Doctoral candidate finds home in moving image archive

Audrey Deiser • Oct. 19, 2017
Andy Uhrich, film archivist and assistant librarian at the Indiana University Libraries Moving Image Archive, sets up a projector in the screening room (Wells Library 048) where students can come to screen films at high quality. (Courtney Christensen | The Media School)

Andy Uhrich can pinpoint the exact time in his life that his love for film became serious. His elementary school class would watch educational films, and it was his job to run the film strips.

“Now I’m working on a collection that has a lot of those films, so it seems to make some sort of sense,” Uhrich said. “Not saying that it did then! But it’s worked out that way.”

Uhrich, a Media School doctoral candidate, said Indiana University’s numerous resources for film students drew him in, and he hasn’t looked back since. 

“I came to get my Ph.D. because I knew there was a great film studies program, great film production going on and I knew the IU Cinema was brand new,” he said. “Overall, there’s just a lot of great film-related resources on campus, and I thought it would be a great place to bring a lot of my interests together.”  

Then in 2014, he accepted a job as a film archivist and assistant librarian with the IU Libraries Moving Image Archive. Uhrich has a hard time pinning down his favorite piece in the more than 100,00 film collection, but he does distinctly remember one film that came across his desk recently.

“It’s a film from 1952 called Grass Roots by Ed Feil,” said Uhrich. The film was made for the Cleveland Republican Party to encourage citizens to get more involved in politics. The film’s themes include overlooked segments of the population.

“By seeing these old films, you can see that history sort of re-enacts itself,” he said. “There are cultural trends that last for decades.”