Cinema has been celebrated as a vehicle for moving image, business, family outings and countless get-outs. In the building of a cinematic culture and empowering filmmakers, actors , journalists and media bodies film preservation acts as reference points in a universe of stories; documenting cinema goes a long way. In India, The National Film Archive of India (NFAI ) actively restores cinematic heritage from silent era and more. NFAI was headed by P.K. Nair ( 1965-1991.)During his tenure, he collected over 12,000 films of which 8000 were Indian. NFAI efforts are on to get the Cinematography Act, 1952 amended. This would allow producers to keep one copy of films and deposit with NFAI for archival.
In the world cinema front, American filmmaker and Academy Award winner Martin Scorsese has been at the fore front of preserving cinema heritage. He is actively heading , collaborating with the below well known organizations to boost the film-preservation culture. He is the founder of all the three below film preservation initiatives:
the Film Foundation in 1990
the World Cinema Foundation in 2007 and
African Film Heritage Project in 2017.
The Film Foundation stands for the below mission statement:
The Film Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1990 dedicated to protecting and preserving motion picture history. By working in partnership with archives and studios, the foundation has helped to restore over 925 films, which are made accessible to the public through programming at festivals, museums, and educational institutions around the world. The Film Foundation's World Cinema Project has restored 50 films from 28 different countries representing the rich diversity of world cinema. The foundation's free educational curriculum, The Story of Movies, teaches young people - over 10 million to date - about film language and history.
WORLD CINEMA PROJECT
The World Cinema Project (WCP) preserves and restores neglected films from around the world. To date, 50 films from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Central America, South America, and the Middle East have been restored, preserved and exhibited for a global audience. The WCP also supports educational programs, including Restoration Film Schools; intensive, results-oriented workshops allowing students and professionals worldwide to learn the art and science of film restoration and preservation. All WCP titles are available for exhibition rental by clicking "Book This Film."
You can navigate restored films using Title, Director and Country here: World Cinema Project (film-foundation.org)
AFRICAN FILM HERITAGE PROJECT IN 2017
This project is in collaboration between Pan African Federation of Filmakers ( FEPACI ) and UNESCO.
“There are so many films in need of restoration from all over the world,” says Martin Scorcese, Founder and Chairman of The Film Foundation. He adds: “We created the World Cinema Project to ensure that the most vulnerable titles don’t disappear forever. Over the past 10 years the WCP has helped to restore films from Egypt, India, Cuba, the Philippines, Brazil, Armenia, Turkey, Senegal, and many other countries."
You can attend FILM FOUNDATIONS screenings here: Delphi Quest
THE INDIAN FILM ECO-SYSTEM: RAD TIMES EDITORIAL ANALYSIS
In the Indian film making eco-system NFAI actively restores and archives prints and celluloids. Besides this there is a solid dearth of documenting material in Indian Cinema Eco-system where more than 2000 films are made in 45 languges every year.
The Indian theatre/literary tradition of documentation from the time of The Upanishads and The Vedas is well known world over. The documenting skills were oral thousands of years back and the religious texts and literary texts were passed on orally. And they were also documented. What has been happening in the years that have passed , we are still wondering.
The moving image is a product of stories, in the mind and reality. They need to be documented somewhere, either by the film production companies or allied start-ups and non-profit organizations.
Leaving no reference points, how do journalists , filmmakers have reference points ? How do you record development in tech ? How do you monitor growth of production teams ? Can you regularize growth of crew ? Documentation would also encourage to track development in non-visible ( off screen ) elements of Indian Cinema.
All of it is strung together by documentation somewhere. Lets acknowledge that Indian cinema is a product of documentation oral, digital and archival which supports countless crew, artists, content creators, event management companies, make up artists, stunt artists. Documentation is power, documentation is regularizing the Indian film eco-system information system!
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