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Rick Prelinger (born 1953, Washington D.C., U.S.) is an archivist, writer and filmmaker, and founder of the Prelinger Archives, a collection of 60,000 advertising, educational, industrial, and amateur films acquired by the Library of Congress in 2002 after 20 years' operation.
Rick has partnered with the Internet Archive to make over 6,000 films from Prelinger Archives available online for free viewing, downloading and reuse. With the Voyager Company, a pioneer new media publisher, he produced fourteen laserdiscs and CD-ROMs with material from his archives, including Ephemeral Films, the Our Secret Century series and Call It Home: The House That Private Enterprise Built, a laserdisc on the history of suburbia and suburban planning (co-produced with architect Keller Easterling).
He worked at The Comedy Channel from its startup in 1989 until it was merged into the comedy network HA!, and then worked at Home Box Office until 1995. Rick has taught in the MFA design program at New York's School of Visual Arts and lectures widely on American cultural and social history and on issues of cultural and intellectual property access. He sat (2001–2004) on the National Film Preservation Board as representative of the Association of Moving Image Archivists, was Board President of the San Francisco Cinematheque (2002–2007), and is currently a Board Member of the Internet Archive. In July 2013, he was appointed Associate Professor in the Department of Film & Digital Media at UC Santa Cruz.
His feature-length film Panorama Ephemera, depicting the conflicted landscapes of 20th-century America, opened in summer 2004. With spouse Megan Prelinger he is co-founder of the Prelinger Library, an appropriation-friendly reference library located in San Francisco. In recent years he has produced archival compilation films on the history of San Francisco (Lost Landscapes of San Francisco, eight annual films, 2006-2013, and Lost Landscapes of Detroit, three films, 2010-2012.) He was awarded a Creative Capital grant in 2012 to make the film No More Road Trips?, which premiered in Austin, Texas, at South by Southwest in March 2013.
He wrote The Field Guide to Sponsored Films (2007) which "describes 452 historically or culturally significant motion pictures commissioned by businesses, charities, advocacy groups, and state or local government units between 1897 and 1980." It is available as a book and as a free PDF from the National Film Preservation Foundation. He recently (2005–2007) worked at the Internet Archive on a large-scale texts digitization project and (2004-2005) helped organize the Open Content Alliance.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Rick Prelinger.|
- Interview with Ràdio Web MACBA (2011)
- Lecture on his film collection and the future of archiving at MACBA (2011)
- Interview/podcast on the future of archives and issues relating to access to archives and culture (2011)
- Interview with Spots Unknown
- blackoystercatcher, Rick Prelinger's blog
- Prelinger Library
- Prelinger Collection
- Panorama Ephemera
- Panorama Ephemera published in the Vectors Journal of Culture and Technology in a Dynamic Vernacular, Volume 2 Issue 1 (Ephemera).
- The Field Guide to Sponsored Films
- Prelinger's "Reimagining the Archive" presentation at UCLA, November 2010
- Lost Landscapes of San Francisco, Years 3-6 at fora.tv
- Lost Landscapes of Detroit, 2010 at Internet Archive
- No More Road Trips? official site
- Rick Prelinger at the Internet Movie Database