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Viacom18 and Film Heritage Foundation inaugurate the 3rd Film Restoration & Preservation Workshop in Chennai

MUMBAI: An initiative to preserve the cinematic heritage of India, the Film Preservation & Restoration Workshop India (FPRWI) 2017 was flagged off in the city today in the presence of eminent members of the film industry. Viacom18, India’s fastest growing media & entertainment network, has come on board as the cause partner with Film Heritage Foundation (FHF) for this annual workshop for the third consecutive year. The workshop will be held from October 7th to 14th in Chennai at Prasad Film Lab. Legendary actor and filmmaker Shri Kamal Haasan was the Chief Guest at the opening event while acclaimed filmmaker Mani Ratnam was Guest of Honour at the occasion. The ceremony was held in the presence of celebrated filmmaker Shri Shyam Benegal, Shri Ramesh Prasad, Chairman of the Prasad Group and award-winning filmmaker, archivist and founder director of Film Heritage Foundation, Shivendra Singh Dungarpur.

During the week-long workshop, participants will be trained in processes to successfully preserve, archive and restore films and film memorabilia including posters, scripts, photographs, lobby cards, that make up the fabric of India’s cinema history.
Eminent experts from across the globe such as David Walsh, FIAF’s Training and Outreach Coordinator, Camille Blot-Wellens from FIAF, Tina Kelly from Imperial War Museums, Dawn Jaros from The Academy of Motion Picture, Arts & Sciences, Emilie Cauquy from La Cinémathèque française, and Marianna De Sanctis from L’Immagine Ritrovata, Bologna amongst others will comprise the faculty of the workshop.

“Over the years, our cinema has chronicled the culture and heritage of India. As the country’s foremost storytellers, we believe in the impact of cinema towards molding a generation and that a segment of aware and equipped film enthusiasts need to be nurtured, who can preserve and restore India’s cinematic heritage. The Film Preservation & Restoration Workshop is a step in that direction and we at Viacom18 are proud to be associated with this initiative”, said Sudhanshu Vats, Group CEO, Viacom18.

Founder Director of Film Heritage Foundation, Shivendra Singh Dungarpur said, “Indian cinema, especially our regional language films, have showcased the cultural transformation of the particular region through the ages. Preservation of films from every region is therefore of utmost importance and it is with this thought that we hope to inspire the South Indian film industry to take active steps to preserve their rich film heritage. The program this year is further strengthened with the continued support of Viacom18 and we are very pleased that the Tata Trusts has also pledged their support to this initiative this year and for the next two years. We are fortunate to be partnered by leading institutions from around the world like The International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF), The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project, L’Immagine Ritrovata, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, Prasad Corp., La Cinémathèque française, Imperial War Museums, Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna, the National Audiovisual Institute of Finland (KAVI), the Czech National Film Archive and The Criterion Collection.”

This year the workshop has 52 participants from India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh. FPRWI 2017 will extensively focus on teaching the techniques for repairing damaged and decayed celluloid film, restoring and preserving film posters, lobby cards, song booklets and photographs, and techniques of digital preservation and restoration, etc. A majority of the candidates have been given scholarships enabling them to do the course for free. Job opportunities are available at FHF on successful completion of the course.

Speaking about the workshop, legendary film actor and producer Kamal Haasan said, “I am very happy and proud that the Film Heritage Foundation and Viacom18 are conducting the FPRWI 2017 in Chennai. The film industry needs to come forward and collaborate to conserve, save and keep our film heritage intact. Our gratitude is due to the international experts who have extended their support in preserving Indian cinema.”

In addition to the theory and practical sessions that will be conducted through the day, there will be daily evening screenings of restored classics such as Milos Forman’s The Firemen’s Ball, Buster Keaton’s One Week and Sherlock Jr. Tomas Guiterrez Alea’s Memories of Underdevelopment, Michael Curtiz’s Mildred Pierce, and Joel Coen’s Blood Simple.

Veteran film-maker Mani Ratnam said, “As a film-maker, I can personally identify with years of hard work in creating a film vanishing into dust due to no proper preservation methodology. FPRWI is a great initiative that will create a pool of trained film archivists who can then skill other enthusiasts, leading to development of a formalized film preservation & restoration infrastructure in India.”

Film Heritage Foundation’s brand ambassador Amitabh Bachchan said, “The moment has come when we have to treat every last moving image as reverently and respectfully as the oldest book in the Library. After all, like books, films have the ability to tell us who we are.
Need-of-the-hour efforts to preserve and restore celluloid is commendable indeed. Please accept my sincere applause on the workshop being organised for the third year in succession.”

Noted film-maker Shyam Benegal said, “FPRWI 2017 is an extraordinary initiative because it’s the only one of its kind in India. It is heartening to see that a new generation of film enthusiasts are being trained to preserve the cinematic heritage of this country by properly recording, preserving, restoring and digitizing films as well as associated materials such as lobby cards, posters, etc.”