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Rick Prelinger Presents Lost Landscapes: Los Angeles


Rick Prelinger is an archivist, writer, filmmaker, UC Santa Cruz professor of film and digital media. He also founded and runs the San Francisco-based Prelinger Library as well as the appropriation-friendly Prelinger Archives, a free online clearinghouse of thousands of ephemeral films — think educational and advertising films, newsreels, and home movies.

For fans of LA history, his silent film “Lost Landscapes: Los Angeles” is a must-see. It uses never-before-seen archival footage of greater Los Angeles to tell a story about history and forgetting, borrowed from home movies, newsreels, educational, industrial and amateur films, even studio “process plates” (footage used in movie scenes using rear screen projection).

As Prelinger told DnA in 2015, “what I’d like to do is assist in the conversation about what kind of city you want to live in. And one of the ways to do that is by showing a working landscape of some years back and, is this where we want to go, did this work, how did we get from that place to this place?”