphans 2017 / Orphelins de Paris
March 2-4, 2017

Click here to see the program. Films ranging from 1894 to 1994, from France, the US, UK, Poland, Italy, Denmark, Lithuania, Serbia, Algeria, Belgium, India, Mexico, and the Netherlands. See a wonderous variety of outtakes, kinetscope movies, camera tests, partially edited newsreels, 90mm scientic studies, 35mm medical films, Super 8 exrperiments, 16mm avant garde pieces, images inédites, rushes, unfinished films, silent cinema, unreleased works, never-used newsfilm, amateur narratives, home movies, military footage, student films, promotional documentaries, early sound newsreel tests, and restored classics.

Orphans X : Sound, April 6-9, 2016

New York University Cinema Studies and its Moving Image Archiving and Preservation Program joined with the Library of Congress National Audio-Visual Conservation Center for the tenth international gathering of archivists, scholars, curators, preservationists, technical experts, artists, and media-makers devoted to screening and discussing orphan films.

A timeline of the Orphan Film Symposium, 1999 - 2016 . . .

designed by Martha Diaz & Erica Gold (NYU MIAP)