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David Shepard: 1940-2017

Unfortunately, I never had the honour of meeting David Shepard, who died this week aged 76, but it’s true to say that his work has had a tremendous impact on my life. I wrote a short obituary of him for Sight & Sound, which you can read here.

Many wonderful tributes have been posted to this man who did so much to rescue, preserve and share American silent film (and more): from Thomas Gladysz at the Louise Brooks Society; Howie Movshovitz at the Denver Silent Film Festival; Kyle Westphal on the Chicago Film Society blog; on the Cartoon Research site; from the brilliant Movies Silently site; and on Nitrateville (who changed the famous banner for the occasion) for starters. There will be many I have missed. Others have posted on social media or issued statements that were quoted in this very nice piece by The Hollywood Reporter.

On Facebook, the San Francisco Silent Film Festival announced that the 2017 event would be dedicated to Shepard. A splendid idea. He is already very much missed.

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3 thoughts on “David Shepard: 1940-2017”

  1. Like many of us, I was very aware of his importance. I was fortunate to exchange a few emails with him, but – oddly – didn’t know what he looked like until today. His significance is made clear by the sheer number of times his name comes up whenever people watch silent films and see his name. He was more than a mechanic. He had an artist’s sensitivity when it came to making decisions about the most important thing about films – how they should look, not just how well they were restored.

  2. All that’s been said on tribute to David is true. But he was also a pioneer in getting old films out of the archives and into the public domain, through new media like laser discs and then smaller silver discs.

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