Irene's Bottom Line:
<< BOTTOM LINE: Hey Scorcese...save a film...
sell one of your villas. >>
As Chris has pointed out, Martin Scorsese has done more than his
share of work (and spent more than his share of money) on behalf
of film preservation. Scorsese's work includes serving as a current
member of the National Film Preservation Board (NFPB). With his
colleague Arthur Hiller, he sits on the NFPB as a representative of
the Directors Guild of America.
Additionally, Scorsese was highly instrumental in the 1997
re-release and restoration of _Contempt_. Work on the film
included restorative work on the multi-lingual soundtrack and
the primary colors of the Bardot nude scene at the beginning
of the film. Scorsese has a major credit (something like
"Martin Scorsese Presents") in the opening titles of the
re-released and newly-restored film.
Apart from the Scorsese issue, Irene's post raised other
issues of private sector responsibility for film preservation.
The newly created National Film Preservation Foundation
(NFPF) is aimed specifically at the private sector. As a
501(c)(3) corporation, the NFPF is a non-profit organization
to which donations---monetary as well as in-kind---by individuals
and business entities are *tax deductible* as charitable
contributions. Thus, the Foundation was established not
only as a means to raise film preservation funds from the
private sector of the American economy but also as an
incentive to the donation of private funds for national film
Private sector efforts notwithstanding, Chris has stated the
case for government-sponsored film preservation at the
national level. The restoration process is not only expensive;
it is also extraordinarily time-consuming and labor-intensive.
Moreover, in addition to the public doman "orphans" of which
Chris spoke, there are copyrighted films in need of preservation
and restoration that are terribly difficult to lay hands on. Because
of the widespread purchase and sale of film libraries in their
entireties in the 1980's, no one is quite sure of either the exact
identities of the copyright owners or the physical locations of
many of these films. According to Robert Harris and James Katz,
the team responsible for the _Vertigo_ restoration (among others),
_The Lion in Winter_ is one such film badly in need of restoration.
In these types of cases---especially when the films are no longer
physically located in the United States---it may prove easier or
more efficient for governmental rather than private sector resources
to be brought to bear on the identification of the owners, and on
the location, preservation, and restoration, of the target films.
Finally, film preservation did not go unrecognized in Tuesday's
announcement of the AMPAS Technical Achievement Awards.
One such certificate was awarded to James M. Reilly, Douglas
W. Nishimura, and Monique C. Fisher of the Rochester Institute
of Technology for the creation of A-D Strips, a diagnostic tool
for ascertaining the presence of vinegar syndrome in processed
acetate-based motion picture film. (When acetate-based film
breaks down, it basically turns into vinegar.)
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