Valaam, Russia, March 20, 2019
Intensive work is underway to gather and restore historical information and documents concerning Old Valaam Monastery. During the course of this work, archival film footage dating to 1908 was discovered. It is believed that this is the oldest existing footage of the monastery, according to the monastery website.
The painstaking “excavation” continues, and historians of cinema are currently searching for materials from 1912 and 1926 in Finland and in the open archives in other countries.
The earliest newsreel of Valaam dates to 1908-1909. It belonged to the Finnish photographer, engineer, and entrepreneur Karl Emil Stolberg, who was the cousin and of the future first President of Finland Kaarlo Juho Stolberg.
Stolberg had a small cinema at his studio in Finland where he would show newsreel from around the world. In 1906, he decided to make his own to highlight Finnish attractions, and in 1908, one of his colleagues went to shoot footage at Valaam Monastery.
The 21-minute film “Finland” was edited in 1911 and included a small fragment on Valaam. A film on Valaam was made in 1912, but little is known about it. The monastery is attempting to have the footage converted to a digital format.
More historical footage up through the 1930s is available on the monastery website.
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