Movie Preservation And Public Access Before The National Film Preservation Board

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The official website of the Association of Moving Image Archivists features a statement made by the Committee for Film Preservation and Public Access before the National Film Preservation Board in 1993. “Preservation without access is pointless,” the quote says. Film is one area where preservation requires presentation after the fact. The mention of certain films being given a new restoration or a new print scan excites cinema lovers and researchers alike, due to the fact that film has not been as meticulously preserved in the past as it is now. Rapidly evolving techniques in how filmmakers shoot films is changing. David Lynch, the director of Blue Velvet (1986) and Mulholland Drive (2001), begin shooting mostly in digital video, following…show more content…
With streaming services on the rise, this creates a further gap in the types of films that are being preserved and presented to audience. What about films that never made it to DVD, let alone Blu-ray and streaming? Historically, there has been a push in the United States to archive and preserve classic cinema and films backed by major Hollywood studies. A glance at the National Film Registry titles from 1989 to 2013 shows favor to mostly mainstream films. A few examples of mainstream films added to the registry include The Matrix (inducted in 2012), Toy Story (inducted in 2005), and Beauty and the Beast (inducted in 2002). There are a few example of films on the list not in the mainstream as well – notably Julie Dash’s Daughters of the Dust (inducted in 2004) and Charles Burnett’s Killer of Sheep (inducted in 1990). Both of these films would perhaps be known to people outside the mainstream, but the registry’s film list reads more like a typical greatest films of all-time list. The list, available at, is comprised of titles that were inducted by the Library of Congress and the National Film Preservation Board between the years of 1989 and 2013. According to the registry’s site, the board members select up to 25 “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant films each year”. In
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