How does The Film Foundation select a project for restoration?
What factors go into this decision?

The Film Foundation’s member archives propose projects annually, outlining and prioritizing the films that are in the most dire need. The foundation’s Board of Directors review the proposals and allocate funding, weighing several factors including the physical condition, the scarcity of the elements, and the film's cultural and historical significance.


Does The Film Foundation preserve only American films? 

Because film preservation is a global concern, The Film Foundation created the World Cinema Project.  The WCP’s mission is to save endangered films from regions of the world which lack the resources necessary for preservation. So far, the project has restored films from Central America, South America, Africa, Eastern Europe, Central and Southeast Asia, and the Middle East, ensuring that these titles, which represent the rich diversity of the world’s cinematic heritage, will be preserved and shared with new audiences, now and in the future.

On average, how long does the restoration process take? How much does it cost?

The complexity and cost of a restoration varies widely according to the condition of the film, its length, and the unique technical specifications of the film. Generally, the cost of a black and white feature film with sound ranges from $50,000-$250,000. For a color feature with sound, the costs can range from $80,000-$450,000 to restore using traditional photochemical process, to several hundred thousand dollars for a 2K or 4K digital restoration. In both instances, whether photochemical or digital, new film elements are created and archived to serve as the long term preservation masters.

What are the biggest hurdles right now in accomplishing film restoration goals?

The sheer volume of films in need of preservation is daunting. Film has been so pervasive a medium that moving images can be found everywhere: libraries, schools, historical societies, corporations, and homes, in addition to motion picture studios and distributors. Further, there is widespread misperception that a film on television, DVD or Blu-ray is protected. Even if there is a decent digital master of a film, the original elements may still be in danger of deterioration or loss.

Preservation is not a static process. Films that were preserved 20 years ago must be upgraded to better film stock, or migrated to benefit from improvements in digital technology. As technology changes and improves, preservation is ongoing. And the cost of restoration, particularly extensive digital restoration, is a challenge, but results are well worth it, as evidenced by THE RED SHOES, LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN, RASHOMON, WILD RIVER, IL GATTOPARDO, and THE TALES OF HOFFMANN to name just a few examples.

Does The Film Foundation preserve work that was created digitally?

For the most part, the films preserved and restored by the foundation have been produced prior to 1990 and are therefore not recent enough to have been born digital.  However, the foundation is committed to addressing the preservation challenges faced by independent filmmakers, documentarians, and other artists working in the digital realm.  In the “DIY Preservation” section of this website, you’ll find best practices guidelines, “do-it-yourself” recommendations, and other resources.

How can I get a copy of the Story of Movies program?

The Teacher’s Guide and Student Activities booklets for each of our Story of Movies curriculum units are available for download at To download the materials, please:

  1. Select “Curriculum” along the Navigation Bar
  2. Select the title of your choice on the Sub-Navigation Bar on the right.
  3. Select “Teacher’s Guide” or “Student Activity Booklet” under that title.
  4. Select the chapter of your choice to download.
  5. You will now be prompted to register in order to download the materials. After answering a few questions and selecting a user ID and password, you will be sent a confirmation email. Please keep this information handy so that you can access all of the available materials.

At this time, we no longer have copies of our supplemental curriculum DVDs. To be put on the waiting list for the DVDs, should they be re-printed, please select TEACHER REGISTRATION on the bottom right of the homepage (