>To Decasia and Back: Film Preservation Studies


Short documentary by Louise Lambert (2005) about Bill Morrison‘s experimental collage film Decasia (2002). You can also read David Cairn’s great entry on this film for the Film Preservation Blogathon here. Further articles on this film are listed below.

Film Studies For Free is very honoured to contribute an entry to the “For the Love of Film! Film Preservation Blogathon”. As FSFF readers will already know, this highly worthwhile event has been organised by greatly esteemed bloggers Self-Styled Siren and Marilyn Ferdinand (the latter of the wonderful Ferdy on Film). 

Below are embedded some entertaining and informative online videos about film preservation, and below those are some links to further, openly accessible, scholarly material about this essential but expensive art and science.

If you would like to make a donation to the Blogathon’s chosen charitable recipient, the National Film Preservation Foundation (U.S.A), one of the most active and important preservers of film anywhere in the world,  please click here.

The National Film Preservation Foundation is the independent, nonprofit organization created by the U.S. Congress to help save America’s film heritage. They work directly with archives to rescue endangered films that will not survive without public support. The NFPF will give away 4 DVD sets as thank-you gifts to blogathon donors chosen in a random drawing: Treasures III: Social Issues in American Film, 1900-1934 and Treasures IV: American Avant Garde Film, 1947-1986.

So you can see for yourselves the important work that the NFPF does, here’s the list of films it has helped to preserve so far.

If you would like to contribute to the cause of film preservation in a country other than the U.S. you can find details of all national affiliates to the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF) via FIAF‘s online directory here.

To access a list of all entries to the “For the Love of Film” Blogathon to date please click here. If you need further inspiration to donate or otherwise get involved in this cause, do watch Greg Ferrara’s wonderful video commercial for the Blogathon at his website Cinema Styles.

A great introduction to the practicalities of film preservation (with a terrifically entertaining voiceover). It looks at the preservation of Humphrey Jennings and Stewart McAllister’s 1942 film Listen to Britain at the British Film Institute archive.

Treasures of the Academy/”Guardians of History Documentary Channel/Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences produce an in-depth look at the importance of film preservation. John Huston’s World War 2 documentaries, “Battle of San Pietro” and “Let There Be Light,” which have been preserved by DOC and AMPAS, are highlighted as examples of film as living history. Featuring interviews with John Huston’s son, Tony, and top directors and historians who shed considerable light on this important, exciting subject. Parts 2 & 3 below.
Part 2

Part 3

Francis Ford Coppola on Film Preservation and Technology

A sad reminder of the extreme end of celluloid’s ephemerality through neglect: “Spectacular footage of 1937 Fox Film storage facility fire in Little Ferry, NJ – Digital/upload by F. Fuchs Filmed by W. Zabransky. Theda Bara and other FOX films/negatives were destroyed.”


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