Camen Design Forum

Can you help me find The Cure for Insomnia?

append delete Martijn

Hi all, long time no seen. I’ve just returned from my holidays and am prepping for university. But between all this business I enjoy surfing the web, reading this board and chatting with friends. Out of the first and the latter grew a funny dare. I dared a friend to watch the complete The Cure for Insomnia if I were to get my hands on it, by any means necessary.

For those of you who do not know: The Cure for Insomnia with its running time of 5220 minutes was once the longest film on our world. It has a very sparse page on Wikipedia: https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/The_cure_for_insomnia. Out of the five longest films (https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/List_of_longest_films_by_running_time) I find on this one and Cinématon to sound interesting and worth wasting time on.

Now the big question is, how do you get your hands on this piece of art? I checked the main stream markets (eBay, Amazon, Play.com) and the underground channels (The Pirate Bay, isoHunt, BTDigg) to no avail. Wikipedia doesn’t supply much to go by other than the artist John Henry Timmis IV… who was always obscure in life (http://www.metafilter.com/80070/Waiting-for-the-CTA) and is now, sadly, deceased.

IMDB (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0284020/) offers little more, only mentioning The School of the Art Institute of Chicago as publishing company for the film. I will draft an email to them tomorrow but have little faith in it. What department would that email have to go to? I don’t know, in which case they tell you to just send it off to the “Webmaster”. Last time I tried to contact a big institution through their webmaster I never got referred to the right people.

Any ideas?

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#1. theraje

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#2. theraje

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append delete #3. Martijn

No I haven’t gotten around to it yet. Summer holidays sounds like something that will give you loads of time but it just doesn’t seem to work that way ;-)

Once I’ve sent an email and have heard back I’ll make sure to put it on here!

append delete #4. Martijn

To: info@vdb.org, fvnm@saic.edu
Subject: Regarding The Cure for Insomnia

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am writing to you because of my interest in the film The Cure for Insomnia by John Henry Timmis IV. According to the film’s entry in the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) it was a School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) production. This is the only lead the internet gives as to whom might know something about the film’s current state.

This email is addressed to both the Video Data Bank (where I was unable to find The Cure for Insomnia) and the Film, Video, New Media, and Animation Office at SAIC. If your outfit can not provide me with any information would you be able to tell me who I might write to instead?

My interest to the film was brought out during an experiment I set-up to test the circadian rhythm, the almost-but-not-quite 24-hour cycle of being awake and asleep. We had to be cut-off from outside interference like sunlight and Wikipedia was one of the few things to offer us interesting things to read. A film called The Cure for Insomnia was too good not to be noticed.

I would like to watch the film but it seems Wikipedia is right in stating ‘it was never released to the public’. None of the usual channels (eBay, Amazon, Play, The Pirate Bay, isoHunt) turned up anything.

My question to you is: is there any way to get the film? Either for personal (household) viewing or possibly for a small-scale public viewing at the local library?

Maybe the question should be whether the film still exists within your archives, but I like to be positive and assume you have not destroyed a film that once held a world record.

Other questions that might be more appropriate on this matter are who owns the rights to the film and if it would be possible to make it available through means like the Internet Archive (a non-profit trying to build an online library to preserve digital works and artifacts: archive.org)?

I would think it a shame if the film was to disappear in the mists of time. There is nothing worse than art that cannot be viewed and I hope you hold that same believe at heart.

I am looking forward to hear back from you.

Yours faithfully,

Martijn van der Ven
[Address redacted]

(This email and, unless you will explicitly forbid me to, your answer will be published online on http://forum.camendesign.com/can_you_help_me_find_the_cure_for_insomnia_.)

I hope this will do and I will keep this thread up-to-date. If anyone has any more ideas where I could look or who I could write to let me know.

Martijn added on

artifacts → artefacts

append delete #5. Martijn

Some time has gone since the previous email was sent and I have yet to receive an answer. I’ve just send a copy of this email through the online contact form of the Video Data Bank and I’m hoping for better results.

The new email was a copy of the above with the following note added:

NOTE: This email has previously (20 Aug 2011 21:46:17 CET) been sent to info@vdb.org but has gone unanswered until now. This is why I am trying again though your online contact form.

---

And the title slightly changed to ‘Regarding The Cure for Insomnia (Resend)’.

Martijn added on

In addition: I google’d some more. It seems like it’s a lot easier to contact the writer of the poem Lee Groban (http://www.lee-groban.com/contact.html). Although the only contact information listed is a PO box. If anyone knows of any cheap ways to send letters overseas (Sweden→USA) let me know.

append delete #6. Martijn

Sent: Mon, 12 Sep 2011 12:00:32 -0500
“Dear Martijn,

I'm afraid that VDB does not distribute THE CURE FOR INSOMNIA, not do we have a copy in our archives. We know it was made by an SAIC student years ago, but we unfortunately do not know where to find it.

Best of luck,

Brigid
VDB”

Guess all I can do is write a letter to Mr Groban now.

append delete #7. mckayla

what is funny about the the tile of the cure for insomnia

append delete #8. mily5640

what is my name

append delete #9. mizzcourtzlolruby

hey wat up peeps

append delete #10. k

I would like to do something to help find this movie. The more research I seem to be doing on the subject the more curious I seem to become. Maybe it's simply because things that are out of our grasp seem so much more intriguing. I would like to hear about your progress!

append delete #11. Martijn

With Timmis dead and the University largely unhelpful there is no further progress since my last update.

Currently all that is left to do is contact Lee Groban: http://www.lee-groban.com/contact.html. Which is something I hope to do as soon as I’ve figured out postage to the US. I had already written a letter and sent it to him through Facebook[1] but it has gone without a response. I guess they were serious when they wrote he ‘prefers to receive postal mail rather than email, because in the event of a power shortage, he can still read and respond to your letters by candle light.’

If you’d like to help you could write Groban. This is the message I sent him:

Dear Mr Groban,

I’m writing you via Facebook, which I hope you won’t mind, because of the high costs linked to sending paper correspondence from Europe to the United States.

I did upload this same text, fountain pen written, to my web server so you can print it and still have the hand-written letter feel. You can find it here: [Link redacted: contains my address]

I’m trying to track down the experimental film The Cure for Insomna by J.T. IV and yourself. Of all the longest films to ever go public this one is the only one that seems to make a point, although vaguely.

The Internet Movie Database lists The School of the Art Institute of Chicago as production company so I started there. I’ve written both the Film, Video, New Media, and Animation Office, and the Video Data Bank. Only the latter responded to inform me they didn’t know where to find the film.

You can read the actual correspondence at: forum.camendesign.com/can_you_help_me_find_the_cure_for_insomnia_

With Timmis unfortunate and premature passing you are the only one left I can phrase the following questions to.

Do you own a copy of the film, in any form? Do you know who might have access to this material? Finally, do you know who might hold the rights to the materials—if the materials still exist?

It would be very sad if even in today’s information age we can’t be bothered to save a single film. A film that once held a world record at that.

If not the film, is your poem published anywhere? In full?

Thanks for your time and I hope you will be able to help me. And again, I apologise for the use of Facebook to reach out to you.

With kind regards,

Martijn van der Ven
[Address redacted]

[1]: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1585650408

append delete #12. Martijn

Or, never mind, Mr Groban has let us too.
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-groban-obit-20111220,0,421941.story

Also note: ‘He leaves no other direct survivors.’

And so this ends, the film is (probably) lost forever.

Martijn added on

let → left

append delete #13. Destructorock1

I, too, sent an e-mail to the head of the Film Department at the SAIC in November; never heard a reply. I also contacted Lee Groban via YouTube before his death (I am just hearing about his death now, actually)...I am thinking of contacting Anthology Film Archives, an NYC theater that has saved many films from obscurity..or organizing a trip to the University itself! We must not give up. It is a crucial film.

append delete #14. Martijn

I am thinking of contacting Anthology Film Archives, an NYC theater that has saved many films from obscurity… or organizing a trip to the University itself!

Please do so! Living, as I am, in Sweden, I didn’t know about the Anthology Film Archives and I surely wouldn’t be able to just visit the University. But if there is anyone here on the forum who knows of more possible sources let me know.

append delete #15. Reid

Know what? I'll subway down to Anthology Film Archives and see if they know anything. I live in Manhattan. Just as soon as I'm done with this head cold.

Film Forum may know something too -- they employ practically all of the New York Film School grad students. And what the hell, since that'll take me to TriBeCa, I'll ask at the Film Institute there.

I'll also ask one of my friends that works at NYPL's Library for the Performing Arts.

However, I'm not optimistic; The Cure for Insomnia really pushes the envelope for film storage, and even NYC has very little. Converting it would be expensive. I doubt that it ever left Chicago.

Other places to try, if just for answers: Top Film School Libraries and Roger Ebert (he's nice and lives in Chicago). I would email him yourself, Martijn. The message will be more genuine from you. I couldn't find his email, but here is his very active twitter account: @ebertchicago

append delete #16. smellynerd

I just heard about this movie for the first time today and immediatly started searching. I was thinking since it was a world record for longest movie, guinness world records might have some idea of what happened to the film.

append delete #17. Martijn

I was thinking since it was a world record for longest movie, guinness world records might have some idea of what happened to the film.

After scrolling through all their film related records on the website (http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/Search.aspx?q=movie) they don’t even mention a current longest film. Arguably the record for the world’s ‘fastest movie’ does give us the shortest one: http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/9000/fastest-movie-.

I doubt they know anything, as long as an official with a stopwatch was present during the screening the record would have counted. I don’t think they are in the practice of saving the subjects of their records, even less in the process of copying such a film.

However, any clue is welcome, and I will add them to the list of people to write to. I haven’t been able to spend as much time on writing everyone about this as I would’ve liked.

append delete #18. Miguel RodCar

Are there any news about the film? Those who said they were about to ask in the Anthology Film Archives...?

append delete #19. David

Mr. Groban's sister, Deborah Groban Olson, is mentioned with a quote in the Tribune article you referenced about his death.

Perhaps you might try to reach out to her? There is an attorney in Michigan with the same name. Maybe <a href="http://www.esoplaw.com/">she is the same Deborah</a>?

append delete #20. Teehee

I'm looking for this film as well, not to watch it, but for the sheer pleasure of finding it. Has anyone gotten any new clues yet?

append delete #21. Martijn

Has anyone gotten any new clues yet?

Did you try everything mentioned after post #12? http://forum.camendesign.com/can_you_help_me_find_the_cure_for_insomnia_+1#7kt4hn33v2ck

I have been too busy with my studies and will not be able to follow up on any of them until summer break.

append delete #22. Gooseman

That is really strange that he died just weeks before you were planning on contacting him. Could this be the work of the Illuminati trying to destroy every copy of the film?!

append delete #23. Teehee

YES, yes, we must beat him before he beats us, an assassination has been performed on him in order to rid the world of this film. (Oh and the real reason I'm here is 1:the film 2: I here the film has clips of heavy metal and other stuff in it.

append delete #24. TG94

Is there any news on the film? not seeing any update since may 17th i am not hopeful, i just heard of this movie today and in a weird way am very stubborn and would not give up on finding this movie just to find it, i have nothing to gain by the search but being very much into history in almost every form i am literally desperate to locate this film. could anyone here update me on what has been tried and what you have not been able to follow up on.

Being from iceland will not stop me and i will go head on in this search until i will get it confirmed that finding this film is literally impossible, or i have located it. If anyone here would like updates, please reply. i will check on this site everyday i can.

best regards.
TG94

append delete #25. Martijn

Hi TG!

I am afraid there is no news, if I had been able to send any more letters or get any new information it would have been posted here. :( I hoped to have time this summer break but have mostly been swamped by other things.

When I get back home from my holidays next week I was planning to set-up a Wiki (or wiki-like thing) for collecting all the above information and suggestions. I would love any cooperation tracking this film down!

There were some good suggestions in this thread that need following up, so if you want to write to anyone / anywhere you can try any of these:

1. Anthology Film Archives (NYC) — suggested by Destructorock1.
• anthologyfilmarchives.org
• They have a telephone number stated: http://anthologyfilmarchives.org/contact/directions
• E-mail addresses of their staff: http://anthologyfilmarchives.org/contact/staff
• A list of other archives we can write to: http://anthologyfilmarchives.org/collections/film-video (towards the bottom.)

2. Film Forum (NYC, alternative screening space) — suggested by Reid.
• filmforum.org
• They don’t have the film in their archive: http://www.filmforum.org/more/filmsourcesc
• General inquiries go to filmforum@domain.

3. Tribeca Film Institute (NYC, supporter of individual artists) — suggested by Reid.
• tribecafilminstitute.org
• They have a big network but no archive themselves, from what I see: http://www.tribecafilminstitute.org/about/mission/
• General information from institute@domain.

4. Roger Ebert (CHI, film critic Chicago Sun-Times) — suggested by Reid.
• blogs.suntimes.com/ebert
https://twitter.com/ebertchicago/

5. Deborah Groban Olson (sister of Lee Groban) — suggested by David.
• Attorney by this name, possibly her: http://www.esoplaw.com/

Thanks all for keeping this thread alive. Not the longest discussion on the forum, but possibly the longest running one :) For me at least it shows up with the first 10 Google results for ‘The Cure for Insomnia’!

It is too bad that many who have expressed an interest here have never gotten back, especially too bad with Reid as he lives close to many interesting parties and had said he could take a swing by them.

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