Decades of travel film donated to UA library
As a filmmaker, Ken Wolfgang has been a citizen of the world. He’s plowed fields and threshed rice with the assistance of water buffalo in Thailand. He’s slept in Borneo on bamboo mats, with skulls dangling in nets overhead – tokens of battle, yet still reflecting a desire to protect their previous inhabitants in the hereafter. He’s climbed Japan’s Mount Fuji four times.
Now 80, Wolfgang is dying. He was diagnosed with bone cancer over the winter holidays. But he has given slivers of his memories and experiences to Tucson, where he now lives.
Wolfgang has bequeathed his extensive travel film collection to the special collections division of the University of Arizona library. They provide rare glimpses into world cultures from Japan to India, Thailand, Singapore, Austria and Mexico.
The collection amounts to hundreds of spools of 16 mm film, including all the original material that went into creating 11 full-length movies.
It was shot largely in the 1950s through 1980 – in the days predating cable travel channels, before anyone with a clicker and a couch could visit faraway lands