Dear Screen-L Readers: I would appreciate any suggestions as to how academic institutions can convince commercial distributors not to destroy prints of films for which their rights have expired. A bit of context: our film studies program at the Univeristy of Otago (New Zealand) has made a commitment to teaching film by showing 16 and mostly 35 mm prints of films whenever possible, which in this case means when there is a print of a film in New Zealand and in some cases Australia. It's demanding (administratively and financially) and requires quite a bit of organization but it is made even more difficult by the fact that we never really know in advance if the print of the film will still be available. New Zealand distributors either return the prints of films for which their distribution rights have expired, or in many cases, they just destroy them. We have contacted those distributors and suggested that we would be happy to become a repository of prints for which commercial rights have expired. We were essentially laughed at. The New Zeland Film Archives have an excellent collection and they are most cooperative but they only keep NZ material or archival material from the early days of cinema (which they sometimes use to get NZ material back in the country). The other non-profit collections (such as the NZ Federation of film Societies) have mainly 16 mm material (and we all know to aging 16 mm prints) and the range is somewhat limited. Has anybody experienced this problem anywhere in the world? What are possible solutions, compromises...? How sensible would it be to lobby the New Zealand government to make sure that prints of films screened in NZ just do not disappear? Are there international standards? Since most of the films screened here are from American companies, can anything be done at that level? I know that the world of film distribution is beyond such concerns. Has anyone found ways in which the interests of academic institutions can be taken into account? Thanks for responses on the matter. I'd be glad to receive direct responses and write a summary of suggestions. Thierry Jutel Film Studies Coordinator University of Otago PO Box 56 Dunedin New Zealand ---- Screen-L is sponsored by the Telecommunication & Film Dept., the University of Alabama.