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A Lifetime of Movie Research, Digitized

posted February 2, 2021

For decades, Lillian Michelson performed research in support of Hollywood film producers, directors, designers, and other creatives. With material she gathered in the course of her work, in 1969 she began the Cinema Research Library that now bears her name. A new chapter in the vast collection has begun with Michelson’s donation of the material to the Internet Archive.

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Kartemquin’s Archive in Good Hands

posted December 28, 2020

The award-winning Kartemquin Films, a leading American producer of social justice-related films, has been keeping its archive in a storage facility for three decades, but now is celebrating its placement of the collection with the film archive at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

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What COVID-19 Means for Moving Image Archiving

posted December 8, 2020

“One of the most remarkable ripple effects of the 2020 COVID-19 crisis is the blurring in the public perception of the distinction between natural and human-made disasters,” and this has implications for film preservation, writes Paolo Cherchi Usai in a keynote article of a special COVID-themed issue of FIAF’s Journal of Film Preservation.

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Eastman’s South Asian Treasure Trove

posted November 6, 2020

Thanks to a substantial grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the George Eastman Museum is hard at work restoring an unusual collection of films from South Asia. The grant was made through the IMLS Museums for America grant program. Eastman is using it to restore 1,285 Indian and Pakistani film prints. Archivists there believe their collection to be largest of its kind outside India.

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47 Orphan Films To Be Preserved with Federal Grants

posted October 1, 2020

The National Film Preservation Foundation has announced annual grants to U.S. 34 institutions to allow them to preserve 47 “orphan” films from their collections. (“Orphan film” is defined as a film in any form that has been abandoned by its owner or caretaker.) Since 1998 the NFPF has provided preservation resources to 315 organizations in all 50 American states as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to help save 2,547 films.

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The Total Television Guerrillas Who Upturned Conventions

posted September 30, 2020

There once was a time when cellphones didn’t capture just about everything that happens in public. Until the 1970s, filming for broadcast was generally constrained, for starters, by the size and weight of cameras. TV cameras and their tape setups, shackled to power sources, were the size of half a car. Then along came the Sony Portapak video camera, and the pioneers of "guerrilla tv."

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Digitizing the First Days of Public Access Television

posted September 2, 2020

Public access to free-to-air and cable television resulted from a lot of activism by pioneers in the face of many obstacles. From 1971, the plucky New York state collective, Portable Channel, created some of the earliest citizen-made documentary television in the United States. Now Visual Studies Workshop, based in Rochester, NY, is digitizing and making available hundreds of video tapes created by members of Portable Channel.

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A Home Movie Day Unlike the Others

posted August 17, 2020

Home Movie Day won’t be quite the same, this year. But as sometimes happens, restrictions — in this case, imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic — will force changes that may turn out to be fruitful innovations. In 2020, Home Movie Day goes virtual, and with that the local becomes global.

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Israel Film Archive Wants All Israeli Film

posted August 12, 2020

The Israel Film Archive wants your home movies, whether you’re within Israel or anywhere in the Jewish diaspora. But collecting home movies is just part of a larger project of Russo Meir and his colleagues at the Archive. As the Archive is the official institute responsible for the collection and preservation of Israeli films, they want to be able to provide original reels or digital copies of every film ever made in the country.

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George Eastman Museum Offers Films from its Collection, Free

posted August 6, 2020

The George Eastman Museum is providing free online access to a selection of digitized films from its moving image collection. So far, it has released 23 digitized films for general viewing. Films by groundbreaking documentary maker Leo Hurwitz are among selections from the Eastman collection that you can now watch on the museum’s website.

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