News

Paramount Releases Martin Scorsese-Curated Republic Pictures Slate for Digital Purchase

Natalie Jarvey

9/9/2019 12:00:00 AM

'That Brennan Girl,' 'Johnny Guitar' and other classics are now available to rent or buy via the Apple TV app.

Martin Scorsese is helping introduce a rare collection of films to the modern world. 

The director of Netflix's forthcoming The Irishman has curated a selection of newly restored Republic Pictures films for release on the Apple TV app, where they are now available to rent or buy.

The films all come from a two-decade period during which Republic churned out what were then considered B movies that gave the filmmakers incredible freedom as long as they stuck to their budgets. Paramount, which owns the library, has remastered and restored many of the titles, including Alfred Santell's That Brennan Girl and Nicholas Ray's Johnny Guitar.

"From the '30s through the '50s, the different studio logos at the head of every picture carried their own associations and expectations, and for me, the name Republic over the eagle on the mountain peak meant something special," Scorsese, who also curated a selection of the films for a 2018 screening series at New York's Museum of Modern Art, said in a statement. "There are so many titles that have been overlooked or forgotten; waiting for decades to be seen again. I can promise you that you have some discoveries in store."

Paramount chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos added in a statement, "We are thrilled that these movies can be experienced once again in the way their filmmakers intended.”

Republic operated for just over three decades as one of the so-called poverty row studios known for their low-budget projects. Because of the creative freedoms it provided, it attracted up-and-comers, helping launched the careers of Western film stars, including John Wayne and Roy Rogers. Paramount parent Viacom acquired the library in the mid-1990s and around a decade ago began an expansive effort to restore the films, many of which experimented with color processing techniques. 

Republic, says Paramount senior vp archives Andrea Kalas, attracted young creatives who "knew how to cut corners but keep the story, great cinematography and great performances going. That challenge comes out on the screen in really wonderful ways." She has been working to rerelease between 75 and 100 titles each year.

After Scorsese's The Film Foundation became interested in Kalas' preservation work, it teamed with MoMA for a screening series. Kalas says that Scorsese and The Film Foundation then selected the 24 titles — also including City That Never Sleeps from director John Auer and The Quiet Man from John Ford — in the collection from around 700 restored Republic works.

Dave Kehr, director of the museum's department of film, says That Brennan Girl, which tells the story of a young woman's rough upbringing and was chosen to open the series, was a particular favorite of Scorsese's. "There's a lot of interesting work in there and it just hasn't been around in any kind of versions that give justice to the actual quality of the production," explains Kehr, adding that he hopes the streaming release of the titles "make these available to a much wider public." 

The 24-film collection, dubbed Republic Rediscovered, can be rented or purchased on Apple's TV app, which is taking the place of iTunes as a marketplace for video content. Each title will be available to rent for $4 or, for a limited promotional period, to buy for $5. After Sept. 16, the price to purchase one of the titles will revert to the standard $13. 

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Martin Scorsese, Christopher Nolan Among Directors Launching "Filmmaker Mode" TV Setting

Carolyn Giardina

8/27/2019 12:00:00 AM

Leading directors including Martin Scorsese, Christopher Nolan, Ryan Coogler, Patty Jenkins and Rian Johnson have teamed up with the UHD Alliance — a coalition whose members include Hollywood studios and consumer electronics manufacturers — to introduce a new UHD TV setting aimed at preserving the filmmakers' creative intent on consumer displays.

There has been a growing concern in the production community that with the many settings available on consumer TVs, the filmmaker’s creative decisions that are made during production and postproduction are not always what is displayed. This new "Filmmaker Mode" for supported TV models is aimed at giving viewers a consistent, cinematic representation of images as the filmmakers intended, in terms of color, contrast, aspect ratio and frame rates.

As part of the specification development process, the UHDA sought input from more than 400 filmmakers, including 140 directors and cinematographers. The Alliance also reached out to the Directors Guild of America, American Society of Cinematographers, American Cinema Editors and Martin Scorsese’s The Film Foundation.

Rian Johnson, director of Star Wars: The Last Jedi and the upcoming Knives Outwas on hand for the announcement and explained Filmmaker Mode with an analogy for sci-fi fans: “Your Skynet is motion smoothing. … Luckily our John Connor has arrived.”

Johnson noted that home theater technology is currently in a "Golden Age," but warned that “many TVs ship with motion smoothing (and other post-processing settings) as a default."

He highlighted that Filmmaker Mode offers “a single button that lines up the settings so it works for the benefit of the movie and not against it.” He got a laugh as he added, “If you love movies, Filmmaker Mode will make your movies not look like poo-poo.”

Johnson introduced a video explaining and urging viewers to use Filmmaker Mode, featuring testimonials from Scorsese, Nolan, Coogler, Jenkins, Paul Thomas Anderson, James Cameron, J.J. Abrams, Ava DuVernay, Judd Apatow, Ang Lee, Reed Morano and the Duffer Brothers, as well as himself.

LG, Panasonic and Vizio announced a commitment to implement Filmmaker Mode in future TVs, though they didn't say when it would be available.

On the origin of the initiative, UHDA chair Michael Zink, vp technology at Warner Bros., said, "Paul Thomas Anderson, Ryan Coogler, Patty Jenkins, Martin Scorsese and Christopher Nolan reached out to the UHDA about extending the cinematic experience into the living room. We were eager and ideally situated to engage in the conversation."

A “Netflix Mode,” similarly developed to maintain creative intent on the streamer's series, was introduced in 2018 on select TV models, including several from Sony and Panasonic. Netflix, however, is not a member of the UHDA and was not involved in Tuesday’s announcement.

Numerous directors released statements as part of the announcement. Among them, Scorsese said, “I started The Film Foundation in 1990 with the goal to preserve film and protect the filmmaker’s original vision so that the audience can experience these films as they were intended to be seen. Most people today are watching these classic films at home rather than in movie theaters, making Filmmaker Mode of particular importance when presenting these films which have specifications unique to being shot on film.”

Said Coogler, “I care deeply about how cinema is experienced at home because that's where it lives the longest. That's where cinema is watched and re-watched and experienced by families. By allowing the artists in the tent to help consult and give feedback to the electronics companies on Filmmaker Mode, we can collectively help make the consumer’s experience even more like it is in the cinema.”

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TO RESTORE AND PRESERVE THE CLASSICS

Sangeetha Devi Dundoo

8/19/2019 12:00:00 AM

Film Heritage Foundation and Martin Scorsese’s The Film Foundation to conduct the fifth Film Preservation and Restoration Workshop India in Hyderabad

Imagine being able to watch Telugu classics such as Pathala Bhairavi, Devadasu or Sankarabharanam on digital streaming platforms, in high quality. This is possible only if the original (film negatives in the case of old films) have been preserved well.

However, anyone who has had the chance to visit a film lab will disclose how the old negatives and prints lie in neglect. But, what if there’s a chance to train film enthusiasts to restore and preserve archival material?

This December, the Film Heritage Foundation (FHF) and the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF) will be conducting ‘Saving India’s Cinema Heritage’, the fifth Film Preservation and Restoration Workshop India, in Hyderabad, at Annapurna Studios, in partnership with Viacom18.

The week-long workshop will have hands-on training sessions in film and photography preservation and restoration, conducted by experts from around the world. The workshop will be held with the support of Martin Scorsese’s The Film Foundation (TFF) and is open to anyone keen to learn to preserve film and allied materials. The application will up on filmheritagefoundation.co.in from August 25. FHF will be announcing this workshop through an event in Hyderabad, in the presence of actor Nagarjuna and director K Viswanath, among other dignitaries, on August 20.

 

The beginning

While making the film Celluloid Man (on film archivist PK Nair), Shivendra discovered the magnitude of the loss of Indian film heritage. Film Heritage Foundation (FHF) was formed in 2014, to help archive old and new films. Amitabh Bachchan came on board as the foundation’s brand ambassador. Members of the advisory board include Jaya Bachchan, Shyam Benegal, Gulzar, Kamal Haasan, Kumar Shahani and Girish Kasaravalli. Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Film Foundation’ began supporting restoration workshops of FHF since 2015.

Says Shivendra, “When we started FHF in 2014, saving India’s film heritage was an obscure cause with most people asking us ‘what is film heritage?’ and ‘do films really need to be preserved?’ We began with a focus to preserve what remained of our film heritage and to create awareness among the film fraternity about the urgency of the situation as well as change attitudes in India that treated films as commerce, and not as art.”

 

Film handling and preparation

Film handling and preparation   | Photo Credit: By arrangement

 

What FHF does

Since 2015, FHF has conducted four workshops on film preservation and restoration (in Mumbai, Pune, Chennai and Kolkata) and published two books on film preservation and restoration the subject and also reached out to different film industries in India to urge the importance of preservation.

The FHF has a collection of nearly 300 films on 35 mm, 16 mm and 8 mm formats, preserved in a temperature-controlled storage facility. “We maintain the films of leading film personalities like Amitabh Bachchan, Shyam Benegal, N N Sippy, Mani Ratnam, Vishal Bhardwaj, Kumar Shahani, Farhan and Zoya Akhtar, Govind Nihalani, Chitra Palekar, Onir, Shaad Ali, Sumitra Bhave and Sunil Sukthankar,” reveals Shivendra. The films are periodically checked, cleaned and repaired.

Shivendra hopes to build a world-class centre for the moving image which will incorporate a conservation centre, a library, training and research facilities, a museum, exhibition spaces and screening rooms.

Telugu classics FHF hopes to restore

  • Malapilla (1938), Raithu Bidda (1939), Sumangali (1940), Swarga Seema (1945), Pathala Bhairavi (1951), Malliswari (1951), Devadasu (1953), Rojulu Marayi (1955), Missamma (1955), Mayabazar (1957), Dr Chakravarty (1963), Nartanasala (1963), and Sankarabharanam (1979).

 

The Hyderabad focus

In summer 2019, Shivendra did a recce in Hyderabad. Shivendra is aware of the work done by pioneers such as Raghupati Venkaiah Naidu, H M Reddy, B N Reddy, Akkineni Nageswara Rao, L V Prasad, D Ramanaidu, Ramoji Rao and N T Rama Rao, among others. He met the core team of Annapurna Studios and Ramanaidu Studios, apart from veteran directors who showed an interest in restoring old films.

Shivendra recalls an incident from 2014 that made him realise the dearth of film preservation in Telugu cinema, “George Eastman Museum in Rochester, NY, requested my help to acquire a 35 mm print of Magadheera (2009) for archival purposes. I got in touch with S S Rajamouli and Allu Aravind, but we were not able to locate a Telugu print and finally had to ship a dubbed Tamil version to the museum. This got me thinking about the state of preservation of Telugu films. If we could not find a 35 mm original Telugu language print of a blockbuster like Magadheera, what could be the fate of the earlier classics?”

Shivendra observes that like the other film industries in India, Telugu cinema also has a poor record of film preservation, “Original camera negatives have either disappeared or are in terrible condition due to poor storage; the same applies to the prints.”

He asserts that it’s important to preserve the original camera negative since even in the digital age, one needs to go back to the original celluloid source to get scans of the best resolution and quality. “Many people discarded the original celluloid material after scanning it at 2K not realising that if they need digital copies of a higher resolution, they will need to go back to the original celluloid. Celluloid is still considered the best archival medium with a proven longevity of over a 100 years,” he explains.

 

What to expect?

 

From the previous film restoration and preservation workshop

From the previous film restoration and preservation workshop   | Photo Credit: By arrangement

The intensive week-long workshop to be conducted in Hyderabad, certified by FIAF, will cover both lectures and practical classes in the preservation and restoration of both films and film-related paper and photographic material. Participants can opt for one of four streams of specialisation — film, digital, cataloguing, photo and paper conservation.

The past workshops have helped to train and build a resource of local film preservers. A faculty of expert trainers from institutions like the British Film Institute, Imperial War Museums, Cinematheque Francaise, Academy of Motion Picture, Arts & Sciences, George Eastman Museum, Cineteca di Bologna, L’Immagine Ritrovata, Austrian Film Museum, EYE Filmmuseum, Museum of Modern Art, Bundesarchiv, ARRI, Indiana University Library of Moving Images Archive, the Criterion Collection, conduct the sessions. Classes are followed by daily screenings of restored films.

In 2017, Tata Trusts came on board with a grant that has enabled a majority of the participants to do the course free of cost since then.

Apart from creating awareness about preserving film heritage, the workshops have promoted the idea of film preservation as a viable career opportunity, says Shivendra.

(For details, check www.filmheritagefoundation.co.in)

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THE FILMS RESTORED FOR VENICE CLASSICS

7/24/2019 12:00:00 AM

Director and screenwriter Costanza Quatriglio (Sembra mio figlio, Terramatta, Con il fiato sospeso) will chair the Jury of Film Students which – for the eighth year in a row – will award the VENICE CLASSICS prizes for the respective competitions for BEST RESTORED FILM and for the BEST DOCUMENTARY ABOUT CINEMA.

VENICE CLASSICS

The 76th Venice International Film Festival will be held on the Lido from August 28th to September 7th 2019, directed by Alberto Barbera and organized by La Biennale chaired by Paolo Baratta.

Venice Classics is the section that since 2012 has presented world premiere screenings at the Venice Film Festival of a selection of the best restorations of film classics carried out over the past year by film archives, cultural institutions and production companies around the world. Curated by Alberto Barbera with the collaboration of Stefano Francia di Celle, Venice Classics also presents a selection of documentaries about cinema or its authors. The Jury chaired by Costanza Quatriglio will be composed of 22 students, each of them recommended by professors of film studies from various Italian universities, DAMS and from Ca' Foscari University in Venice.

The restorations in Venice Classics will include, to be screened on the Lido, Lo sceicco bianco (The White Sheik) by Federico Fellini, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 1952, presented today with a view towards the 100th anniversary of the director' birth in 2020; a "double bill" for Bernardo Bertolucci with La commare secca (The Grim Reaper), the director's debut film at the 1962 Venice Film Festival, and Strategia del ragno (The Spider's Stratagem), presented at the 1970 Venice Film Festival; the surprising film debut of Giuliano Montaldo, Tiro al piccione (Pigeon Shoot), which premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 1961; a great film produced by RAI (Radio Televisione Italiana) that deserves to be rediscovered, Maria Zef (1981) by Vittorio Cottafavi; the masterpiece by Manoel de Oliveira, Francisca (1981); Out of the Blue (1980) by Dennis Hopper;New York, New York (1977) by Martin Scorsese, in a new 35mm copy, courtesy of Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) on the occasion of United Artists centennial anniversary. The new copy, printed especially for the Venice Film Festival, is presented by the famous producer Irvin Winkler, who will also hold a masterclass after the end of the screening.

THE SELECTED FILMS

THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN 
by JACK ARNOLD (USA, 1957, 81’, B/W)
restored by: Universal Pictures

LA COMMARE SECCA (THE GRIM REAPER)
by BERNARDO BERTOLUCCI (Italy, 1962, 92’, B/W)
restored by: CSC-Cineteca Nazionale in collaboration with RTI-Mediaset

STRATEGIA DEL RAGNO (THE SPIDER'S STRATAGEM)
by BERNARDO BERTOLUCCI (Italy, 1970, 110’, Colour)
restored by: Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna and Massimo Sordella in collaboration with Compass Film

ENSAYO DE UN CRIMEN (THE CRIMINAL LIFE OF ARCHIBALDO DE LA CRUZ) 
by LUIS BUÑUEL (Mexico, 1955, 92’, B/W)
restored by: Cineteca Nacional México in collaboration with Sindicato de Trajadores de la Producción Cinematográfica

LE PASSAGE DU RHIN (THE CROSSING OF THE RHINE) 
by ANDRÉ CAYATTE (France, Germany, Italy, 1960, 125’, B/W)
restored by: Gaumont

MARIA ZEF
by VITTORIO COTTAFAVI (Italy, 1981, 122’, Colour)
restored by: Rai Teche in collaboration with Cineteca del Friuli, Fuori Orario (Rai3) and Museo Nazionale del Cinema di Torino

CRASH
by DAVID CRONENBERG (Canada, 1996, 100’, Colour)
restored by: Recorded Picture Company and Turbine Media Group (with the supervision of David Cronenberg and DOP Peter Suschitzky)

FRANCISCA 
by MANOEL DE OLIVEIRA (Portugal, 1981, 167’, Colour)
restored by: Cinemateca Portuguesa - Museu do Cinema

KHANEH SIAH AST (THE HOUSE IS BLACK)
by FOROUGH FARROKHZAD (Iran, 1962, 21’, B/W)
restored by: Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna and Ecran Noir productions, in collaboration with Ebrahim Golestan. With the support of Genoma Films and Mahrokh Eshaghian

LO SCEICCO BIANCO (THE WHITE SHEIK)
by FEDERICO FELLINI (Italy, 1952, 86’, B/W)
restored by: Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna in the context of “Fellini 100” project, in collaboration with RTI-Mediaset and Infinity

SODRÁSBAN (CURRENT) 
by ISTVÁN GAÁL (Hungary, 1963, 85’, B/W)
restored by: Hungarian National Film Fund – Film Archive

TAPPE-HAYE MARLIK (THE HILLS OF MARLIK)
by EBRAHIM GOLESTAN (Iran, 1964, 15’, Colour)
restored by: Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna and Ecran Noir productions, in collaboration with Ebrahim Golestan and the National Film Archive of Iran. With the support of Mahrokh Eshaghian and Genoma Films

LA MUERTE DE UN BURÒCRATA (DEATH OF A BUREAUCRAT) 
by TOMÁS GUTIÉRREZ ALEA (Cuba, 1966, 85’, B/W)
restored by: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Archive) and Cinemateca de Cuba

OUT OF THE BLUE
by DENNIS HOPPER (Canada, USA, 1980, 94’, Colour)
restored by: Discovery Productions (John Alan Simon and Elizabeth Karr)

EXTASE (ECSTASY) 
by GUSTAV MACHATÝ (Czechoslovakia, 1932, 87’, B/W)
restored by: Národní filmový archiv (National Film Archive in Prague), thanks to the support of Milada Kučerová and Eduard Kučera and the collaboration of the Film Servis Festival Karlovy Vary

MAURI
by MERATA MITA (New Zealand, 1988, 100’, Colour)
restored by: New Zealand Film Commission

TIRO AL PICCIONE (PIGEON SHOOT)
by GIULIANO MONTALDO (Italy, 1961, 115’, B/W)
restored by: CSC-Cineteca Nazionale in collaboration with Surf Film

NEW YORK, NEW YORK
by MARTIN SCORSESE (USA, 1977, 163’, Colour)
New 35mm print courtesy of Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM), on the occasion of United Artists centennial anniversary

KALINA KRASNAYA (THE RED SNOWBALL TREE) 
by VASILIY SHUKSHIN (URSS, 1973, 107’, Colour)
restored by: Mosfilm Cinema Concern (Karen Shakhnazarov producer of the restoration)

WAY OF A GAUCHO 
by JACQUES TOURNEUR (USA, 1952, 91’, Colour)
restored by: Twentieth Century Fox and The Film Foundation


Completing the Venice Classics section will be the screening of a selection of documentaries about cinema and its authors. The complete line-up for the section will be announced during the press conference to present the programme of the Venice Film Festival, to be held in Rome on Thursday July 25that 11 am (Cinema Moderno).

COSTANZA QUATRIGLIO -
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES

Costanza Quatriglio (Palermo, 1973) is a director, screenwriter and the Artistic Director of the Sicilian branch of the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia dedicated to documentary film. She made her debut with the award-winning film L'isola, presented at the 56th Quinzaine des Réalisateurs at the Cannes Film Festival in 2003. That same year the making of Racconti per L'isola was invited to the Venice International Film Festival in the Nuovi Territori section. She has won two Nastro d'Argento awards for best documentary: for Terramatta in 2013 and Triangle in 2015. Among the documentaries she has presented at the most important international film festivals, winning many acknowledgments, are: Écosaimale? (2000), Il bambino Gioacchino (2000), La borsa di Hélène (2000), L’insonnia di Devi (2001), Raìz (2004), Il mondo addosso (2006), Il mio cuore umano(2009), Terramatta (2012), Con il fiato sospeso (2013), Triangle (2014), 87 ore (2015). In 2018, she presented her film Sembra mio figlio at the Locarno Film Festival.

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