Slate, the online news site and magazine, today (July 9, 2010) has an item about Lost Films the “heroic wiki project” based in Germany that is trying to identify and document lost and orphaned films. The article notes that some 80 percent of the silent era’s films are among the lost and perhaps defunct. That, as a result of nitrate-film fires and other mishaps and misfortunes. Sometimes, notes Slate’s Paul Collins, those misfortunes included fires set deliberately by movie studios intent on recovering silver from the stock of films considered outdated and thus of no further interest.
In December 2008, the Berlin museum Deutsche Kinemathek set up Lost Films, a wiki site on which film archivists can both learn about more 4,000 missing movies, and upload data about those and other lost films and also films that while in someone’s possession, are unidentified.
Slate presumes to call the site “a promising harnessing of worldwide film-nerdism.”
The article includes a slide show of some of Lost Films’ entries.