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After a successful 2017 media preservation project in Denton County, “Spotlight on North Texas,” is returning on May 19th, 2018 to preserve the motion picture histories of Dallas, Texas. 


Spotlight on North Texas

Spotlight on North Texas is a community media preservation partnership between the UNT Media Library and the Texas Archive of the Moving Image and is funded by  Common Heritage Grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Through free community digitization and outreach events, this project seeks to preserve and provide enduring access to the motion picture histories of North Texas. By “motion picture histories,” we mean motion pictures that document history such as home movies or student films and materials that document motion picture history, such as materials related to the long history of movie production, distribution, and presentation in Dallas. We hope that this program will highlight the importance of incorporating new voices into archives through the lens of community-created regional motion picture histories. By providing free digitization services and unrestricted digital access to these materials, we hope to expand the historical record and the variety of available primary source materials for a diverse audience.

In our 2016-2017 event in Denton County, we were able to digitize 33,000 feet of motion picture film and more than 100 hours of videotape as well as photographs, documents, and sound recordings. Program participants from 33 households and 13 cities received free copies of their materials and 697 items are now described and available for viewing on The Portal to Texas History.

Dallas, Texas: The Hollywood of the Southwest?

By collecting and sharing the moving histories of Dallas-Oak Cliff, this project hopes to deconstruct popular beliefs surrounding coastal primacy in motion picture arts and to redefine how regions like North Texas contributed to film production and consumption. The most famous home movie, and likely Dallas’ most notorious film, is Abraham Zapruder’s recording of the 1963 assassination of President Kennedy. However, Dallas has been a significant presence in the industry since the inception of moving pictures. In the early days of cinema, distribution and production were highly regional and Dallas was known as the “Hollywood of the Southwest.” Downtown Dallas was once the center of our region’s motion picture distribution industry including Paramount Pictures, United Artists Theaters, RKO, Columbia Pictures, and Universal Studios. Dallas also claimed its own independent artists and filmmakers as well as a thriving educational and advertising film market, including the prolific Jamieson Film Company (est. 1916) and The Stokes Group (est. 1965, formerly Bill Stokes Associates). Dallas was also the home for numerous motion picture theaters and star-studded movie premieres and publicity stunts. The first permanent motion picture show opened in 1905 and by 1913 the Dallas Morning News estimated that approximately 1/3 of Dallas residents would attend a movie each day. Oak Cliff was the home of many neighborhood theatres, including The Texas Theatre, which continues to show movies and host community events.  

Event Schedule:

On Saturday May 19, 2018, we will be taking our program to Top Ten Records in the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas, Texas. The area’s oldest record store (1956-2017), Top Ten is preserved by a local non-profit that is working to create a media and music library that also supports regional moving image preservation.

10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Free Community Digitization Program

Watch rare and unique materials from the vault sof UNT, TAMI, SMU and win prizes playing DALLAS BINGO!


1 p.m. 2 p.m.

Screening of Blaine Dunlap’s classic Dallas films Sometimes I Run (1973) and Big D (1974)


2 p.m. – 3 p.m. 

Screening treasures from the Dallas City Municipal Archives, projected in 16mm!



How to Participate in the Free Community Digitization Program

On Saturday May 19th from 10 a.m – 5 p.m., community members can bring home movies, student films, and local television commercials as well as photos and print materials related to Dallas motion picture history to Top Ten Records for evaluation by trained archivists and librarians from the University of North Texas and Texas Archive of the Moving Image.

Print materials and photographs will be scanned onsite. Participants will leave with digital copies of their materials on a free flash drive and keep their original materials.Archivists will digitize the film and videotape after the event and original materials will be returned at no cost to the participant. UNT and TAMI will preserve a digital copy of the materials, which will be available on The Portal to Texas History and TAMI’s  online archive.

Qualifying Materials & Restrictions

To qualify for free digitization, film, and video must:

  • Be one of the following film formats: Super 8, 8mm, 16mm

  • Be one of the following video formats: VHS, VHS-C, SVHS, Betamax Beta-SP, ¾” U-matic tapes, Hi-8 tapes, 8mm tapes, and mini-DV cassettes

  • Relate to the history and culture of Texas because they were filmed in Texas, filmed by a Texan, or featured Texas or Texans

  • Be submitted by the copyright holder, who grants permission for the films/videos to be shared by TAMI and UNT or be in the public domain

  • Total no more than 1,000 feet of film and five videotapes per household.

  • Don’t know how much film you have? You can make a good estimate using the following guidelines. Use a ruler to measure all the way across the reel. Then use the chart below to estimate how much film you have.

8 mm film


16 mm film

 Reel Size

 Length if Full


 Reel Size

 Length if Full

 3 in.

 50 ft.


 3 ½ in.

 50 ft.

 5 in. 

 200 ft.


 10 ½ in.

 1000 ft.

 5 ¾ in.

 250 ft.


 14 in.

 1800 ft.

 7 in.

 400 ft.


 15 in.

 2300 ft.


To qualify for free digitization, print materials must:

  • Document the motion picture history of the City of Dallas

  • Be submitted by the copyright holder, who grants permission for the films/videos to be shared by TAMI and UNT or be in the public domain

  • Total no more than 25 items per household.

We regret that we cannot accept:

  • Any format not mentioned above, including  open reel video, or audio tape

  • Copyrighted material (i.e., programs recorded from television or commercial films)

  • Items that are in too poor condition for us to digitize using our equipment


If you have questions about the program, please contact the Program Director, Laura Treat at or (940) 369-5293. Follow us on Facebook at and Twitter @Spotlight_NTX.

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Author: Maristella Feustle

Many of us have been doing basic visualizations of quantitative data since elementary school, turning numerical information into charts and graphs. Somewhere along the line, most of us have also encountered Venn diagrams for visualizing conceptual relationships and attributes held in common between entities. But when we think of visualization, quantitative visualizations such as those produced by Excel are more accessible.

Of course, not all data is quantitative. Not all data points are numbers, and not all of the relationships between them are numerical, and yet we intuitively understand that context can be as complex as it is important. That is where Gephi comes in. If you can articulate a relationship, you can map it.

Gephi depends on the “triple” relationship that also underlies RDF, the Resource Description Framework metadata model, of clear interest to library and information science. In the triple, Something has a connection with something else. Or, Person 1 is somehow connected to Person 2. Attribute 1 is somehow connected to Attribute 2.

The attributes are nodes, and the connection, whatever it is, is an edge. Two nodes plus one edge are three things, or a triple. Connections may be reciprocal, or only one direction.

Potential examples are virtually limitless: Say, for example, that Jeremiah was a bullfrog. That is, Jeremiah has the attribute of being a bullfrog. Jeremiah and bullfrog-ness (to coin a term) are nodes. Having the attribute is an edge. Jeremiah was also a good friend of mine. That is, Jeremiah was member of the set of good friends of mine.

Those are just a few connections. What about when your connections have connections? We need a more sophisticated way to keep track of them.

This demonstration uses data from lists of operas and performers in the appendix to Ronald Davis’ La Scala West: The Dallas Opera under Kelly and Rescigno, tracing roughly the first ten years of productions by the Dallas Opera. 

Using a Comma Separated Value (CSV file), we’ve articulated people and the roles they played respectively as the two required columns for Gephi to import as an edge table: Source and Target.

Here, it is worth noting that Gephi can be very picky about how your data is formed. In order to avoid the creation of spurious nodes and connections, it is important to be sure your data is clear of extra spaces and characters that could, for example, cause Gephi to decide that Maria [space] Callas and Maria [space space] Callas are two different people. When you have hundreds or thousands of nodes and connections, unnecessary distinctions like those can really throw your visualization. For preparing data, OpenRefine is a very useful companion to Gephi.

Even with a well-constructed dataset, Gephi’s initial visualization output looks like throwing spaghetti and meatballs at the wall, only more angular:


The important distinction to note here is that Gephi does the math for you, but does not make decisions for you. Therefore, the choice of how to apply colors to differentiate types of nodes and edges, or degrees of connectivity, and which algorithms best represent the meaning you want your visualization to demonstrate, what to label, and so on, are up to you. These features are tightly packed into Gephi’s user interface, and experimenting with them is part of the fun of the program. Further options reside in the plug-ins that come bundled with the program.


In this case, the end result allowed us to show in a single image the intricacies of the connections between performers in the Dallas Opera, as well as the major artists, frequent performers, and frequent productions in the early years of the Dallas Opera — in short, a map of relationships between performers, works, and one another.


To get started with Gephi, please visit the links below:  (Refers to an old version, but still useful)

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Author: Parker Mathias

I was moved to do this project by backlash I had seen in regards to the concept of ‘digital blackface’ after the publishing of the Teen Vogue article about it, by Laura Michele Jackson, in August of 2017. I thought my circle of friends were fairly accepting and open-minded, but mostly balked at the idea that they might need to reflect on their reliance on black over-reaction and performance on the internet.

For this project I did a deep dive and tried to gather sources from different political leanings to try and understand various viewpoints on the subject. I thought it was weird that otherwise self-professed liberal people ended up in exactly the same camp as hardcore right wing commenters when it came to ‘digital blackface’; the almost-universal answer to the issue seemed to be that acknowledging race at all in reaction gifs and images was the real racism.

It seemed, and still seems to me that this argument just lets the openly racist among us operate with greater freedom. Reproduced images of black people can’t protest when a white person uses them to advance white supremacy. When Rachel Dolezal was exposed, the right wing seized on the momentum presented by the idea of ‘fake’ black people to attack Movement for Black Lives activist Shaun King. The difference between conservatives weaponizing entertaining images of black people today and conservatives attending minstrel shows in the 1920’s is one of degrees.

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Author: Kelly Taiclet

This post is going to be much different than what I usually do. I’m going to be sharing my newest collection of fashion illustrations along with the inspiration behind them.

So in my capstone course, our main topic of discussion is Race and the Media – how they are connected and how they effect each other. This being said, I personally am very interested in fashion, art, design, etc. (obviously lol), so my immediate thought in relation to this class and our final project was that I wanted to incorporate our main topic with fashion and illustration. All of my discussion and research will be based on the American Fashion Industry, since I am from the US, so please keep that in mind while you are reading.

As I’ve gotten more ‘into’ illustration and drawn more and more people, I started to get really bothered by the fact that I was only drawing white women. I just truly didn’t have the ability to accurately draw any other race and I started to hate that. This put me in a pretty hard place, because contrary to what most people think, changing a style for whatever reason (mine being to incorporate diversity) can be very difficult. So I started to do some research into illustrators I like, who incorporate diversity into their work that I could draw inspiration from.

Then, I found Holly Nichols Illustration. I initially found her on Instagram, but her website is a more in depth look at her recent work. Now, I didn’t want my style to be the same as hers, but I drew a lot of inspiration from her process and how she uses color. She always does color before line and layers multiple colors on top of each other to build depth and add accuracy. So once I saw how she builds color in order to show racial diversity, I was well on my way to work on a new style.

I also wanted to research more deeply the effect systematic racism has had on the industry:

First up, the New York Times’ writer Vanessa Friedman made a post before the 2015 New York Fashion Week. Friedman stated that only three of the 260 fashion designers with “any global reach” were African American. She also shared that there were only 12 African American designers out of 470 in the Council of Fashion Designers of America. I do acknowledge that these stats may have changed, but this was only three years ago, so there’s no way it’s much different now. Friedman goes on to say that the American Fashion Industry reflects more the British, French, or Italian Fashion Industries, because of the lack of African American representation.

The Fashion Law sort of followed this point with the idea that the striking lack of color in fashion is because people of color are not being a part of the “creative vision” of many, many big designers. I had never thought of this being a reason why people of other races aren’t included in fashion the same way that white people are. This is, sadly, very true. TFL made the point, though, that in our ‘millennial’ modern society, “social media [has given] a voice to experts and amateurs alike,” which should give some hope to helping this issue.

To get the perspective of these people being shut out, Vice reporter Erica Euse actually talked to prominent people of color in the fashion industry and got input on their own experiences. Preston Chaunsumlit, a casting director, discussed the blatant racism that has been shown toward him at his own model castings. He said that receptionists and interns have told be before that he had to take the service elevator, thinking he was making a delivery, or they asked him if he had their “teriyaki chicken”. The fact that they assumed his job, because he is Asian just further shows the stereotypes that are still active today. Euse also talked to Miyako Bellizzi, a stylist,  who talked about the days when she modeled. Bellizzi said that she was only cast when the job specifications asked for a “mixed-Asian girl”, rather than needing a general model. She also said she felt people hired her in order to meet their “quota… of one black person and one Asian.” This shows that the standard in fashion is white, and in order for other races to be hired, certain specifications need to be added on top of the job requirements in order for them to be even considered to be hired. It is so shocking and mind blowing to me that white is the standard.

And finally, Iowa State University published a criticism of fashion illustration textbooks for teaching a lack in variety of races, sizes, and genders. In my personal experience, I can say that this is so true. Fashion illustration textbooks and courses really need to be updated to not only teach students how to draw white people, but also a variety of races. I would say that my story earlier shows a prime example of this.

And now for the collection! If you would like to purchase prints of these illustrations, please contact me or Captivating Home Collection for more information. Also be sure to follow me if you enjoyed this post, so that you can see my posts in the future!

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Author: Meredith Rice

I created a video of my photo-voice presentation from my capstone course, narrating the relationship between a minority movement and an outside group (namely white reactions in the face of black advocacy or success).