Viacom18 and Film Heritage Foundation launch the Film Preservation and Restoration School in India Liberty Cinema

Mumbai : Viacom 18, in association with the Film Heritage Foundation, announced the launch of Film Preservation and Restoration School India – a week long educational workshop at a gala opening ceremony with support from the film fraternity, today, at Liberty Cinema.

The opening ceremony and red carpet launch of the Film Preservation and Restoration School was graced by Hon. Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis, the star of the millennium and the living legend of Indian Cinema, Amitabh Bachchan; along with the Founder of the Film Heritage Foundation, Shivendra Singh Dungarpur and Chairman CII National Committee on Media & Entertainment & Group CEO Viacom18 Media Pvt. Ltd Sudhanshu Vats.  Other dignitaries who attended the event included Mrs. Jaya Bachchan, Mr. Shyam Benegal, Dr YK Hamied, Chairman of CIPLA and Gian Luca Farinelli, Director, Cineteca di Bologna.
Viacom18 and Film Heritage Foundation launch the Film Preservation and Restoration School in India Liberty Cinema

Viacom18 and Film Heritage Foundation launch the Film Preservation and Restoration School in India Liberty Cinema

PK Nair, Founder and Former Director of the National Film Archive of India was felicitated with the Lifetime Achievement Award by Mr. Amitabh Bachchan at the ceremony. While Director of Cineteca di Bologna, Gian Luca Farinelli, received the award for Outstanding Achievement Award from Mrs. Jaya Bachchan and Gulzar Saab. As part of the opening ceremony, the attendees also watched a screening of restored version of Sergio Leone’s “Fistful of Dollars” (1964).

Expressing his thoughts over this great initiative Mr. Amitabh Bachchan said, “When I met Shivendra Singh Dungarpur of Film Heritage Foundation, I was shocked to hear how much of our rich cinematic legacy we had lost and that we will lose many more of our classics if urgent steps are not taken for their preservation and restoration. I think the Film Preservation & Restoration School India 2015 is a pioneering initiative to save India’s cinematic heritage and I am happy to support and endorse the cause by being the Chief Guest at the opening ceremony on February 22nd. I hope that this will be the start of a movement to save our cinema.”

Speaking about the initiative Mr. Sudhanshu Vats, Chairman CII National Committee on Media & Entertainment & Group CEO Viacom18 Media Pvt. Ltd. said, “This initiative is very close to our hearts and is in line with Viacom18’s belief that it is imperative to preserve the rich and varied legacy of Indian cinema. The workshops will bring the finest international faculty to give the students the best from the world on the subject of film preservation and restoration. We are very happy to pledge our support to the Film Heritage Foundation for organizing these educational workshops that are aimed at addressing practical issues associated with film preservation and to come with solutions at the same time that create indigenous expertise.”

Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, Founder Director, Film Heritage Foundation said, “Most people are not aware that India has an endangered cinematic legacy. We have lost a colossal amount of our cinematic heritage and we continue to lose more every day — even recent films dating from as late as the ’90s. We need to recognize that cinema is an integral part of our social and cultural heritage that must be preserved and restored like any other art form. The idea behind the Film Preservation & Restoration School India was to create awareness about the importance of film preservation and restoration and to take the first step in training future archivists and restorers to save our cinematic heritage. Sudhanshu Vats of Viacom 18 was the first person from the film industry who had the foresight to recognize the importance and urgency of our cause and to offer his support for this pioneering educational initiative.”

The state government too recognizes the importance of film restoration and preservation for the larger good of the industry. Films Division was therefore chosen to be the natural venue for the week long school and students from government bodies – the National Film Archive of India, Doordarshan, India Gandhi National Centre of Arts and Films Division are part of the intensive workshop. Further in the collaboration with Film Heritage Foundation for the workshop, is the esteemed Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation, Cineteca di Bologna, L’Immagine Ritrovata and FIAF the International Federation of Film Archives.

The event also witnessed the launch of the first ever book dedicated to the topic of film preservation and restoration to be published in India – From Darkness Into Light: Perspectives on Film Preservation & Restoration. Edited by Rajesh Devraj, the book aims is to create awareness about the topic in India, and to take stock of our country’s endangered film patrimony. We hope to communicate the urgency of the situation to the film community, the government and a cinema-loving nation to come forward and save India’s cinematic heritage. The book brings together articles by some of the world’s leading preservation experts and archivists, who provide an introduction to the field, describing its ethical and practical dimensions, and discussing current approaches to film archiving.

More about the workshops: The module on film preservation has been specially customized for the school by David Walsh, technical head of FIAF and the Head of Digital Collections at the Imperial War Museum, Kieron Webb, Film Conservation Manager of the British Film Institute National Archive and Camille Blot-Wellens of the FIAF Technical Commission. Practical classes on film restoration will be conducted by a team from L’Immagine Ritrovata, one of the best restoration labs in the world. The workshop will be international faculty also includes Andrea Kalas, Vice-President of the Paramount Pictures Archive, Lee Kline and Ryan Hullings who are working on the restoration of Ray’s Apu Trilogy, Maciej Molewski who has restored some of Poland’s best classics and Prof. Ray Jiing, who started the film preservation movement in Taiwan.

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