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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
posted June 12, 2020
How is the Covid-19 pandemic disrupting film archivists and archives? Christopher Dupin, who as Senior Administrator runs the day-to-day operations of the International Federation of Film Archivists, wants to know: “Being an historian, myself, I always think about the future and what we want historians in 20 or 30 years to remember about this."
posted May 6, 2020
Late March was to have been Tammy Burnstock’s big moment in smelling movies. Yes, smelling them. For months, the Australian filmmaker and TV producer had been preparing for the premiere of her documentary film In Glorious Smell-O-Vision!: The True Story of the Godfather of Scented Cinema. It was to have been screened along with a great deal of olfactory frolicking.
posted May 4, 2020
Films of American roots musicians and pioneers of atmospheric research, and as well as home movies about flying, are among many historical records that will be preserved thanks to this year’s Recordings at Risk awards from the Council on Library and Information Resources. In the seventh of its award rounds, the CLIR has granted more than $650,000 to 19 preservation projects, bringing the total projects assisted by the fund to 109.
posted March 3, 2020
Film restoration is a painstaking endeavor. It involves much careful observation of archival film, repair of any damage, and preservation from future ravages of time. The tools for doing all that are increasingly sophisticated. Specialists certainly can relate as much, but it may interest the general film enthusiast to hear a little about what the modern-day process of digital restoration entails.