Restoration Gives New Life to Lost, Forgotten, or Dismissed Films

Margaret Bodde

7/17/2019 12:00:00 AM

Never has it been truer that there are no old films, only ones that have yet to be seen—or discovered. We are living in an era when cinematic treasures of all kinds are being unearthed—films that have been lost, forgotten, or dismissed. It has been my good fortune to be a part of Martin Scorsese’s grand vision for the Film Foundation, the nonprofit organization that has made possible the excavation and resurrection of so many of these films, including many long overlooked and endangered because they were made independently by and about marginalized groups, including women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ community.


Med Hondo’s Soleil Ô, 1970
Shadi Abdel Salam’s Al Momia (The Night of Counting the Years), 1969
Mario Soffici’s Prisioneros de la Tierra, 1939
Barbara Loden’s Wanda, 1970
Barbara Hammer’s Double Strength, 1978

Among the hundreds of titles preserved and restored with funding from the Film Foundation are such diverse treasures as Shadi Abdel Salam’s Egyptian masterpiece Al Momia (The Night of Counting the Years); independent filmmaker Barbara Loden’s only feature, Wanda; Marcel Ophüls’ monumental documentary on the Nuremberg Trials, The Memory of Justice; Med Hondo’s exposé of racism in France, Soleil Ô; Mario Soffici’s powerful Argentinian social drama, Prisioneros de la Tierra; and experimental films by lesbian cinema pioneer Barbara Hammer. The list goes on and on—and each restoration enriches cinema history in unexpected ways.

Marcel Ophüls’s The Memory of Justice, 1976

A few years ago, TFF had the opportunity to join forces with a small archive and an independent preservationist to help rescue a completely unknown film. The project began in 2014 when Amy Sloper, then manager of the film collection at the Wisconsin Center for Film & Theater Research (WCFTR), discovered the only existing print of The Juniper Tree (1990). Created by two formidable artists, writer/director Nietzchka Keene and actress/musician Björk (credited as Björk Guðmundsdóttir), the film was inspired by the macabre fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm and filmed in 35mm black and white in the ethereal, barren landscape of Iceland. The Juniper Tree premiered at the 1991 Sundance Film Festival to rave reviews that described it as hypnotic, haunting, and surreal. But, as is all too often the fate of many independent productions, The Juniper Treefaded from memory. After Keene’s untimely death in 2004, the film seemed doomed to be forgotten.

Björk in Nietzchka Keene’s The Juniper Tree, 1990

Sloper had studied with Keene as an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin and wanted to see her former teacher’s film restored. Fortunately, in graduate school at UCLA she met acclaimed archivist Ross Lipman. “It felt like an ideal first project for the WCFTR to start a partnership with the Film Foundation, and Ross was the perfect person for the restoration work,” she explains. Like filmmaking, restorations are a collective effort and The Juniper Tree was preserved thanks to TFF, Amy Sloper, Ross Lipman, the stewardship of the WCFTR, and the generous support of the George Lucas Family Foundation.

Since its 2019 theatrical release by Arbelos, The Juniper Tree has received attention in the New York Times, LA Times, New Yorker, IndieWireFilm Comment, and other publications. By bringing the film into the public consciousness, TFF and its partners have made it possible for audiences and scholars to enjoy and assess Keene’s work as part of the larger cinematic canon: previously, there was shockingly little information available about the films she produced, wrote, and directed. With this restoration, we have restored not only the physical materials of the The Juniper Tree, but an independent filmmaker’s legacy. And it is wonderful to note that as part of the DVD and Blu-ray release of The Juniper Tree, Arbelos has also restored and included three of Keene’s short films.

Discoveries like these inspire us to keep digging and remind us that as we continue to advocate for preservation, one film at a time, we are also expanding and rewriting cinema history.


The City Stars: In the Streets

Margaret Bodde, Sean Yetter

7/15/2019 12:00:00 AM

Two short films find inspiration in the alleys and avenues of New York City.

“There’s never been a film made in New York City that doesn’t feature New York as a character.” –Margaret Bodde

Whether it’s Little Italy in Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets (1973), Brooklyn through the lens of Spike Lee, or the Upper East Side socialites of Whit Stillman’s Metropolitan (1990), the richness of life on New York City’s streets shapes the mood and message of these iconic movies. For generations, filmmakers have roamed the City’s alleys and avenues searching for the details, sounds, and personalities to inspire new works. MoMA’s recent restoration of two shorts in our collection deliver both narrative and documentary examples of early 20th-century filmmakers taking to the streets to shape and tell their stories. In this installment of The City Stars, our online film exhibition highlighting shorts made in NYC, Margaret Bodde, executive director of The Film Foundation, joins us to discuss an early silent classic, D. W. Griffith’s The Musketeers of Pig Alley (1912), and In the Street(1952), a silent documentary by Helen Levitt, Janice Loeb, James Agee, made long after talkies were popularized in 1927. Bodde is well versed in such titles; The Film Foundation, established by Martin Scorsese in 1990, supports the preservation of older films and works to remind us that the cinema of yesterday still resonates today.

The Musketeers of Pig Alley (1912)

The Musketeers of Pig Alley, an early film by director D. W. Griffith, is thought to be the first gangster film ever. In it, a married couple’s lives are upended when the husband’s wallet is stolen by a gangster. The wife was played by silent star Lillian Gish, who pioneered many early screen acting techniques, adapting the skill set from Vaudevillian and stage approaches. She is later saved by the same gangster, complicating the couple’s relationship with both these shady characters and law enforcement. As Bodde explained in her interview, “The unique qualities of cinema are cinematography and editing. The Musketeers of Pig Alley uses those two powerful tools to tell the story in a way that couldn’t be told through any other artform. It’s not a literary work. It’s not a theatrical work. It’s purely cinematic, visual storytelling. Within every frame, you’re aware of the rest of the story playing out. It’s really a precursor to many performances and many styles that followed it.”

In the Street (1952)

In the Street is a silent documentary short, directed by photographer Helen Levitt, filmmaker Janice Loeb, and writer James Agee, that explores Spanish Harlem. As the film was originally shot in 1948 and rereleased in 1952, long after the introduction of sound into movies, choosing to forgo sound was an artistic choice. The filmmakers used hidden 16mm cameras to capture the everyday lives of Harlem residents in the neighborhood. Bodde commented on the energy of the past that Levitt’s powerful cinematography reveals: “[Levitt] really knows these streets. She was born in Brooklyn and worked in New York City her whole career. For her, the lens was a window into the souls of the people that she was photographing, whether it was still images or moving pictures. The gaze is just so soulful and deep.” Levitt’s imagery is so engaging that, for Bodde, the lack of sound becomes unnoticeable, or even an enhancement. She states, “I find personally, when I’m watching In the Street, that I go into a bit of a trance. I feel like I’m inhabiting those streets with those characters, and can almost hear the voices, the laughter, the shouts of the children.”


Announcing the FOCAL Awards 2019 Winners

6/21/2019 12:00:00 AM

FOCAL International are proud to announce the winners from last night’s FOCAL Awards ceremony, held at the Troxy in London. The trade association have given 14 awards to productions making bold and compelling use of archival footage, as well as three personnel awards recognising the work of practitioners, researchers and companies and two awards celebrating restoration and preservation. Julien Temple also received the Lifetime Achievement Award, which came with a few surprises in the form of a video message from Keith Richards, and Wilko Johnson handing Julien his award on stage. The acclaimed filmmaker went on to thank all the talented archive producers with whom he’s worked and advocated for the power of archival footage to tell immersive stories. Guests were entertained by the charming wit of comedian Zoe Lyons, as the FOCAL Awards 2019 ceremony host.

Here are the winners for each category;

Footage Person of the Year
Jane Fish, Imperial War Museums

Footage Company of the Year

Best Archive Restoration & Preservation Project
Joe 90

Best Archive Restoration & Preservation Title

Best Use of Footage in a History Production
The Scientist, The Imposter and Stalin: How to Feed the People (Le savant, l’imposteur et Staline: Comment Nourrir le Peuple)

Best Use of Footage in an Entertainment Production

Best Use of Footage in a Sports Production - TIE
Bobby Robson: More Than a Manager & Momentum Generation

Best Use of Footage on Innovative Platforms
British Pathé TV

Best Use of Footage in an Arts Production
Kulenkampff’s Shoes

Best Use of Footage in a Factual or Natural World Production
Under the Wire

Best Use of Footage in a Music Production
John and Yoko: Above Us Only Sky

Best Use of Footage in a History Feature
Apollo 11

Best Use of Footage in Advertising or Branded Content
WWF – Fight For Your World

Best Use of Footage in a Short Film Production
A Night at the Garden

Best Use of Footage in a Cinematic Feature
They Shall Not Grow Old

Student Jury Award for Most Inspiring Use of Archive

Jane Mercer Researcher of the Year Award
Peter Scott for A Dangerous Dynasty: House of Assad


FOCAL International would like to extend their congratulations to all of the awardees, nominees and attendees of this year’s awards, as well as our many jurors and sponsors, without whom the delivery of such an important and vibrant competition.

The FOCAL Awards will return in 2020, and submissions will open later this year. Expressions of interest ahead of time are welcome and encouraged. The team can be contacted through

About FOCAL International Ltd
FOCAL International (Federation of Commercial Audiovisual Libraries) is a professional not-for-profit trade association formed in 1985. It is fully established as one of the leading voices in the industry which represents the footage and content libraries in over 30 countries, the archive producers, researchers, consultants and facility companies. The FOCAL International Awards are the organisation’s flagship event and exists to champion the use of archive footage in the creative industries as well as the work and contributions of many of its talented members.


Cannes Classics 2019

4/26/2019 12:00:00 AM

The 25 years of La Cité de la peur, a Midnight Screening of The Shining presented by Alfonso Cuarón, the 50 years of the mythical Easy Rider in the company of Peter Fonda, Luis Buñuel in the spotlight with three films, the attendance of Lina Wertmüller, the Grand Prix of 1951 Vittorio De Sica's Miracle in Milan, a final salute to Milos Forman, the first Japanese animated film in color, the World Cinema Project and the Film Foundation of Martin Scorsese, documentaries about cinema and History, masterpieces known and rare films in restored version from countries rarely honored, this is the new edition of Cannes Classics—the first section dedicated to heritage cinema ever created in a major festival.  

 The majority of the films will be screened at Buñuel Theater, Salle du 60e or at the Cinéma de la Plage, all presented by major players in the film heritage: directors, artists or restoration managers.

The 50 years of the mythical Easy Rider

Presented half a century ago on the Croisette, in Competition at the Festival de Cannes, the film won the Prize for a first work. Co-writer, co-producer and lead actor, Peter Fonda will be in Cannes at the invitation of the Festival to celebrate this anniversary.

Easy Rider (1969, 1h35, USA) by Dennis Hopper

Restored in 4K by Sony Pictures Entertainment in collaboration with Cineteca di Bologna. Restored from the 35mm Original Picture Negative and 35mm Black and White Separation Masters. 4K scanning and digital image restoration by Immagine Ritrovata. Audio restoration from the 35mm Original 3-track Magnetic Master by Chace Audio and Deluxe Audio. Color grading, picture conform, additional image restoration and DCP by Roundabout Entertainment. Colorist: Sheri Eisenberg. Restoration supervised by Grover Crisp.


Midnight Screening of The Shining 

The ultimate horror film for an event screening presented by Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón.

The Shining by Stanley Kubrick (1980, 2h26, UK / USA)

A Presentation of Warner Bros. The 4K remastering was done using a new 4K scan of the original 35mm camera negative. The mastering was done at Warner Bros. Motion Picture Imaging, and the color grading was done by Janet Wilson, with supervision from Stanley Kubrick’s former personal assistant Leon Vitali.


The 50 years of La Cité de la peur

The cult comedy of comic group Les Nuls will be screened at Cannes Classics au Cinéma de la Plage upon the occasion of the 4K restoration of the film for its 25th anniversary with Alain Chabat, Chantal Lauby and Dominique Farrugia in attendance.

La Cité de la peur, une comédie familiale (1994, 1h39, France) by Alain Berbérian

Presented by Studiocanal. A restoration by Studiocanal and TF1 Studio . 4K scanning 16bits from the original negative 35mm on Lasergraphics director. The pre-calibration was done in a projection room equipped by a 4k projector 4k Christie Laser by Pascal Bousquet and additional work of filtering, dusting was done to compensate the imperfection due to the age of the film. Optical illusion composited on DI on Flame to remain close to the quality of the original negative. Calibration validated by Laurent Dailland, director of photography. Original digital sound was used without modification. Work of remastering done by VDM Laboratory. 

Luis Buñuel in the spotlight with three films

Three films by Mexican director and screenwriter, with Spanish origin, will be shown this year.  

Los Olvidados (The Young and the Damned) (1950, 1h20, Mexico) by Luis Buñuel

Presented by the World Cinema Project. Restored by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project at L’Immagine Ritrovata in collaboration with Fundación Televisa, Cineteca Nacional Mexico, and Filmoteca de la UNAM. Restoration funding provided by The Material World Foundation. 


Nazarín (1958, 1h34, Mexico) by Luis Buñuel

Presented by Cineteca Nacional Mexico. 3K Scan and 3K Digital Restoration from the original 35mm image negative (preserved by Televisa) and prints positive materials from Cineteca Nacional. Restoration made and financed by Cineteca Nacional Mexico. Mastered in 2K for Digital Projection.


L'Âge d'or (The Golden Age) (1930, 1h, France) by Luis Buñuel

Presented by La Cinemathèque française. A 4K restoration of The Golden Age was done by la Cinemathèque française and le Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI/Experimental cinema’s department, at Hiventy Laboratory for the image and at L.E. Diapason’s studio for the sound, using the original nitrate negative, original sound and safety elements.



Tribute to Lina Wertmüller

The first woman director ever nominated as a director at the Academy Awards in 1977 for Pasqualino Settebellezze, Lina Wertmüller will introduce the film with lead actor Giancarlo Giannini in attendance.

Pasqualino Settebellezze (Seven Beauties(1975, 1h56, Italy) by Lina Wertmüller

Presented by Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia - Cineteca Nazionale. Restored by Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia - Cineteca Nazionale with the support of Genoma Films and Deisa Ebano from the original 35mm picture and optical soundtrack negative made available by RTI S.p.A. Digital scanning and restoration work carried out by Cinema Communications in Rome.


The 1951 “Palme d'or”

The Palme d'or was created in 1955 but the Grand Prix awarded to Miracle in Milan by Vittorio De Sica was the equivalent.

Miracolo a Milano (Miracle in Milan) (1951, 1h40, Italy) by Vittorio De Sica

Presented by Cineteca di Bologna. Restored by Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna and Compass Film, in collaboration with Mediaset, Infinity TV, Artur Cohn, Films sans frontières and Variety Communications at L'Immagine Ritrovata laboratory. 4K Scan and Digital Restoration from the original 35mm camera negative and a vintage dupe positive. Colour grading supervised by DoP Luca Bigazzi. 


Milos Forman

A devotee of the Festival de Cannes, a former President of the Jury, a director with several lives, Milos Forman passed away one year ago. The restoration of his second film and a documentary will give us the opportunity to pay our tribute and remember him.

Lásky jedné plavovlásky (Loves of a Blonde) (1965, 1h21, Czech Republic) by Milos Forman

A presentation of the Národní filmový archiv, Prague. 4K digital restoration based on the original camera done by the Universal Production Partners and Soundsquare in Prague, 2019. The donors of this project were Mrs. Milada Kučerová and Mr. Eduard Kučera. Restored in partnership with the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival and the Czech Film Fund. French distribution: Carlotta Films.


Forman vs. Forman (Czech Republic / France, 1h17) by Helena Trestikova and Jakub Hejna

Presented by  Negativ Film Productions, Alegria Productions, Czech Television, ARTE. A powerful documentary that recounts with emotion the career of director Milos Forman, from the Czech New Wave to Hollywood. Oscars, politics and political upheavals for a life in the service of cinema.


All the restored films of Cannes Classics 2019

Toni by Jean Renoir (1934, 1h22, France)

Presented by Gaumont. First digital restoration in 4K presented by Gaumont with the support of the CNC. Restoration done by L’image retrouvée in Bologna and Paris.


Le Ciel est à vous (1943, 1h45, France) by Jean Grémillon

Presented by TF1 Studio. Restaured version in 4K using two intermediate and a duplicate done by TF1 studio, with the support of the CNC and Coin de Mire cinéma. Digital and photochimical work done by L21 laboratory. 


Moulin Rouge (1952, 1h59, UK) by John Huston  

Presented and restored by The Film Foundation in collaboration with Park Circus, Romulus Films and MGM with additional funding provided by the Franco-American Cultural Fund, a unique partnership between the Directors Guild of America (DGA), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the Société des Auteurs, Compositeurs et Editeurs de Musique (SACEM), and the Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW).   Restored from the 35mm Original Nitrate 3-Strip Technicolor Negative. 4K scanning, color grading, digital image restoration and film recording by Cineric, Inc., New York. Colorist: Daniel DeVincent. Audio restoration by Chace Audio. Restoration Consultant: Grover Crisp.


Kanal (They Loved Life) (1957, 1h34, Poland) by Andrzej Wajda

Presented by Malavida, in association with Kdr. Scanned, calibrated and restored in 4K under the artistic supervision of Andrzej Wajda and Jerzy Wójcik, second DOP, and regular collaborator of Wajda (Ashes and Diamonds) and one of the greatest Polish DOP. Technical supervision: Waldermar Makula. 4k Scan from the original negative, image and sound. Producted by Studio Filmowe Kadr with the participation of  Filmoteka Narodowa. French distribution: Malavida. International Sales: Studio Filmowe Kadr.


Hu shi ri ji (Diary of a Nurse) (1957, 1h37, China) by Tao Jin

Presented by IQIYI et New Ipicture Media co., ltd (NIPM). 4K Scan and 3K Digital Restoration from the original 35mm print positive materials mastered in 2K. Restoration financed by IQIYI & NIPM, and made by L’Immagine Ritrovata (Italy) and Laser Digital Film SRL (Italy). 


Hakujaden (The White Snake Enchantress) (1958, 1h18, Japan) by Taiji Yabushita

Presented by  Toei Animation Company, ltd., Toei company, ltd. et and National Archive of Japan. The project celebrates the 100th year anniversary for the birth of Japan animation and 60th anniversary for the original theatrical release in 1958.
4K scan and restoration from the original negative, 35mm print, tape materials, and animation cels by Toei lab tech co., ltd. et Toei digital center are carried out. The restored data is stored in 2K.


125 Rue Montmartre (1959, 1h25, France) by Gilles Grangier

Presented by Pathé. 4K Scan and 2k restoration, using the original safety negative (negative image, intermediate and negative optique sound) Work done by Eclair laboratory for the image and L.E Diapason (Léon Rousseau) for the sound part. Restored with the support of the Centre national du cinéma et de l'image animée (CNC).


A tanú (The Witness) (1969, 1h52, Hongrie) by Péter Bacsó

The original uncensored  version presented by the Hungarian National Film Fund – Film Archive. The film was restored in 4K using the original camera negative and outtakes, the only existing uncensored positive print and the original magnetic sound. The restoration was carried out at the Hungarian Filmlab. The digital colour grading was supervised by Tamás Andor (HSC, Hungarian Society of Cinematographers).


Tetri karavani (The White Caravan) (1964, 1h37, Georgia) by Eldar Shengelaia and Tamaz Meliava

Presented by Georgian National Film Center. 4K Scan from 35mm, digital restoration (color, grading, stabilization). Restoration financed by the Georgian National Film Center, the restoration made by National Archives of Georgia.

Director Eldar Shengelaia in attendance.


Plogoff, des pierres contre des fusils by Nicole Le Garrec (1980, 1h48, France)

Presented by Ciaofilm. Restored in 2k from the original negative 16mm image. Sound restoration from the 16mm magnetic. Work done by Hiventy laboratory  under the supervision of Ciaofilm and Pascale Le Garrec, with the help of the CNC, Région Bretagne and the Cinemathèque de Bretagne. Distributed by Next Film Distribution.

Director Nicole Le Garrec in attendance.


Caméra d’Afrique  (20 Years of African Cinema) by Férid Boughedir (1983, 1h38, Tunisia / France)

Presented by the CNC. Restoration: Laboratory of the CNC. 2K scan from the original 16mm image negative. Sound restoration : Hiventy. This movie fits into the restoration scheme initiated by L’Institut français and the CNC, supervised by the commitee for the African cinematographic heritage. Right-holders: Marsa film. French Distribution: Les Films du Losange.

Director Férid Boughedir in attendance. 


Dao ma zei (The Horse Thief ) (1986, 1h28, China) by Tian Zhuangzhuang and Peicheng Pan

Presented by Xi’An Film Studio. 4K Scan and 4K 48 fps digital restoration from the 35mm original camera negative. Restoration financed and made by China Film Archive.

Director Tian Zhuangzhuang  and Cinematographer Hou Yong in attendance. 


The Doors (Les Doors) (1991, 2h20, USA) by Oliver Stone

Presented by Studiocanal, in partnership with Paramount, Lionsgate and Imagine Ritrovatta. Restored in 4k, initiated and supervised by Oliver Stone from the original negative, scanned in 4k 16 bits on ARRISCAN at Fotokem US. Restoration managed by Imagine Ritrovatta in Italy. Calibrated work supervised by Oliver Stone. Immersive soundtrack thanks to the Atmos mix created by Formosa Group, Hollywood, under the supervision of Dolby and original mixers of the film Wylie Stateman and Lon Bender. The movie can be seen in 7.1 and 5.1. Remastered 4K now available in 4K Cinema, UHD Dolby Vision and Atmos.



Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound (USA, 1h34) by Midge Costin

Presented by Dogwoof and Cinetic Media.

The biggest directors and artists make us immerse in the history and impact of sound in cinema: Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Barbra Streisand, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Patty Jenkins, Robert Redford, Ryan Coogler, David Lynch, Sofia Coppola, Christopher Nolan, Ang Lee, Walter Murch. A rich, fascinating and essential documentary.


Les Silences de Johnny (55mn, France) by Pierre-William Glenn

Presented by les films du Phœnix  in coproduction with Ciné+.

A personal and moving portrait of actor Johnny Hallyday by great cinematographer, director and friend of Johnny's Pierre-William Glenn.


La Passione di Anna Magnani (1h, Italy / France) by Enrico Cerasuolo

Presented by les Films du Poisson and Zenit Arti Audiovisive. 

The destiny of legendary actress Anna Magnani through archive footage, often unpublished. To dive into the history of Italian cinema.


Cinecittà - I mestieri del cinema Bernardo Bertolucci (Italy, 55mn) by Mario Sesti

Presented by Erma Pictures in collaboration with Cinecittà Luce.

A presentation of Erma Pictures in collaboration with Cinecittà Luce.

The last interview of the Master Bertolucci who recalls his work with precision, delicacy and philosophy. A movie lesson.



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