Interviewing Today’s Young Chaplin Scholars

Interviewing Today’s Young Chaplin Scholars

Last weekend I was attending a conference in Boston and noticed on the schedule a paper entitled “The Gold Rush (1925) on the Other Side of the Pacific.” The presentation wasn’t really on Charlie or his work, but even so, the research the young Chinese graduate student was doing for her dissertation project-tracing the significant influence silent film had (she was focusing in this talk just on silent comedy) on bringing western ideas and western lifeways to Shanghai China in the 1920s-I found exceptionally interesting. She had discovered, for instance, that Charlie’s publicity machine had used the savvy strategy of sending seemingly personal Chinese New Year cards to citizens’ homes, greeting them in the traditional Chinese way, but also taking the opportunity to introduce both himself and his latest film.

As this recent experience proves, the longevity-the immortality-of anything and anyone can be measured by the enthusiasm and dedication of the young people coming up for that something or someone. In this month’s newsletter, I have interviewed three young Chaplin scholars who offer us a glimpse of the future. With the online Chaplin archive that Cineteca di Bologna is creating and the general opening-up of Chaplin’s papers, records, etc. to research-all developments that have occurred only in the last five years or so-it will be ever more interesting to see the projects that arise. So much of the archive has been untouched by scholars; there is so much more to do. So perhaps this newsletter is as much a call to action as it is a peek into the research now being done. As a scholar myself, I look forward to the work and workers to come.

For this newsletter, I have interviewed Sarah Kenney, Andrea Dresseno, and Kendra Lisum.
Sarah Kenney SK: Born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, Sarah Kenney is a college student at the University of Memphis, studying film and technical theatre. In her spare time, she works on various theatrical events, directs a puppet troupe of 14, and writes short stories as well as scripts. A Chaplin enthusiast, she hopes to devote part of her future career to the legacy of Charlie Chaplin in the 21st century.
Andrea Dresseno AD: Andrea Dresseno was born in Vicenza, Italy in 1980. After receiving a high school diploma, he graduated in 2006 in Art, Music and Film at the University of Bologna, with a dissertation about the Chaplin Project, where he has worked since 2002. Andrea has also been writing for several years for videogames magazines. He currently lives in Bologna.
Kendra Lisum KL: Kendra Lisum was born and raised in Newton Falls, Ohio. Last October, she was the featured student presenter at The Buster Keaton Celebration in Iola, Kansas where she spoke on Mabel Normand. She recently graduated with an English degree from the University of Nevada, Reno, and now resides in Missoula, Montana.


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