98 min, 16mm-to-digital
78rpm is the first feature film by Brooklyn-based artist/filmmaker Joel Schlemowitz. The film is a fond documentary paean to the gramophone and the 78 record collector. 78rpm is amply equipped with expert talking heads – Schlemowitz interviews vintage culture mavens including Shien Lee of Dances of Vice and the London-based Shellac Sisters; authors and experts in the field; 78 record collectors including Michael Cumella of the Antique Phonograph Music program on WMFU; Jonathan Ward of Excavated Shellac; bandleader Vince Giordano; and even the grandson of the inventor of the gramophone, Oliver Berliner. But far from a dry and solemn history lesson, 78RPM is a film of mercurial high-spirited enthusiasm, featuring an array of hand-processed 16mm scenes of cinematic hijinks. Schlemowitz puts the music itself front and center, pausing to play a generous selection of old shellac records in their (3-minute) entirety – from hot jazz to Enrico Caruso to hillbilly ballads. The film’s subjects also ponder the rapid change of technology and the specter of ever-increasing obsolescence, as well as seeking to answer the ultimate question intrinsic to the 78 record: “Why 78 revolutions per minute?”

Director’s bio

Joel Schlemowitz is an experimental filmmaker and artist based in Brooklyn, NY. Screenings of his films have included the Ann Arbor Film Festival, New York Film Festival, and Tribeca Film Festival. His work has received awards from the Chicago Underground Film Festival, The Dallas Video Festival, and elsewhere. Shows of installation artworks include Anthology Film Archives, and Microscope Gallery in Brooklyn, NY. He teaches filmmaking at The New School in New York and is the Resident Film Programmer and Arcane Media Specialist at the Morbid Anatomy Museum.

Michael Cumella
Jim Shulman
Loren Schoenberg
Amelia Foxtrot
Timothy Fabrizio
Foxtrot Fanny
Dave Guttridge
Jonathan Ward
Oliver Berliner
Bill Sparkle
Mark Katz
Rod Lauman
Ethan Crenson
Laura Dame
Aldo Mancusi
Vince Giordano
Jonathan Hiam
Rani Singh
Shien Lee
Denny Daniel
Fabio Roberti
Sean Miller

Hazel Honeysuckle
Michael Cumella
Michael Haar
Zoe Lasden-Lyman
Steven Levine
Professor Adam Smasher
Bradley Eros
Masae Satouchi
Dame Darcy
The Luvely Rae
Nana Masuda
Kaoru Matsuoka
Masae Satouchi
Matteo De Mauro
Matthew Silver

East Village Follies at Webster Hall, New York NY
Eastside Show Room, Austin TX
Thomas Edison National Historical Park, West Orange NJ
Henley Festival, Henley-on-Thames UK
Johnson Victrola Museum, Dover DE
New York Hot Jazz Festival at Mehanata, New York NY
Victrola Repair Services, St Johnsbury VT
Der Kommissar, Brooklyn NY
The Enrico Caruso Museum of America, Brooklyn NY
Jalopy Theatre and School of Music, Brooklyn NY
The Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives 
of Recorded Sound, New York NY
WFMU, Jersey City NJ
Dances of Vice, New York NY
The Black Cotton Club, London UK
The Steampunk World’s Fair, Piscataway NJ
The Jazz Age Lawn Party, Governors Island NY

© 2015 Joel Schlemowitz