At Work With… Elizabeth Hansen, Managing Director at Texas Archive of the Moving Image
The ‘At Work With…’ Interview Series is our way of bringing you behind-the-scenes with the names and businesses included in our Texas Production Directory (TPD). We want to showcase the creatives that cover all levels of production experience, backgrounds, and geographies around the state.
This week’s spotlight is on Elizabeth Hansen, Managing Director at Texas Archive of the Moving Image (TAMI), based in Austin and a Texan for 11 years off and on.
Your claim to fame: What special skill or fun fact differentiates you from others?
Texas Archive of the Moving Image (TAMI) is one of the only projects of its type in the nation and perhaps the world. We act as a film preservation hub for the state of Texas providing digitization services, sharing archival content via our website, and working with communities, artists, educators, and filmmakers to create new resources out of archival films and videos. By opening our doors to anyone with Texas-related films or videos, we have built a diverse collection, including local television, home movies, industrial and educational films, advertisements and newsreels all available for the public to watch at TexasArchive.org.
What’s the most memorable experience on a project or production that you’ve had and what made it so special?
Definitely when Melton Barker’s The Kidnapper’s Foil was added to the National Film Registry. Barker was an itinerant filmmaker from Texas who made the same film with children in communities across the US almost 500 times. Very few of the films still exist, but the majority of those that do are available to watch at TexasArchive.org. TAMI founder Caroline Frick is the world’s foremost authority on Barker and has drawn attention to his story through her search for his lost films. Also, it was great to see one of our film subjects written up in the New York Times!
What advice have you been given that continues to be helpful in your work?
A little bit goes a long way. We have lots of great content, but sometimes the best movement of a film or video is at the 20-minute mark. On our website, we have some tools that help navigate video highlights, but we have also begun segmenting videos and posting them to TikTok, YouTube and as native files on social media. Those are great places to view the greatest hits of TAMI when you aren’t quite sure where to start.
In your industry, collaboration is the key to success. How do you best foster collaboration with your colleagues from project to project?
TAMI is a small team and everyone has very specific things they are responsible for on a daily basis. But everyone has a passion and commitment to the mission. So, when we do more actively collaborate on programs like the Texas Film Round-Up and our new series, Archive Dive, it’s exciting for the whole team to have a new challenge or goal to work towards. Even if it’s just observing and giving feedback, every team member has a role in helping us further the organization.
What tools and supplies can’t you live without in your job and why?
It’s hard to rank these. The internet, for both sharing our videos and for staff communication in times of COVID. Our server and back-up files from the videos we have digitized. Our videotape machines and film scanner. The people who have shared their films and videos with us.
What’s the best part about working in Texas?
Texans! Much of our online collection is made up of films and videos contributed by Texans across the state to the Texas Film Round-Up program. We are honored that these Texans wanted to be a part of the project and have entrusted us with sharing their Texas stories!
Interview has been edited for brevity.
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