Published: April 22, 2022

The Center for Humanities and the Arts (CHA) and the Center for Research Data & Digital Scholarship (CRDDS) are pleased to announce that Emilie Upczak, an independent filmmaker and assistant teaching professor in the Department of Cinema Studies and Moving Image Arts has been awarded a one-year faculty fellowship as part of a joint collaboration with the centers. 

Emilie UpczakUpczak’s project, “Feminism and Queer Identity in a 1970s Commune" will bring vital context and attention to material from CU Boulder Libraries’ Ann Roy papers, a collection that includes film, artwork, creative writing, photographs, letters, diaries, and even textile samples, reflecting Roy’s life and work as an artist, poet, feminist theological scholar, and resistance activist in the US, Mexico and Central America.

"I’m excited to collaborate with Emilie and offer CRDDS’ expertise on sustainable digital project tools and infrastructure, and to critically engage in the research lifecycle from a film-as-data perspective,” Digital Scholarship Librarian Nickoal Eichmann-Kalwara said.

In 2020 when opportunities for students to film outside of class were extremely limited, Upczak knew she needed to get creative. So she began asking students to use the archives for film research and made this part of the curriculum. 

“There is so much footage to explore in the archives that have just never been used or seen,” Upczak explains. 

It was through a conversation with Jamie Wagner, Moving Image Archivist with the Libraries’ Rare and Distinctive Collections (RaD), that Upczak first learned about Ann Roy. 

“[Roy] is a person of historical note who has not been given any recognition, which happens often depending on your race, gender or orientation,” she said. 

The purpose of Upczak’s fellowship project is multi-faceted. She intends to use archival materials to inform a screenplay biopic about Ann Roy’s time in Mexico and to create a digital exhibit about Roy’s life. 

“All of this research that goes into filmmaking is just sitting somewhere,” Upczak explains. “Why not create a digital exhibition where people can access it? A lot of films have social issues that you can use to mobilize an audience with.”

Through this fellowship, Upczak also plans to create a replicable model for how filmmakers can work with moving image archives and make the research that goes into screenplay writing publicly accessible. 

“RaD has only begun our process of identifying and digitizing moving image materials in the last few years,” Wagner said. “Emilie has been incredibly supportive, patient, and innovative in helping us develop our workflows and serving as a model for research use of our media collections.”

The CHA/CRDDS Faculty Fellowship was established to support faculty interested in applying computational methods to or multimodal presentation of humanities and arts-related research questions to enhance their discoveries. 

“I find Emilie personally to be a vital artist whose film projects capture the essence of what the CHA represents—amplifying stories about humanity from a range of perspectives and media,” Jennifer Ho, director of the CHA said. 

Upczak plans to work with the University Archives to process Ann Roy’s collection by the fall of 2022 and will work on the digital exhibition and screenplay in the Spring of 2023.