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RESTORED ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST SCREENS ACROSS NORTH AMERICA

9/30/2008 12:00:00 AM

After premiering at the Rome Film Festival in 2007, the restored Sergio Leone classic, ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (1968), celebrated its North American debut with several screenings across the continent. The film had its American premiere at a gala screening at the Miami International Film Festival on March 2nd, as part of the Preservation Screening Program presented by The Film Foundation and American Express.

It next opened in New York City as part of the Tribeca Film Festival in association with the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) on April 30th. This was followed by a successful week-long engagement at MoMA from May 1st - 5th. The film then made its way to the West Coast for a premiere at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, on Friday, June 20th. The film premiered in Canada at the Calgary International Film Festival on Sunday, September 21st, as part of the Preservation Screening Program presented by The Film Foundation and American Express.

All of the screenings featured an introductory presentation on the restoration process by Barry Allen, Executive Director of Film Preservation and Archival Resources at Paramount Pictures.

The restoration of ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST was made possible with support by The Film Foundation and The Rome Film Festival in association with Sergio Leone Productions and Paramount Pictures.

Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures.

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RASHOMON PREMIERES AT THE ACADEMY

9/18/2008 12:00:00 AM

The newly restored RASHOMON (1950, d. Akira Kurosawa) had its world premiere at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Samuel Goldwyn Theater on Thursday, September 18th. The evening kicked off a series of Kurosawa screenings and the opening of the art exhibit “Akira Kurosawa: Film Artist,” featuring drawings and paintings by Kurosawa, in the Galleries of the Goldwyn’s Grand Lobby and Fourth Floor.

Following a reception in the Grand Lobby, Academy President Sid Ganis welcomed the audience and introduced the evening’s host, film critic Kenneth Turan. After entertaining the audience with little-known facts about RASHOMON, Turan moderated a panel discussion with Kurosawa’s son, Hisao Kurosawa, RASHOMON star Toshiro Mifune’s son, Shiro Mifune, and American film producer Tom Luddy, who was instrumental in Zoetrope’s support for Akira Kurosawa’s KAGEMUSHA (1980).  The beautifully restored film was then screened.
 
The film was restored by the Academy Film Archive, in association with the Kadokawa Culture Promotion Foundation and The Film Foundation.  
 
Restoration Notes:  
The basis for the restoration of RASHOMON was a 35mm black-and-white print made in 1962 from the original camera negative and placed in the collection of the National Film Center in Tokyo. While the print itself was in good physical condition, the source material from which it was made was already extremely battered due to the extensive printing and handling it had received over the course of its life. Many shots were already starting to shrink and warp, and there were numerous scratches and abrasions, dust, dirt, and other artifacts from the damaged negative which were photographed into the print.
 
That print was scanned at 4k resolution at Lowry Digital in Burbank, CA. The original scans were converted to 2k files for extensive image processing and clean-up by the artists and technicians at Lowry. While some of the damage could be addressed by Lowry’s automated software, many frames needed to be meticulously cleaned by hand. Unique problems such as the warping in some shots and the blurring of every 2nd frame throughout the film were addressed with customized visual effects tools.
 
Once image restoration was complete, two 4k digital intermediate 35mm negatives were produced, as well as a complete digital archive of both the raw scan and the restored image files. On the audio side, the 1962 print and a fine grain master positive in the Kadokawa Foundation’s collection were transferred at DJ Audio. Audio Mechanics was responsible for identifying the best source element for each shot in the film and using these to create a seamless soundtrack. The presentation at the Academy will be utilizing a 2k Digital Cinema Package file.  

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“MOVIES ROCK” CELEBRATES FILM PRESERVATION

12/7/2007 12:00:00 AM

A clip reel showcasing the synergy between sound and picture in a selection of films preserved and restored with funding from The Film Foundation aired during the "Movies Rock" television special, broad cast on CBS on Friday, December 7th. Narrated by Martin Scorsese, the reel included scenes from twenty-six films representing a wide selection of the preservation work undertaken by the foundation. Among the films included were SHADOW OF A DOUBT (1943, d. Alfred Hitchcock), FORCE OF EVIL (1949, d. Abraham Polonsky), ON THE WATERFRONT (1954, d. Elia Kazan), SHOCK CORRIDOR (1963, d. Samuel Fuller), ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (1968, d. Sergio Leone), ERASERHEAD (1977, d. David Lynch), and ALWAYS FOR PLEASURE (1978, d. Les Blank).

"Movies Rock" is a Condé Nast Media Group Production in conjunction with the Producers Guild of America and the Entertainment Industry Foundation. For more information on “Movies Rock,” please visit the website.

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TOP PRIZE STILL UP FOR GRABS AT ROME FEST

Eric J. Lyman

10/26/2007 12:00:00 AM

As the second RomaCinemaFest draws to a close, the race for the event's Marcus Aurelius prize for best film appears as wide open as the path down the festival's red carpet is well worn.

With critics and the local media split on the best films of the festival, attention has focused on the red carpet which, despite a smattering of last-minute cancellations, has nonetheless hosted a steady stream of A-list talent.

The most recent stars to waltz down the crimson path to the Parco della Musica were Ang Lee and Sean Penn, with Halle Berry expected to be the focus of paparazzi flashbulbs Friday.

Lee came to town for the official screening of "Once Upon a Time in the West." The Sergio Leone classic was refurbished by Martin Scorsese's Film Foundation, of which Lee is one of the leading lights.

Penn, meanwhile, came to Rome ahead of the screening of his fifth directorial effort, "Into the Wild," which tells the story of a 22-year-old who gives away everything to set out on a life of adventure. An enthusiastic Penn and the film's Emile Hirsch charmed the three-deep crowd along the red carpet for several minutes, signing autographs and posing for photos.

As of Thursday, no competition film seemed to attract more than its fair share of attention. It was a marked contrast from last year, when the eventual winner, Kirill Serebrennikov's Russian drama "Playing the Victim," had become a critics' darling. Among the 13 competition films to have screened through Thursday, at least seven had been mentioned in the local media as a possible prize winner.

Friday will see the arrival of Berry with her dramatic love story "Things We Lost in the Fire," which co-stars Benicio Del Toro and David Duchovny. The final competition title, Jason Reitman's "Juno," also premieres Friday.


The restoration of ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST was made possible with support by The Film Foundation and The Rome Film Festival in association with Sergio Leone Productions and Paramount Pictures.

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