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Olive Trees of Justice Restoration Project – June 11, 2016

Screening and luncheon to raise funds for the restoration of James Blue’s only feature length film, The Olive Trees of Justice (1962) was held at New York City’s new Metrograph Theatre on June 11.  The Olive Trees of Justice was shot in Algeria during the war of independence from France.  It was shot under the guise of a documentary about the Algerian wine industry.  James Blue personally carried the film to Cannes in 1962 and walked away with the first American Critics Choice Award.  The James Blue Alliance is raising funds to restore this important film. Please consider contributing to this cause. Special thanks to Jake Perlin of the Metrograph Theatre for hosting the event, and JBA Board Member Richard Herskowitz for event planning and coordination.  

News and Events

The March Screening – Jan. 19th MLK Day!

The March – 1963 (Restored Version) – Screening January 19th, 2014 at The Waypost, 3120 N. Williams Ave with special guests jazz ensemble Mohawk Avenue! Screening at 7pm, music following.  No cover. On August 28, 1963, 250,000 Americans converged on Washington DC to attend The March for Jobs and Freedom. This 33 minute documentary is perhaps the most important documentary made of the events that day.  The film is listed in the National Film Registry as being one of the most culturally significant films ever made and was recently restored by the US National Archives. The film was prohibited from being shown in the US until recently when it literally took an act of congress to allow it to be shown domestically. Directed by the late James Blue on behalf the United States Information Agency. Introduction to screening by his nephew Daniel Blue, Secretary, the James Blue Alliance. Come check out this historic film! TheMarch2

Scene from James Blue's The March

Scene from James Blue’s The March


 

November/December 1859 Oregon Magazine Article:

Who Was James Blue

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By Max Giffin

James Dormeyer was born three hours northeast of Paris in the Lorraine region of France. Just across the German border, the Lorraine Valley, was, in 1944, occupied by German forces. When Dormeyer was 8 years old, American troops led by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower liberated his hometown. “The fascination for everything American ran back to my childhood because my grandfather often told me the story of the fairy Vivianne who would take good children with her on a winged duck all the way to California,” he said. “And when later, in 1944, American soldiers arrived to liberate my town and country and also give away chocolates and chewing gum, I was sure that most of these soldiers had come from California and could be nothing but nice.” James Blue, said Dormeyer, effortlessly countenanced these childhood images. “He was the America one dreams of. He had the beautiful face of America, an America spontaneous, tender, almost naive, bold and contradictory.” Read More.


 

Mid Century Oregon Genius film event brings the work of two of Oregon’s first Oscar-nominated filmmakers, James Ivory and James Blue, to the Hollywood Theater

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Ivory introduces his award-winning film Maurice on Friday October 10; Ivory’s Autobiography of a Princess screens on Saturday October 11 as does James Blue’s Cannes Critics Prize-winning Olive Trees of Justice

Portland, Ore. (October, 2014)James Blue, Oregon’s first Oscar-nominated filmmaker, posthumously joins award-winning filmmaker James Ivory, for the launch of the Mid Century Oregon Genius screening series at Portland’s historic Hollywood Theatre on October 10 and 11, 2014. Ivory comes to Portland next week to celebrate his colleague James Blue.

Mid Century Oregon Genius celebrates the first generation of sound era independent filmmakers to come from Oregon. Presented by Oregon Movies, A to Z, and directed by Oregon writer and film curator/historian Anne Richardson, the event is supported by Kinsman Foundation, Miller Foundation, James and Richard Blue Foundation and the Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission.

James Ivory and James Blue both grew up in Oregon. According to Richardson, “the two Oscar-nominees crossed paths as they were building sets for a student play at the University of Oregon. Blue graduated in 1953. He was Oscar nominated for his documentary, A Few Notes on Our Food Problem, in 1969. His death at age 49 in 1980 brought an abrupt end to a career which combined filmmaking, education and advocacy.” The James and Richard Blue Foundation will soon bequeath the entire James Blue Archive to the University of Oregon.

James Ivory will attend the event to introduce his film Maurice, the winner of the Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1987. The film screens on Friday, October 10 at 7 p.m. Click here for tickets. Ivory’s Autobiography of a Princess will be screened on Saturday, October 11, 11:30a. (NOTE: Media are welcome to attend the event but Ivory will not be granting interviews, the family of James Blue will be available for interviews.)

On Saturday, October 11, 1 p.m., James Blue’s brother, Richard Blue, will introduce The Olive Trees of Justice, which won the Critics Prize at Cannes in 1962. “The Olive Trees Of Justice”, James Blue’s first narrative feature, was also his last. From this point on, all his work would be in documentary. Yet a theme he returned to throughout his career – that of working with a community to express itself on film – is in full display in this, his least characteristic work,” says Richardson. Click here for tickets and more information.

The Olive Trees of Justice will be followed by a panel discussion about the life and career of James Blue. Richard Blue, the brother of James Blue, will be joined by two long time friends and colleagues of James Blue: French Canadian filmmaker James Dormeyer and Portland-based American Film Institute (AFI) Master Teacher and screenwriter Gill Dennis.

James Blue was a revolutionary and award-winning filmmaker, rebel, educator and change agent for social justice. Few people know that it was Blue who directed The March (1964), the essential film of the Civil Rights Movement featuring Martin Luther King’s celebrated “I Have a Dream” speech. In 2008, “The March” was selected for preservation in the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry taking its place among the most important films ever made.

The James and Richard Blue Foundation was founded to showcase James Blue’s innovative work and teachings, and inspire a new generation of filmmakers, students and teachers to further his legacy of participatory investigative media. The James and Richard Blue Foundation plans to bequeath his entire body of work to the University of Oregon Special Collections and Archives.

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Blue Family launches nonprofit foundation and first James Blue Award to support filmmakers who exemplify Blue’s socially engaging, interactive methods for giving voice to voiceless communities around the world

Portland, Oregon (April, 2014)—Who was James Blue? Revolutionary and award-winning filmmaker, rebel, and change agent for social justice James Blue died in 1980 at 49 leaving behind a remarkable legacy. The intensely ambitious filmmaker, who graduated from Jefferson High School and University of Oregon, turned his back on a Hollywood career to focus on democratizing media production. He was fascinated by/ haunted by/conflicted about film as an exercise of power and his unconventional style of filmmaking (and film education) influenced an entire generation of filmmakers. Still, few people know of this rare national treasure. But thanks to the collaboration of the Blue family and the University of Oregon, James Blue’s own voice will now be heard and seen in perpetuity.

James Blue was a man of firsts:

  • Oregon’s first Oscar-nominated filmmaker in 1968 (A Few Notes on Our Food Problem);
  • America’s first Cannes Critics’ Prize winner in 1962 (Olive Trees of Justice);
  • The first filmmaker ever to receive a Ford Foundation grant for his project interviewing leading international directors working with non-actors;
  • First faculty recruited to the Center for Advanced Film Studies at American Film Institute;
  • Founder of the documentary film programs at both Rice University and Center for Media Study at SUNY Buffalo;
  • Founder the Southwest Alternative Media Project (SWAMP) in Houston.
  • Member of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) media funding panel which launched the first network of regional film centers including Portland’s Northwest Film Center.

Few people know that it was Blue who directed The March (1964), the essential film of the Civil Rights Movement featuring Martin Luther King’s celebrated “I Have a Dream” speech. In 2008, “The March” was selected for preservation in the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry taking its place among the most important films ever made. Add to that, among some of Blue’s students while he was teaching at UCLA were rocker Jim Morrison (The Doors) and Francis Ford Coppola. You would think with such lofty credentials, James Blue would be a recognizable name in American film history, but as remarkable as his accomplishments are, his American obscurity is even more so.

So why do so few know about James Blue? Legally bound by one employer, the United States Information Agency (USIA) and the 1948 Smith-Mundt Act, which dictated that US propaganda films not be distributed in America, Blue’s films could not be shown in his home country. It didn’t help his notoriety in the U.S. that his early films were made in foreign languages and in foreign countries and not about subject matter germane to most Americans at the time. Blue’s work for the USIA included A Few Notes on Our Food Problem, which won an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Feature. Thirty more years would pass before the name James Blue would attach itself to his international reputation of revolutionary filmmaker in America.

Now, in order to preserve and share Blue’s complete body of work, Richard Blue, chairman of the James and Richard Blue Foundation will bequeath the James Blue Archive to the University of Oregon Library Special Collections and University Archives. The foundation also presents the James blue Award to the filmmaker who best personifies the humanist values of James Blue.

“The mission of the foundation is not only to preserve and share James’ complete body of work, but to support film educators, filmmakers, researchers and students whose values and activities advance his vision of participatory media,” said Richard Blue. “We want to remember James Blue as an extraordinary filmmaker, documentarian and influential educator. His life work has left a legacy of profound implications for social justice as he documented the hopes and dreams of people whose voices are rarely—if ever—heard by people in power. James had an innate belief that ‘democracy demanded that our public media be more diverse in giving access to a variety of new voices.’

About the James and Richard Blue Foundation

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The mission of the James and Richard Blue Foundation is to honor and celebrate the life and legacy of award-winning filmmaker James Blue (1930—1980) and to support film educators, filmmakers, researchers and students whose values and activities advance his vision of ‘participatory media.’ James Blue was an unconventional documentarian who used film to help marginalized communities tell their own stories while helping audiences better understand the complexities of the human condition.

His life’s work had profound implications for social justice as he documented the hopes and dreams of people whose voices are rarely—if ever—heard by people in power.  One of Blue’s most inspiring films, “The March” (1964), is considered the essential documentary of the Civil Rights Movement and Martin Luther King Jr.’s celebrated “I Have a Dream” speech.

The foundation plans to bequeath the entire body of James Blue’s works and memoirs to the University of Oregon Libraries Special Collections and University Archives. The organization collaborates with the University of Oregon to preserve, conserve, restore and utilize the entire body of James Blue’s media legacy while supporting education in the art and craft of documentary filmmaking. The foundation aims to advance the core values of James Blue’s passion for using media to explore, connect and empower voiceless communities by awarding annual grants to students and emerging filmmakers who exemplify his artistry. For more on James Blue and his contributions to international film, visit:

http://jamesblue.uoregon.edu/

www.jamesbluetribute.com

facebook.com/JamesandRichardBlueFoundation.