The Yale Film Study Center has received a grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation to support preservation of James Baldwin: From Another Place, a documentary by Yale alumnus Sedat Pakay MFA '68. The 12-minute short was shot in Istanbul in 1970 during a time when Baldwin was living in exile in Turkey. In 2017, a year after Pakay died, the FSC acquired original elements and prints of his films, along with work prints, audio elements, and outtakes from the documentary.
Film scholar Magdalena Zaborowska said of the film, "Pakay's little-known cinematic gem records the writer's movements through the city of Istanbul over a three-day period in May 1970 and frames Baldwin's assertion with seductive photography of private interiors, city streets, and a boat ride on the Bosporus. Like no other existing documentary, the black-and-white film captures the profound paradox of Baldwin's transatlantic vantage point by showing how he both belongs and remains an outsider in the teeming half-European, half-Asian Turkish metropolis."
Photographer and filmmaker Sedat Pakay was born in Istanbul in 1945, and in 1967 he began shooting portraits of well-known artists in a project that would eventually include such subjects as Mark Rothko, Andy Warhol, Gordon Parks, and Josef Albers. James Baldwin: From Another Place was his second film, following one made earlier that year about his Yale School of Art and Architecture instructor entitled Walker Evans: His Time - His Presence - His Silence.
With the NFPF's support, the FSC will be able to create a new 35mm preservation negative and screening print, as well as digital preservation elements, from the original 35mm camera negative and magnetic soundtrack.
Read about the 74 films to be saved through the 2019 NFPF Preservation Grants.