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Archival News 53.3 (Spring 2014)
Edited by Katherine Groo


1. PRESERVATION

One of BFI’s Most Wanted Found at EYE

One of BFI’s Most Wanted Found at EYE

The EYE Film Institutein the Netherlands has discovered a lost masterpiece of British silent cinema, George Pearson’s Love, Life and Laughter(1923). The film stars Betty Balfour, the most successful British actress of the 1920s and Britain’s answer to Mary Pickford. Contemporary press reports hailed the film as a triumph, a screen classic, and a masterpiece. It is among the British Film Institute’s (BFI) list of 75 most wanted missing films. Only one other film by Pearson survives.

The print is part of a collection of film cans that belonged to Theater De Vries, a local cinema in the small town of Hattem. The cinema was only active from 1929 to 1932. In 2012, an employee at a local television station found several film canisters and brought them to EYE. No one had any idea of their contents until the films were catalogued.

See here for further information on the discovery.

[Above: Betty Balfour as Tiny Toes in Love, Life and Laughter (1923)]

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USC to Preserve Academy Collection

USC to Preserve Academy Collection

The University of Southern California (USC) Digital Repositorywill manage and preserve 320 terabytes of audiovisual material created by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences over the last 50 years. The collection includes footage of Academy Awards ceremonies and other events, as well as digital restoration elements of film preservation projects. The project will involve the collaboration of the university's information technology services, libraries, and Shoah Foundation.

Further details are available here and here.

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Lost Mickey Rooney Found, To Be Preserved

Lost Mickey Rooney Found, To Be Preserved

Dozens of lost American silent films, including a 1927 short starring a 6-year-old Mickey Rooney, have been found at the EYE Film Institute in the Netherlands. EYE and the National Film Preservation Foundation(NFPF) will partner to restore and preserve these titles.

NFPF consultant Leslie Lewis identified the films at EYE during two months of research funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The nitrate prints were distributed in the Netherlands in the 1910s and ‘20s. Many are tinted; all are thought to be unique or the best surviving source material.

Mickey’s Circus, from Larry Darmour Productions, was the first of 78 appearances Rooney made as the McGuire character from the comics. Another film among the first 26 scheduled for preservation in 2014 is The Backyard (1920), a short comedy that features Oliver Hardy as a ruffian who kidnaps a millionaire's granddaughter.

During the next three years, the works will be preserved to 35mm film and made publicly available through the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Library of Congress.

For more information, see EYE, NFPF, and the Hollywood Reporter.

[Above: Mickey Rooney in Mickey’s Circus (1927)]

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2. LEGAL

US Hearing on Preservation and Reuse of Copyrighted Works

US Hearing on Preservation and Reuse of Copyrighted Works

On April 2, 2014, the United States Congressional Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet heard testimony on the preservation and reuse of copyrighted works. The hearing covered orphan works, mass digitization, and portions of section 108 of the U.S. Copyright Act that address preservation and deteriorating works.

A complete witness list is available here, along with links to video of the hearing.

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Copyright Office: Orphan Roundtable, World Intellectual Property Day

Copyright Office: Orphan Roundtable, World Intellectual Property Day

In March, the United States Copyright Office began hosting a series of public roundtable discussions on potential legislative solutions for orphan works and mass digitization under U.S. copyright law. The meetings offered an opportunity for interested parties to address new legal developments and issues raised in response to the Office’s previous Notice of Inquiry.

The copyright office also celebrated "World Intellectual Property Day” on April 23with a Copyright Matters program entitled "Movies: A Global Passion.” The program included special remarks from Francis Gurry, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization; Robert Newman, the Vice President for Actors and Performers for the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA); and Dr. Mike Mashon, Head of the Moving Image Section at the Library of Congress.

Register of Copyrights Maria A. Pallante founded the Copyright Matters lecture series in 2011 as a community forum to discuss the practical implications of copyright law in the twenty-first century and to provide education and training to the staff of the U.S. Copyright Office. Lectures occur throughout the year at the Library of Congress and include discussions about authorship, copyright registration, marketplace investment, copyright enforcement, fair use, international norm setting, orphan works, and other updates and revisions of copyright law.

For more information on the Copyright roundtable discussions, see here and here. For further details on World Intellectual Property Day and the Copyright Matters lecture series, see hereand here.

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UK and China Sign Co-Production Treaty

UK and China Sign Co-Production Treaty

In April, British Culture Minister Ed Vaizey and Chinese Vice Minister Tong Gang of the State Administration of Radio, Film & Television (SARFT) signed a landmark film co-production treaty between the UK and China. The treaty, which was negotiated for the UK by the British Film Institute (BFI) with support from the Department for Culture, Media & Sport, will allow qualifying co-productions to access national benefits, including sources of finance and an easier passage to audiences. In the UK this includes the Film Tax Relief and the BFI Film Fund, which is the UK’s largest public film fund. In addition, eligible co-productions will not be subject to China’s quota on foreign films, which only permits a limited number of non-domestic titles to be shown in Chinese cinemas each year.

More details on the treaty are available from the BFI.

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3. INSTITUTIONS AND ORGANIZATIONS

Genre Film Archive Crowdsources Restoration of Astrologer

Genre Film Archive Crowdsources Restoration of Astrologer

AGFA Indiegogo from Alamo Drafthouse on Vimeo.

The Austin-based American Genre Film Archive (AGFA) recentlylauncheda campaign via Indiegogo to raise funds for the restoration of its 35mm collection. The aim of the project is to complete 2K transfers of endangered titles, and then create digital duplicates. AGFA also hopes to carefully restore and strike new prints of films that are in danger of being lost. The first film that AGFA is setting out to preserve is Craig Denny's The Astrologer (1975).

AGFA was formed in 2009 by an international band of movie enthusiasts. The archive housing over 3,000 film prints and specializes in horror, sleaze, action, and independent regional filmmaking, as well as international genre cinema with an emphasis on films from Hong Kong.

Further information can be found here.

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New Positions: Cinemateca Portuguesa-Museu do Cinema, MOMA

New Positions: Cinemateca Portuguesa-Museu do Cinema, MOMA

In March, the Cinemateca Portuguesa-Museu do CinemanamedJosé Manuel Costa as its new Director. Costa has been involved with the Cinemateca since 1975 and has served as Deputy Director since 1996. He began working for the institution in its Service and Outreach department and thereafter directed the Arquivo Nacional das Imagens em Movimento (ANIM), founded in 1980.

The Museum of Modern Art (NYC) recently announced Joshua Siegel’s promotion to Curator in the Department of Film. Siegel has organized or co-organized more than ninety exhibitions for MOMA since joining the institution as a curatorial assistant in 1993, including Vienna Unveiled: A City in Cinema (2014); Art Theater Guild and Japanese Underground Cinema, 1962-1986 (2013); The Rolling Stones: 50 Years on Film (2012); The New India (2009); and the gallery and film exhibition Jazz Score (2008). His monographic exhibitions include Werner Schroeter(2012), Dziga Vertov (2011), Frederick Wiseman (2010), Spike Jonze (2009), Julien Duvivier (2009), Peter Hutton (2008), Michael Haneke (2008),Gregory La Cava (2005), Christopher Guest (2005), Olivier Assayas (2003), Jean Painlevé (2000), Errol Morris (1999), Marguerite Duras (1998), and Jeanne Moreau (1994).

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National Library of Norway Returns Rare Film to China

National Library of Norway Returns Rare Film to China

The National Library of Norway delivered its copy of The Cave of the Silken Web (Dan Duyu, 1927) to the China Film Archive in April. The print was discovered in the library’s archives in 2011. It is believed to be the only existing copy of the film, which is based on an episode from the Chinese classic novel Journey to the West. The film was first screened in Oslo in 1929 and the copy features subtitles in both Chinese and Norwegian.

The return of the film follows another restoration of historical relics from Norway to China. Under an agreement reached in December, the Henie-Onstad Art Centre in Høvikodden announced it was returning seven columns taken from the old Summer Palace in Beijing. A Norwegian cavalry officer acquired the columns more than a century ago.

These moves may help pave the way for the resumption of regular diplomatic contacts between China and Norway. China suspended bilateral talks with Norway after the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Peace Prize to Mr. Liu, who is serving an 11-year prison term for helping to write the political manifesto Charter 08.

For further information, see the New York Times and Agence France-Presse.

[Above: image from The Cave of the Silken Web (1927)]

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LOC Offers Digital Stewardship Residencies

LOC Offers Digital Stewardship Residencies

The Library of Congress’s National Digital Stewardship Residency Program (NDSR) will offer funding for recent master’s degree recipients to complete nine-month digital stewardship projects at host institutions in the Boston and New York City area. The Library of Congress launched the NDSR program last year. 2014 residencies will begin in September and conclude in May 2015. Applications are due May 30, 2014.

For more information, visit NDSR Boston and NDSR-NY.

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4. EXHIBITIONS

Cinémathèque Française Celebrates Henri Langlois

Cinémathèque Française Celebrates Henri Langlois

In April, the Cinémathèque Française launched "Le Musée imaginaire d’Henri Langlois,” a series of events that will continue throughout the summer in celebration of the centennial of its co-founder, Henri Langlois. Langlois established the Cinémathèque in the 1930s (with his friend, Georges Franju) and dedicated the institution to the preservation and exhibition of films from all countries and historical periods. The program for the "Musée imaginaire” includes screenings, exhibitions, lectures, and activities for children.

Complete details can be found here.

[Above: Photograph of Henri Langlois. Author unknown. © DR The French Film Collection]

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Hong Kong Film Archive Transcends Space and Time

Hong Kong Film Archive Transcends Space and Time

Between March 21 and June 22, the Hong Kong Film Archive will presentan exhibition entitled Transcending Space and Time: Early Cinematic Experiences of Hong Kong. The exhibition explores Hong Kong’s early cinema through a variety of moving images, from late nineteenth-century actualities to feature-length fiction films produced in the 1920s and ‘30s. Antique photos and other historical documents accompany the films. The exhibition also uses multimedia installations to guide viewers through Hong Kong’s first decades of film history.

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Texas Chainsaw Massacre Returns to Theaters

Texas Chainsaw Massacre Returns to Theaters

To celebrate the fortieth anniversary of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Tobe Hooper, 1974), MPI/Dark Sky Films will release a restored of the original slasher film. The new version will be released in theaters this summer with a new 4K transfer from the original 16 mm prints.

Hooper shot the original film in 1973 with a crew of Austin film students and recent graduates in Round Rock, Texas. The movie debuted in drive-ins and eventually grossed $30 million; it was invited to the 1975 Cannes Film Festival Director’s Fortnight and was acquired as part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art.

The restoration was overseen by Todd Wieneke of Dark Sky Films and took place at NOLO Digital Film in Chicago. All 120,960 frames were transferred to a 4K scan. Hooper, who helped score the film and did the sound design, was also involved with the audio restoration.

See Varietyfor further details on the release.

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5. CONFERENCES, SYMPOSIA, AND WORKSHOPS

Orphan Film Symposium 2014, March 30–April 2

Orphan Film Symposium 2014, March 30–April 2

The ninth annual Orphan Film Symposium was held at the EYE Film Institute in Amsterdam from March 30 to April 2. The event was sponsored by EYE, New York University, and the University of Amsterdam.

The symposium’s theme was "The Future of Obsolescence.” Participants considered not only technological and format obsolescence, but also the ways in which audiovisual media have recorded and deployed ideas, content, representations, genres, narratives, fashions, and ideologies deemed obsolete or outdated.

Panelists discussed (among other topics) "Media Archaeology,” "Digital Decay and Remobilization,” "Amateur Films of the Eastern Bloc,” and "Latin American Archives.” Evening screenings included Technicolor NG an audio remix by Jon Klacsmann and Walter Forsberg of the first reel of Ride to Hangman’s Tree (Alan Rafkin, 1966); Oskar Fischinger’s Pink Guards on Parade (1935), a publicity short for Euthymol toothpaste; and a new work from Bill Morrison entitled La Trochita (Narrow Gauge) (2014).

Reports on the symposium can be found here, here, and here. The complete program can be read here.

[Above: Technicolor NG, Walter Forsberg & John Klacsmann, 2014]

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LoC Celebrates National Preservation Week with Public Workshops

LoC Celebrates National Preservation Week with Public Workshops

Every year during the last week in April, libraries across the U.S. celebrate National Preservation Week, an initiative of the American Library Association (ALA), to highlight what we can be done, individually and collectively, to preserve personal and shared collections. The Library of Congress (LoC) celebrated National Preservation Week with public presentations and workshops on conservation treatment, data analysis, and preservation supply options for properly storing collections.

Further details on National Preservation Week can be found here. Event details for the Library of Congress workshops are available here.

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Image/Archive Conference, Open Society Archives, March 7–8

Image/Archive Conference, Open Society Archives, March 7–8

The Image/Archive conference was organized by Ioana Macrea-Toma and Oksana Sarkisova of the Open Society Archives (Budapest) to bridge the gap between contemporary digital archival practices and academic theory regarding the image of—and the images in—the archive. The conference brought together scholars and specialists in the fields of history, archival science, media studies, film studies, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, and design; it encouraged participants to reflect on the growing role of visual material in both researching and presenting historical data.

For a detailed conference report, please see here.

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NYC Hosts First Home Movie Day

NYC Hosts First Home Movie Day

On March 1, 2014, the Downtown Community Television Center (DCTV-NY), Activist Archivists, and Third World Newsreel hosted the first New York City "Home Video Day” to highlight the importance of saving VHS and miniDV memories. Families, community groups, individuals, and artists were asked to bring their VHS and MiniDV tapes to the event. Archivists were on hand to inspect tapes and advise on ways to preserve the content of home videos for future generations. Throughout the day, local artists showed work from their own collections, alongside the home videos of the workshop participants.

More information on the event is available from DCTV-NY.

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6. AWARDS

George Eastman House Honors Artists in Film and Photography

George Eastman House Honors Artists in Film and Photography

The George Eastman House hosted its second Light & Motion Gala in New York City on May 5. The event, which highlights the museum’s work in preservation and restoration, will pay tribute to the accomplishments of emerging and established artists in the fields of motion pictures and photography.The 2014 honorees included: Leonard Maltin (Light & Motion Award for Advocacy); Mary Ellen Mark (Lifetime Achievement in Photography); Chris McCaw (Emerging Icon in Photography); Alexander Payne(Lifetime Achievement in Film); and Julia Loktev (Emerging Icon in Film).

For further details on the Gala and its honorees, see here.

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Liz Czach Wins NHF William O’Farrell Fellowship

Liz Czach Wins NHF William O’Farrell Fellowship

Northeast Historic Film(NHF) has awarded its 2014 William O’Farrell Fellowship to Liz Czach, Associate Professor of English and Film Studies, University of Alberta. The Fellowship provides a stipend of $1,500 to support research at NHF, a regional moving image archive established in 1986.

Dr. Czach's project is focused on sound in amateur film. From the 1930s on, amateur film equipment manufacturers struggled with the challenge of finding an affordable, effective, and easy-to-use sound film technology. Czach will investigate the history of amateur film sound technologies. Her research at NHF will draw on its collection of newsletters and magazines aimed at amateur filmmakers; the Alan Kattelle technology collection, which consists of over 800 cameras and projectors, including a range of rare sound filmmaking equipment that was marketed to amateurs; and its collection of amateur sound films.

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Academy Announces 2014 Grant Recipients

Academy Announces 2014 Grant Recipients

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Education Grants Committee has named Laurence Kardish and James O. Naremore as their 2014 Academy Film Scholars. Kardish is Senior Curator Emeritus at the Museum of Modern Art’s Department of Film. His project,Shirley Clarke: The Original Chelsea Girl, is the first book-length critical biography of the New York film and video artist. Naremore is Chancellors’ Professor Emeritus in the English department at Indiana University.His project, The Cinema of Charles Burnett, is a two-part book that will place Burnett’s work in the contexts of the Hollywood film industry and the work of other black filmmakers.

Established in 1999, the Academy Film Scholars program is designed to "stimulate and support the creation of new and significant works of film scholarship about aesthetic, cultural, educational, historical, theoretical, or scientific aspects of theatrical motion pictures.”For grant guidelines and information about the Academy Film Scholars program, contact Grants Coordinator Shawn Guthrie or visit the Academy Film Scholars website.

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7. PUBLICATIONS AND DVDS

Laura Rascaroli and Gwenda Young (co-editors), Amateur Filmmaking: The Home Movie, the Archive, the Web

Laura Rascaroli and Gwenda Young (co-editors), Amateur Filmmaking: The Home Movie, the Archive, the Web

With the advent of digital filmmaking, interest in the amateur moving image has never been stronger. Amateur Filmmaking (Bloomsbury, 2014) brings together key scholars in the field and explores the diverse field of amateur film practice, from home movies of Imperial India and film diaries of life in contemporary China to the work of leading auteurs Joseph Morder and Péter Forgács. Amateur Filmmaking highlights the importance of amateur cinema as an object of critical interest across an array of disciplines. With contributions on the role of the archive, on YouTube, and on the impact of new technologies, these essays offer a comprehensive examination of this growing field.

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8. ONLINE RESOURCES

British Pathé Releases 85,000 Films to YouTube

British Pathé Releases 85,000 Films to YouTube

Newsreel archive British Pathé has uploaded its entire collection of 85,000 historic films, in high resolution, to its YouTube channel. In releasing this cache of vintage news reports and cinemagazines, the archive hopes to make its audio-visual artifacts more accessible to viewers all over the world. Spanning the years from 1896 to 1976, the collection includes footage of major events, celebrities, fashion trends, travel, sport, and culture. The archive contains a particularly expansive collection of newsreel footage from the First and Second World Wars.

The German company Mediakraft manages the project; they also plan to develop new content using British Pathé material in English and other languages.

You can view and share films from British Pathé here and read more about the digital project here

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Getty Makes Thirty-Five Million Photos Free to Use

Getty Makes Thirty-Five Million Photos Free to Use

Getty Images, the world's largest photo agency, has made a large portion of its library free to use. Getty said it made the move after realizing that thousands of its images were being used without attribution. The company will be making up to 35 million photos available through their new embed tool, and images can also be shared on social media sites. Images cannot be resized and they will all incorporate a Getty Images logo, as well as a credit for the photographer. Like YouTube, the company may use the code to serve advertisements in the future, allowing it to make revenue by sharing its catalogue.

For further reading, see BBC and Businessweek.

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Music Film Archive Launches "Jazz on Film”

Music Film Archive Launches "Jazz on Film”

Mark Cantor and the Celluloid Improvisations Music Film Archive recently launched a website dedicated to representations of jazz in cinema. The website includes clips, audio files, rare production documents, and photographs.

Celluloid Improvisations is an archive of jazz music preserved on 16mm sound film, videotape, laserdisc, DVD, and various digital formats. The collection includes more than 4,000 separate performances. While the archive's holdings focus on jazz, they also include related forms of American music, such as blues, swing, western swing, "pop,” rhythm and blues, country-western, vernacular dance, vaudeville and variety arts, etc.

In addition to the preservation of music performance on film, the archive gathers and evaluates as much information as possible about each of the films. The archive strives to identify soundtrack musicians and on-screen performers; recording and sideline dates; and production personnel.

[Above: Modern Jazz Quartet, Celluloid Improvisations Music Film Archive]

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World Digital Library Reaches Milestone of 10,000 Accessible Items

World Digital Library Reaches Milestone of 10,000 Accessible Items

The World Digital Library (WDL), a collaborative international project led by the Library of Congress, now includes more than 10,000 manuscripts, maps and atlases, books, prints and photographs, films, sound recordings, and other cultural documents. The 10,000-item milestone was reached in March with the addition of a set of priceless manuscripts from the Walters Art Museum of Baltimore, Maryland, a WDL partner since 2010.

With the latest additions, the WDL includes 10,037 rare and unique items, comprising nearly 500,000 images. Content contributed by 102 institutions in 46 countries is on the WDL site, which can be accessed in seven languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

More information on the milestone and recent additions to the WDL can be found here.

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9. TECHNOLOGY

Deluxe Closes Hollywood Lab

Deluxe Closes Hollywood Lab

The post-production company Deluxe announced in March that it was closing its film laboratory in Hollywood on May 9. In a letter to customers, Warren Stein, chief operating officer of Deluxe Laboratories, wrote:

"The capture and exhibition of motion pictures has transitioned from film to digital in recent years. […] Our processing volumes have declined sharply and as a result, the laboratory has incurred significant financial losses. This has forced us to make this very difficult decision.”

Following the recently announced closure of the Deluxe laboratory in London, Deluxe’s only remaining film processing facility will be a small operation in New York. Deluxe's announcement is the latest indication of film’s industrial decline. Last year, Technicolor, the French-owned film processing and post-production company, closed a film lab in Glendale, California. That lab had replaced a much larger facility at Universal Studios that employed 360 workers until it closed in 2011. Technicolor also closed its Pinewood film lab in Britain last year.

For further details on the closure, see the Los Angeles Times.

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See the Restoration Process at Criterion

See the Restoration Process at Criterion

Reporters from Gizmodo visited the Criterion offices to find out more about the company’s restoration processes. This is what they learned:

GIZMODO - How Criterion Collection Brings Movies Back From the Dead from Gizmodo on Vimeo.

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Paramount Becomes First Studio to Stop Distributing Film Prints

Paramount Becomes First Studio to Stop Distributing Film Prints

Paramount Pictures has become the first major studio to stop releasing movies on film in the United States. Paramount recently notified theater owners that Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (Adam McKay, 2013) would be the last movie it would release on 35 mm film.

The decision will likely encourage other studios to follow suit, accelerating the complete phase-out of film, possibly by the end of the year. "It’s of huge significance,” said Jan-Christopher Horak, director of the UCLA Film & Television Archive. "For 120 years, film and 35 mm has been the format of choice for theatrical presentations. Now we’re seeing the end of that. I’m not shocked that it’s happened, but how quickly it has happened.”

Further details can be found here and here. Jan Christopher Horak’s interview with NPR on the Paramount decision can be found here. The New Yorker’s Richard Brody reflects on Paramount and the end of film here.

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"Archival News” reports recent news highlights from the media archive community for the Cinema Journal readership. Some information in this column comes courtesy of the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) listserv, along with institutional newsletters, websites, and press releases. This column is updated quarterly. Contributions to this column are welcomed. Information should be sent to Katherine Groo, Lecturer, Film and Visual Culture, School of Language and Literature, University of Aberdeen, Taylor Bldg. A, Aberdeen AB24 3UB, Scotland; phone +44 (0)1224-701590; email: k.groo@abdn.ac.uk.

Past issues of Archival News are located here.

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