Utilizing movie technology for documentation, education, and advertising was an innovative and ambitious idea for the RBMVE to undertake. Keeping 1930’s era film equipment safe and functioning in rugged conditions posed many challenges, but RBMVE Director, Ansel Hall, knew that the value was worth the risk. Hall supported the cinematographers with patience and encouragement when things did not go according to plan, and as much supply stock as he was able to provide.
Up until very recently The ONWARD Project has located moving image records created by the RBMVE in many collections, but has been able to view only a portion of it. For many archives, funding and resource shortages, preservation considerations, and technology constraints make it difficult to facilitate viewer access to early moving image collections and to prioritize digitization. In 2018, the Center of Southwest Studies at Fort Lewis College, was awarded grant funding from the National Film Preservation Foundation and the Colorado Historical Records Advisory Board to digitize RBMVE films from their Ansel Hall collection. The ONWARD Project has seen a few clips so far, shared with you below, and is so excited to see more of these important films! Our thanks to the Center for Southwest Studies for making them available to us.