Sunday, September 22, 2019

"Trail to Yesterday" restoration showcased in presentation on Artifical Intelligence

Psychotropic Films is employing the latest software technology that utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) to assist in the analysis and repair (restoration) of  “The Trail to Yesterday” (1918).  The following presentation by Algosoft-Tech (below) discusses the latest advances in AI and how AI is utilized in software to locate and correct defects in film. 

You can see in this presentation at 35:45-min, a featured a scene from The Trial to Yesterday  demonstrating the effect of the Algo-Soft software to assist in the restoration of film scanned to digital from 104 year old 35mm nitrate film stock.

How Recent 'AI' Breakthroughs Are Transforming Moving Image Restoration from Psychotropic Films on Vimeo.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

"The Trail To Yesterday" (1918) - Restoration Teaser

The restoration of this silent era film; "The Trail To Yesterday" (1918) is currently in development by digital filmmaker Bart Santello and Psychotropic Films LLC.

This 'teaser' was made to serve the purpose of demonstrating the success to date of the restoration process; convey a sense of mystery behind this western's melodrama; and provide credits and production information to collaborators, historians and film preservationists that are currently, or may in the future provide assistance in this digital restoration. 
  The Trail to Yesterday (1918) - Restoration Teaser from Psychotropic Films on Vimeo.
I was able to locate the only known surviving nitrate print of this film.  It was discovered at the eyeFILM Museum in The Netherlands.  This was the Dutch distributed version that survived and was re-titled at the time as "The Revenge of Dacota"

The motivation for this restoration and preservation project is the fact that this movie was filmed in Arivaca, Arizona, the town where the filmmaker leading this restoration resides.  There will also be an accompanying documentary film produced that will cover all aspects of this film's discovery, restoration, history of The Trail to Yesterday's filming in area, the history of Arivaca, Arizona at the time of the filming in 1918.

Restorer and Filmmaker:  Bart Santello (
Production Company:       Psychotropic Films LLC (
Donations to the project:

Based on a novel by Charles Alden Seltzer (1913)
Production Company:  Metro Pictures Corporation
Director:  Edwin Carewe
Scenerio: June Mathis
Camera: Robert S. Kurrle

Dakota: Bert Lytell
Sheila:  Anna Q. Nilsson
Duncan: Harry S. Northrup
Ben Doubler: John A. Smiley
Langford:  Ernest Maupin

Friday, August 16, 2019

Production, Cast & Crew

I created this graphic from a frame in the film.  I was making a presentation book about the film for a conference I was planning to attend.  It's a first-glance introduction to the framework of the production.  The background image from the film help shape the perspective  of the genre.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Where and How, Then and Now

Where was this photo taken over 100-years ago?  That's what I plan to weave into the documentary film I am creating which will accompany the reintroduction of a restored Trail to Yesterday

As I restore the film, I am cognizant of the shot-locations I think would make for an interesting "then-and-now" comparison.  What assists the forensics when determining locations, is the mountains that ring Arivaca.  The topography of the location rolling hills and nearby mountain ranges will greatly assist in 'orientation', but the depth of field was set by the lens on the camera at the time of filming. Therefore, finding the location of some of these scenes will be challenging.

The photo below is an example: To those who live in Arivaca, Arizona, this image at first glance would seem to be the old stagecoach road to Arivaca that is now paved-over.  This hilly and winding road is now known as the Arivaca Road.  Or this could be a ranching or mining road much further south from the Arivaca Road today. 

The clues to figuring this out are somewhere in this still frame.

So I have an idea to assemble several small teams of photographers, filmmakers and local explorers, with each team provided an envelope containing several still-images taken from the film at locations in Arivaca.   Then those teams would go out into the surrounding hills and attempt to find the location where the filming took place 100-years ago.  The filmmaker in the group will document, then create a short-film on the experience.

The photographer in the team will document the found location with both still images and video.  The GPS coordinates, camera and lens setting will be recorded.   Later the exploring team and the documentary film team will return to marked locations to deliberate and  conclude whether or not the actual filming location was found.  

The created short films from each team documenting this location hunt, serve two important purposes: First to assist the overall documentary in showing locations then and now.  Also, each team's short-documentary will be shown the at forthcoming Arivaca Film Exhibition the first week od March 2020.

I'm going to get some feedback and see if i can put it together.  Bart Santello

Monday, April 9, 2018

The Scenario Team

Originally, only three of the five reels were found for the "Trail to Yesterday".  At that time a scenario team was assembled of interested Arivaca residents (Arivaca, Arizona is where the movie was filmed in 1918), to review a rough copy of the scanned footage to see if a story could still be assembled from the surviving elements.

Everyone in the scenario team read the book "The Trail to Yesterday" by Charles Seltzer (1913) and this provided a perspective in comparing the film to the book.  Since the surviving film contained reels from the beginning and end of the movie, with the middle reels missing, we felt it would be still possible to reassemble the film with a coherent story.  Missing would be the depth of characterization and plot development

Fall 2018 Update: I was contacted by the archive that the two missing reels were discovered by an intern in mislabeled canisters. This was fantastic news and means we now have a complete film to restore, preserve and re-release for public presentation.

Scenario team: From far left going clockwise: Mary Kasulaitis town historian. Mark and Wendy Dresang, Dutch translators.  Gina Aroneo and Paul Lowes, educators in English and history and myself (Bart Santello) behind the computer/projector.