China to start film restoration project


SHANGHAI -- The Beijing-based China Film Archive has begun to restore historic films made in the past 102 years using nine image restoration kits purchased with a partner for about $1 million, Coral Springs, Fla.-based da Vinci Systems said Thursday.

A CFA technology manager in charge of the project told The Hollywood Reporter that "most of the 5,000 historic films will be restored in a digital format, for the purpose of meeting the demands of rural audiences, especially in the remote areas."

The archive, a part of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, is home to decades of Communist propaganda movies.

Rural China, home to two-thirds of the nation's 1.3 billion people, is served mostly by traditional film projectors. But film is expensive and cumbersome to distribute, the CFA manager said. After conversion to digital, films could be distributed via more convenient and cost-effective digital and satellite channels, he said.

The CFA will use the Revival technology made by da Vinci to restore films in cooperation with the Hualong Film Digital Production Co. of Beijing.

"Because this is such a large project, it's particularly important that Revival works fast and much of the time independently of operator control," said Leng Chuansong, the CFA's managing director of film technology.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Thomas Fung, president of Hong Kong-based Asia Computer Consultants, da Vinci's distributor in the greater China region, said that the CFA and Hualong together will invest more $1 million in da Vinci products over the course of the project.