New Television Workshop Collection

New Television Workshop Collection Program MaterialsFrames of Reference

Video clip of Ellis Island

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Ellis Island

1 videoreel of 1 (28 min.) : sd., b&w and col. ; 1 in.
1 videocassette of 1 (Betacam SP) (28 min.) : sd., b&w and col. ; 1/2 in.
1 videocassette of 1 (VHS) (28 min.) : sd., b&w and col. ; 1/2 in.
1 videocassette of 1 (28 min.) : sd., b&w and col. ; 3/4 in.
1 videocassette of 1 (28 min.) : sd., b&w and col. ; 3/4 in.
1 videocassette of 1 (28 min.) : sd., b&w and col. ; 3/4 in.
1 videocassette of 1 (28 min.) : sd., b&w and col. ; 3/4 in.
2 folders

Copyright Date:

Copyright Holder:
Greenwich Film Associates

Materials Date:

Monk, Meredith

"Ellis Island" was created with the New Television Workshop. Segments of it were broadcast as part of the "Frames of Reference" showcase specials "Landscape in Motion" and "Dance Journeys." It was eventually broadcast as part of "Alive From Off Center" in 1987.

Includes a 1" master, Betacam SP preservation master, and multiple VHS and 3/4" screening copies. A single folder contains program descriptions, press clippings on Meredith Monk, correspondence, and drafts of credits. An 8 X 10 black-and-white photographic print promoting the piece's "Alive From Off Center" broadcast exists.

Haunting, reflective piece on Ellis Island and the immigrants who passed through there. Black-and-white, near-static shots of actors and actresses realistically portraying turn-of-the-century immigrants are combined with color shots of a modern-day tour guide conducting a tour of the buildings. Re-creations of the medical examinations the immigrants underwent and the conditions they lived through are filmed in the run-down buildings of Ellis Island before restoration was started. Elements of modern dance are also incorporated, as contemporary dance groups often interact with the immigrant re-creations. Ethereal music and chanting accompany the piece, adding to the piece's reflective tone. Particularly beautiful is a three-minute dance scene performed by what appear to be the ghosts of immigrants.

Music written by Meredith Monk and performed by Monk and others. The music consists mostly of chanting, which supports the haunting, reflective mood of the piece.

Monk, Meredith
Rosen, Bob (Codirector)
Turner, Gail (Assistant Director)

Rosen, Bob
Bollinger, John (Associate Producer)
Dowling, Susan (WGBH)

New Television Workshop, WGBH
Greenwich Film Associates/ZDF

Rosen, Bob

National Endowment for the Arts
New York State Council on the Arts
Corporation for Public Broadcasting

Ellis Island (N.Y.)
Emigration and immigration


See Also:
Landscape in Motion

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