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Northeastern professor uncovers oldest Japanese American film

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(Ronald W. Erdrich/The Abilene Reporter-News via AP)
ADVANCE FOR MONDAY AUG. 22 - In this Aug. 5, 2016 photo, Movie reels and old films left over from the Old Texas Theater's years as a movie house sit on display in a cabinet within the Ballinger venue in Ballinger, Texas. Things have been up and down for the Old Texas Theater over the years. Now, the venue is coming back once again.

For 108 years, “The Oath of the Sword,” a 1914 silent film released by one of a handful of Japanese American film companies, has gone unseen by audiences. Tucked away in the archives of Rochester’s George Eastman Museum, the only remaining print of the film was collecting dust–until Denise Khor discovered it.

Now, thanks to Khor, a Northeastern associate professor of Asian American and visual studies, the film–potentially the oldest Asian American film on record–is being restored and will, for the first time in 108 years, return to the screen. Although it’s only stretched across three reels and 30 minutes, the silent drama reveals the untold story of an entirely alternative network of film production at a time when the medium was just getting started.

Continue reading at News@Northeastern.

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