Send your thoughts and prayers to David Shepard

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Harold Aherne

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Re: Send your thoughts and prayers to David Shepard

PostMon Jan 30, 2017 10:49 pm

I've been trying to formulate some thoughts this evening and I still don't know what to say -- other than to express my gratitude for the rarities he helped to preserve and make available, as well as to hope that the Blackhawk library will be well cared-for.

More importantly, I hope that that he and his family know how much his efforts meant, and continue to mean, to the world.

-HA
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Jeff Rapsis

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Re: Send your thoughts and prayers to David Shepard

PostMon Jan 30, 2017 10:56 pm

I've had the good fortune to work with David a few times and one thing about him that impressed me was what a cultured and worldly individual he is. Like a lot of people here, I first experienced silent film through prints of classic comedies that David made available through Blackhawk Films in the 1970s. That alone would assure his place in my pantheon of personal heroes. But much later, when I was delighted to make his acquaintance at Cinefest 2008, I found David's interest and expertise encompassed the whole range of early cinema, and it was augmented by a great depth of knowledge and understanding of the cultural traditions that underpinned so much of it. It's a uniquely broad perspective and I feel a lot of sadness at the thought of it no longer being present and available, along with so much else David has meant to anyone interested in older movies. And David would be the first to encourage anyone's interest in cinema, but could also play the curmudgeon when he wanted to, but always with a certain gentleness that's a rare quality in anyone. At that CInefest where I first encountered David, he had been in the audience for some short comedies that Dave Stevenson had brought and that I had accompanied. Afterwards, I eagerly sought out his opinion, and without commenting directly on my efforts, he guided me over to a dealer table to show me some books of authentic photoplay music and encouraged me to make a purchase or two. Without saying anything directly, he communicated exactly how he felt! To those of us who work in the field, he never gave out empty praise, which of course made compliments or kudos from David all the more meaningful. Cultured, genuine, knowledgeable, generous, and still very much in the thrall of cinema's magic after a lifetime of devotion to it—that's how I'm thinking of David right now.
Jeff Rapsis
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MattBarry

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Re: Send your thoughts and prayers to David Shepard

PostMon Jan 30, 2017 11:08 pm

I am deeply saddened by this news. David was the first person in the silent film community with whom I corresponded, and was extremely generous with his time and knowledge in answering my many questions. His restorations of silent classics on video were my main introduction to the world of silent film. Although we kept in touch over the years, I regret never having had a chance to meet him, because I would have liked to thank him in person for encouraging my interest in silent film, and his immeasurable contributions to film preservation.

I'll keep him and his family in my thoughts and prayers tonight.
__
Matt Barry
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Roseha

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Re: Send your thoughts and prayers to David Shepard

PostMon Jan 30, 2017 11:14 pm

I am so saddened by this sudden and terrible news. As a lover of silent film I know how much we are all in debt to his work and generosity.

Best wishes and prayers for Mr. Shepard and his family.
- Rosemary
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Agnes

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Re: Send your thoughts and prayers to David Shepard

PostMon Jan 30, 2017 11:15 pm

Very sad news. I met Mr. Shepard at the final Cinefest. He has done so much for film preservation , all cinefiles owe him a debt.
Agnes McFadden

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Brooksie

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Re: Send your thoughts and prayers to David Shepard

PostTue Jan 31, 2017 12:26 am

Every person who uses this website owes a debt of thanks to David, for all the reasons Mike lists in his tribute over at the Gallery of Mastheads thread, and many more.

His contributions to restoration can't be doubted, but arguably even more important is his advocacy. To love and deeply understand the medium is one thing. To encourage others to share your reverence is quite another. Whenever I introduce anyone to silent film, I provide them with the following excerpt from David's programme notes for Australia's Silent Film Festival, with particular emphasis on the final sentence.

"Silent films are not just sound films without the talking. They reach us through the poetry of motion, of metaphor, of meaning expressed through visual subtlety and magnification of detail. Although there were successful silent-era film experiments in 3-D, wide screen, color and sound, early film artists learned to convey ideas and emotions through inference and suggestion with tremendous emotional impact and in ways which sound would render unnecessary at best; obvious or clumsy at worst.

As you will see, the innovators and masters of this art raised visual storytelling to a level that remains valid, moving, and even awe-inspiring in the 21st century. One would not pity Scarlatti who composed without benefit of the modern piano, or Mozart who never had the resources of the modern symphony orchestra; similarly, the brains and sensibilities behind these silent films understood the potency they could achieve with what they had - moving pictures.

Treat their work with kindness and respect and it will reward you by casting its own magic spell."
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Ann Harding

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Re: Send your thoughts and prayers to David Shepard

PostTue Jan 31, 2017 3:39 am

I am very sad to hear about David Shepard's condition. I met him once briefly at the Pordenone Silent Film Festival. I can only thank him profusely for making so many French silent films available on DVD when over here nobody cares. I just hope somebody will carry on his good work.
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Arndt

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Re: Send your thoughts and prayers to David Shepard

PostTue Jan 31, 2017 4:35 am

This is very sad news. The silent film community owe a huge debt to Mr Shepard. What a great life's work.
MELIOR
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Wm. Charles Morrow

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Re: Send your thoughts and prayers to David Shepard

PostTue Jan 31, 2017 4:48 am

So sorry to hear this news. Although I never met him, his work has had a significant impact on my life. Best wishes to Mr. Shepard and his family.
-- Charlie Morrow
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MaryGH

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Re: Send your thoughts and prayers to David Shepard

PostTue Jan 31, 2017 6:29 am

So sorry to hear the news, my thoughts and prayers are with him.
Petition: Turner Enter./Warner Bros: Please digitalize Tom Tyler's FBO silent film westerns

http://bit.ly/2ueCvHe
---
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westegg

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Re: Send your thoughts and prayers to David Shepard

PostTue Jan 31, 2017 7:17 am

Terrible news. Very sad to learn this.
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maliejandra

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Re: Send your thoughts and prayers to David Shepard

PostTue Jan 31, 2017 7:49 am

I love the masthead. Nice tribute.

This makes me sad because although I have never had direct contact with him, I was always impressed by his willingness to reach out to fans of classic films for information, even just as a quick blurb on a message board. His work shows great care and attention; I knew I'd see a quality restoration if his name was attached.
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caldog123

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Re: Send your thoughts and prayers to David Shepard

PostTue Jan 31, 2017 8:21 am

Thank you all for the amazing support. I had David's son read each and every comment to him. He thanks all of you for your kind words. Much love.

Callan
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didi-5

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Re: Send your thoughts and prayers to David Shepard

PostTue Jan 31, 2017 8:46 am

What awful news. I didn't know him personally but very much aware of his work restoring and promoting silent cinema.
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Harlett O'Dowd

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Re: Send your thoughts and prayers to David Shepard

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Mitch Farish

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Re: Send your thoughts and prayers to David Shepard

PostTue Jan 31, 2017 9:08 am

Shocking news. I just took it for granted David would be around forever restoring films. The debt we owe him is too great to express in words. I'm saddened but grateful he's been around as long has he has, doing the important work that he does. My thoughts are with him and his family, and also with all of us who never met him but will still miss him immensely.
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BarneyS

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Re: Send your thoughts and prayers to David Shepard

PostTue Jan 31, 2017 9:08 am

Very sad news.
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Lostintime

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Re: Send your thoughts and prayers to David Shepard

PostTue Jan 31, 2017 9:26 am

Modern silents viewers have a strong debt with Mr. Shepard. Thanks to him, we have had the chance to discover and enjoy of so many famous and no so well known jewels presented in the best possible manner which in silents means a very dedicated work and love for the movies.

Thanks for all these great moments and all the best for a fast recover, Mr, Shepard.
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Harlett O'Dowd

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Re: Send your thoughts and prayers to David Shepard

PostTue Jan 31, 2017 9:28 am

Courtesy of Annette D'Agostino Lloyd:

Film preservationist David Shepard is in grave condition, fighting Stage 4 cancer in Oregon. He has chosen hospice care in lieu of chemotherapy and is among family and friends. If you would like to send him a card, please mail it to the following (cut and paste if necessary):

DAVID SHEPARD - ROOM 3337
ASANTE ROGUE REGIONAL MED CTR
2825 E BARNETT RD
MEDFORD OR 97504-8332
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MaryGH

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Re: Send your thoughts and prayers to David Shepard

PostTue Jan 31, 2017 9:35 am

I never met David nor knew him personally - glanced at the huge list of films he has helped restore - quite an achievement, his work is greatly appreciated.

Keeping him in my thoughts and prayers.
Petition: Turner Enter./Warner Bros: Please digitalize Tom Tyler's FBO silent film westerns

http://bit.ly/2ueCvHe
---
Aventuras de Tom Tyler

http://triggertomblog.blogspot.com/
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R Michael Pyle

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Re: Send your thoughts and prayers to David Shepard

PostTue Jan 31, 2017 9:50 am

This is painful. His calling is a gift to all of us here. Our gift in return is an immense appreciation - and that appreciation is very deep. This is like separating from a piece of each of us, but what he's left here only grows in proportion to its worth to the future, and that's a gift that doesn't separate, but is a springboard to even farther reaches...
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Smari1989

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Re: Send your thoughts and prayers to David Shepard

PostTue Jan 31, 2017 10:22 am

I am indeed very sorry to hear this. Though I have never known Mr. Shepard personally, any fan of silent films has come to regard his name as synonymous with HIGH QUALITY PROJECTS.
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Re: Send your thoughts and prayers to David Shepard

PostTue Jan 31, 2017 11:58 am

Thanks so much for being a gracious conduit in both directions, Callan.

I've never had the pleasure of meeting David in person (I believe we've both lived in NY, but at different times?), but my communication with him has lasted decades, by way of snailmail, email, and telephone. And many probably know, but some may not, that his interests are broader than just the one genre represented here.

Like many, my first dealings with him were by way of Blackhawk; I believe, in hammering out the details of a trade of Super8 stuff.

Then, I found we also shared an interest in audio drama. He was very kind about my own Modern Audio Drama productions, and we conferred about how he might find good copies of a Classic Era Radio series he recalled fondly.

When he learned of my love for Dickens' CHRISTMAS CAROL, and my despair at finding a good copy of the 1935 film, he arranged for me to get a SuperVHS copy of his excellent one (this is before its release on DVD.)

There've been other "talks" throughout the years, including by the way of this site.

He's just a Mensch.

God bless him and his loved ones,
-Craig Wichman
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Jim Roots

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Re: Send your thoughts and prayers to David Shepard

PostTue Jan 31, 2017 12:25 pm

Can we clone him before it's too late? About a thousand times?

Jim
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Scoundrel

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Re: Send your thoughts and prayers to David Shepard

PostTue Jan 31, 2017 12:29 pm

I've never had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Shepard in person.

My relationship goes back to purchasing the Blackhawk sampler reel in the late 70's.

Needless to say the good work that David Shepard has done over the years means a lot to me
and I sincerely ache for the loss of someone who has made my life better through his excellent work.

May the Angels accompany you to your place of rest.

S. Sobolewski
Last edited by Scoundrel on Tue Jan 31, 2017 12:32 pm, edited 3 times in total.
" You can't take life too seriously...you'll never get out of it alive."


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Gaucho

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Re: Send your thoughts and prayers to David Shepard

PostTue Jan 31, 2017 12:30 pm

David is a close friend and mentor--my wife and I were often guests in his house and we're praying for him and his son.
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R. Cat

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Re: Send your thoughts and prayers to David Shepard

PostTue Jan 31, 2017 2:38 pm

My wife and I met David six or seven years ago ...the recollection is that we were seated close enough to him at the Castro Theater in San Francisco (SFSFF) to chat between screenings. Alas, enough time has elapsed that I recalling the specifics of our discussion is challenging, but I vaguely remember conversing about a proposed series of D.W. Griffith restorations and the unfortunate bootlegging of work-product sans music, ...an issue that continues to plague PD film restorations today.

While the exact details are a bit hazy, the chat with David was a delightful and I wish we'd had more time to discuss whichever topic we were analyzing. Often the phrase fountain of knowledge is loosely applied to those who profess a broad area of expertise in a given field, but in David's case this description fits like a glove.

David's failing health saddens me greatly. The film community owes Mr. Shepard a debt of gratitude that can never be adequately repaid. Both as a historian and passionate supporter of film restoration and preservation his shoes won't be easily filled.

With warmest thoughts,
Robert Cat Conrad
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oldposterho

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Re: Send your thoughts and prayers to David Shepard

PostTue Jan 31, 2017 3:08 pm

Stunningly sad news. My best wishes to David and his family and the hope that in the next world the rarest films screen 24/7, in pristine, unused condition.
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Christopher Jacobs

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Re: Send your thoughts and prayers to David Shepard

PostTue Jan 31, 2017 4:26 pm

When I checked in to NitrateVille this afternoon, I thought it was nice that the masthead was saluting David Shepard's wonderful and invaluable work. The I found this thread, which was indeed a shock, as I had not looked at NitrateVille since Sunday. I met and chatted with David at various Cinecons and Cinefests over the years since the mid-1970s when I was still in college, and even served as projectionist for the Cinecon premiere of his informative and entertaining documentary THE MOVING PICTURE BOYS IN THE GREAT WAR, much later buying my own 16mm print. I bought a number of prints from him during the heyday and waning years of 16mm collecting after the advent of DVDs. He was a perfectionist whenever he had a film lab strike a new print from one of his negatives and it sometimes took more than one try before he would send out the print. David stands out among the most friendly and gracious of film collectors and preservationists, always having encouraging words and information to share, as well as taking a personal interest in what you might have to say or ask, even if we disagreed upon one topic or another. It's truly amazing how many preservation projects he has been involved with and how different that silent film availability and quality would be without his participation. He will be missed greatly as a warm human being, and as a driving force behind saving, restoring, and just as importantly making available numerous film rarities and classics in the best-looking and/or most complete versions possible. Thank you, David! Be assured you are in the thoughts and prayers of countless people you have touched with your work and enthusiasm.
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bobfells

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Re: Send your thoughts and prayers to David Shepard

PostTue Jan 31, 2017 4:56 pm

Years ago when I learned that William K. Everson had died, it felt like God had died. I knew Bill Everson and that made a difference in his passing. While I traded emails with David a few times over the years, I did not have the privilege of meeting him. Still, hearing this sad news reminds me of how I felt at WKE's passing. We are losing a giant and there were never very many of them in film archival/collecting circles in the first place. I doubt that no one person has done more to bring classic, indeed legendary films into wide circulation than David. Not only that but his productions were of the highest quality - stunning is not too strong of a word to use. I would buy any DVD if his name was on the production credits and even if I wasn't especially interested in the particular film itself. If it was important enough for David Shepard to produce, then that was good enough for me. It's not enough to say he will be missed. I wonder if the entire field will ever be the same again.

Bob
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