Martin Scorsese's Film Foundation Partners for India Film Preservation Course

Martin Scorsese
Welsey Mann

"I think all of us, under certain circumstances, could be capable of some very despicable acts," says the legendary director. "And that's why, over the years, in my movies I've had characters who didn't care what people thought about them. We try to be as true to them as possible and maybe see part of ourselves in there that we may not like."

The first event of its kind could help the country, whose preservation record is considered dismal

Martin Scorsese-founded The Film Foundation will partner with India's Film Heritage Foundation for a course entitled "Film Preservation and Restoration School India."

The first of its kind intensive film preservation course in the country will be held Feb. 22-28, 2015 in Mumbai. Other collaborators include The Film Foundation's affiliate World Cinema Project, Italy's Fondazione Cineteca Di Bologna and Italian film restoration laboratory L’immagine Ritrovata.

The Film Foundation board includes such big-name filmmakers as Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, Clint Eastwood, Robert Redford, Woody Allen, Paul Thomas Anderson, Alexander Payne, Ang Lee and Peter Jackson, among others.

The Film Heritage Foundation was set up by Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, a filmmaker, archivist and restorer who made the award-winning documentary Celluloid Man about India’s legendary film archivist P.K. Nair. Dungarpur collaborated with the World Cinema Project to restore classic Indian film Kalpana by Uday Shankar, which premiered at Cannes in 2012.

The WCP helps preserve and restore neglected films from around the world, in particular from countries lacking sufficient archival, technical and financial resources.

The film preservation course will offer hands-on training by faculty members, which will include international experts from the partner organizations. Applications are invited for the course, which will select 40 students from India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan. Participants will get a certification recognized under the patronage of the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF).

Although the Indian film industry celebrated its 100 year anniversary last year, the country's record in film preservation is considered dismal. According to the Film Heritage Foundation, by 1950, India had lost 70-80 percent of its films, including the first Indian talkie Alam Ara. Of the 1,700 silent films made in India, only a handful have survived.