Coming Attractions: C47: A Film Journal

Ooligan Press is pleased to announce a coming attraction: C47: A Film Journal. The idea for this project came Dr. Michael J. Clark, director of Portland Center for the Public Humanities (PCPH), several years back. But, due to resource and time constraints, that idea did not become a real possibility until last winter, at which point Dr. Clark approached Ooligan Press publisher Abbey Gaterud. The proposed project: a new journal of film and media studies published by students at Portland State University, with Clark serving as editor in chief. Content acquisition and editorial discretion would fall to Dr. Clark and coeditor in chief Forest Pyle, while the design, copyediting, and production would be handled by Ooligan Press staff. With this goal in mind, a small group of students came together to set the work in motion.

Preliminary undertakings included researching production schedules, building profit and loss spreadsheets, and collecting design inspiration. However, before any of that could really get going, the journal needed a title. There was a multitude of ideas tossed around the PCPH office where the project team often gathered, but it was “C47” that stuck. For those unfamiliar with the term, which came into vogue during the American postwar years, “C47” is a film industry signifier for a clothespin. Grips—lighting and rigging technicians on a film set—began using the term when studios refused to write off the expense of the clothespins used to secure lighting equipment. At the time, many grips employed by the studio system were military veterans. The inspiration for the moniker was the Douglas C-47 Skytrain. Integral to their success during World War II, this military transport aircraft was used widely by the Allied Forces. Once the project team settled on C47: A Film Journal for the title, design work began. Typography, logo, interior page layout, and cover design all had to be considered.

Design was well underway, but a major component remained in short supply—content! It was decided early on that C47: A Film Journal would be a singular take on an old theme: the traditionally erudite and uninviting journal. This journal would seek to strike a harmonious balance between the popular and the academic, the idea being that both the seasoned scholar and the curious connoisseur could find something of interest between the covers. Integral to achieving this harmony was the decision to make each volume director-centric. And, being an entirely Oregon-based production, it was only appropriate that the first volume be dedicated to Portland’s very own Gus Van Sant. A limited call for submissions was sent out late last summer and several essays were acquired, but not a sufficient amount to constitute print publication. Undeterred, the group put their heads together and came up with a novel solution—open-access publishing.

The digital edition of C47:A Film Journal is forthcoming and will be available through PDXScholar. The initial essays will be freely available at that location; in addition, prospective contributors can submit essays there as well. Rolling submissions will be accepted throughout the spring until a sufficient array of writings are amassed, at which point high quality physical editions will be printed, freely distributed to students, and available for purchase to the general public.

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