Indian Industry to get Film Preservation Tips From U.S. Academy

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The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences will participate in India's film preservation workshop for the first time, joining the likes of Martin Scorsese-backed Film Foundation's World Cinema Project.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will, for the first time, participate in a film preservation workshop in India to be held in October.

Now in its third edition, the Film Preservation and Restoration Workshop India is an initiative of the country’s Film Heritage Foundation and the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF) in association with the Martin Scorsese-backed Film Foundation's World Cinema Project. Other partners include Italy's L'Immagine Ritrovata and Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna, Indian film services company Prasad Corp and Viacom’s Indian arm Viacom18.

In addition to the Academy, other new international partners this year include La Cinematheque Francaise, Britain's Imperial War Museum, the Finnish Film Archive, the Czech National Film Archive and Kodak.

Previous editions of the workshop have been held in Mumbai, home of Hindi-language Bollywood, and in neighboring city Pune at the National Film Archives of India. This year’s workshop will be held in Chennai in South India, in a bid to highlight the urgent need for preservation in a region that has its own historic multi-lingual film legacy.

The workshop will offer a FIAF certified course to participating candidates covering topics ranging from archive strategies to digital preservation mentored by various faculty members. In addition, several scholarships will be sponsored by leading South Indian star Kamal Haasan and AVM Studios, considered the country’s oldest surviving film production entity, among other sponsors.

The Academy Archive’s chief conservator Dawn Jaros will focus on photographic conservation. “By sharing basic photograph conservation treatment skills with a group of archivists and librarians, they too will be a part of preserving history for future film devotees,” Jaros tells The Hollywood Reporter, adding, “Otherwise, Indian films of the past, present and future could be lost forever, unless preservation steps are taken.”

“It is pertinent that this content is preserved for reference as well as archived for perusal by future generations,” adds Viacom18 group CEO Sudhanshu Vats.

Film Heritage Foundation’s founding partner Shivendra Singh Dungarpur explains that photograph conservation “is a highly neglected area [in India] given the amount of individual collectors as well as studios and film families that still have photographic material lying with them mostly stored quite poorly.” Dungarpur also points out that the association with the Academy is “just the beginning” and that “we look forward to working with the Academy in our future workshops too as their archive covers every aspect of film preservation.”

The FPRWI workshop runs Oct. 7-14.