2011 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient – David Shepard
On Saturday, May 14, 2011, David Shepard, renowned silent film preservationist and archivist, received the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters – for his tireless efforts to preserve and restore many of the treasures of our American film heritage. Shepard received the degree from the College of Arts and Media at the University of Colorado Denver’s spring commencement.
Well-known internationally in film circles, Shepard has spent the major part of his career restoring early cinema for DVD and video editions. Recent projects include Abel Gance’s “La Roue” (1922), “Chaplin at Keystone” (1914) and C. B. DeMille’s 1927 production of “Chicago.” The list of other cinema restoration projects completed by Shepard throughout his career is considerable and significant.
Shepard taught cinema for 34 years at the University of Southern California, where he was also director of the Louis B. Mayer Film & Television Study Center; UCLA, where he was honored in 1983 as “the outstanding teacher in performing and integrated arts;” Claremont Men’s College; the University of Iowa; and Pennsylvania State University. He has also co-authored or edited more than a dozen books.
Shepard currently lives in Northern rural California and works in a hand-made log house of his own design with eight dogs. He is also active in community affairs and continues to work nationally with various archives and laboratories to preserve rare films.
In the words of Mike Mashon, Head, Moving Image Section, Motion Picture Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division, Library of Congress, “David is a giant in the field of film preservation, one of those rare talents who exemplifies the scholar’s rigorous research, the archivist’s attention to detail and the fan’s unabashed love and enthusiasm for movies.”
In September 2011, the College of Arts & Media at the University of Colorado Denver, presented the premiere event of the Denver Silent Film Festival. Shepard was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Opening Night Gala.