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Renan (Sheldon) Papers
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Collection Overview
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The collection contains the papers of Sheldon Renan, during his professional affiliation with the Pacific Film Archive at the University of California, Berkeley. This includes his early work, starting in 1967, of founding the film archive and being appointed the PFA's first director up until his resignation in 1975. Therefore the scope of the collection is from 1967 to 1975. The collection is a record of Renan's work in developing the PFA. The Renan papers in the collection include his notes and correspondence on film programming projects presented at the PFA, as well as film festivals and conference papers Renan attended while acting as the PFA director. Sheldon Renan's work represents a significant contribution to the achievements of the modern Pacific Film Archive today. This archival collection is an important part of the PFA's heritage.
Sheldon Renan was born in Portland, Oregon in 1941. He graduated from Yale University in 1963 and prior to his arrival in Berkeley he wrote television commercials in New York City and then worked for film importing companies. As a recipient of a Rockefeller grant he was able to write a book about experimental films, "Introduction to American Underground Film". Renan then came to Berkeley from New York City in 1966. Renan is considered to be the principal founder of the Pacific Film Archive at the University Art Museum, University of California, Berkeley. Using the model he had seen at New York's Museum of Modern Art where the film department served as archive, study center and exhibition program, Renan set out to start the same type of organization in the Bay Area. Renan began by proposing this model to the San Francisco Museum of Art and then the Oakland Museum but both institutions turned him down. However, the University Art Museum at Berkley's new director, Peter Selz agreed. Sheldon Renan was appointed the Pacific Film Archive's first director in 1967. In September 1967 film programs were presented on a weekly basis at Wheeler Auditorium on the university campus, and sometimes in a Dwinelle lecture hall. However, in its beginnings the official existence of the Pacific Film Archive was not recognized by the university administration. This situation evolved and on January 22, 1971 the PFA was given its permanent official home in the University Art Museum's new building on Durant Avenue.
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The collection is open for research use.