Today, copyright extends for 70 years after the date of the author's death. This length seems pretty absurd, and it creates a tiny gentry of people who have inherited lucrative copyrights. For example, Hugh Grant's selfish character in About a Boy has never bothered to work because his father composed the 1950s novelty Christmas song Santa's Supersonic Sleigh.
Think of the movies from 1954 that would have become available this year. You could have showed clips from them. You could have showed all of them. You could have spliced and remixed and made documentaries about them. (You could have been a contender!)