Exhibition Reel of Two Color Film (ca. 1929)

An experimental color short in Brewster Color, preserved by George Eastman House and presented on the More Treasures DVD set.

Pledges $250,000 Gift to Preservation Foundation

Press release courtesy of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Beverly Hills, CA (November 21, 1997)—The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has pledged $250,000 to the National Film Preservation Foundation to help the nation's film archives preserve "orphan films," which have no studio or other entity with an economic motive to save them.

Academy President Robert Rehme this week (11/20) presented NFPF Chair Roger Mayer with a check for $100,000, the first of four payments on the Academy pledge. The three remaining annual payments will be for $50,000 each.

"This is the largest single grant the Academy has ever given to an outside group," Rehme said. "But this is a cause that lies squarely within our institutional purposes and passions."

The NFPF was created by Congress last year to raise private funds to support national film preservation activities. It is the charitable affiliate of the National Film Preservation Board, which last Tuesday (11/18) added 25 new films to the 200 that have been placed in the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress. Those 225 films constitute the national roster of films that have contributed significantly to American culture and whose preservation must be assured.

NFPF Chair Mayer said the Academy's gift kicks off an industry-wide national fund-raising effort which he will head, along with John Cooke, John Ptak and Martin Scorsese. He said that the Foundation is not authorized to receive federal funds before October 1, 1999, so support must first come from the private sector as cash or in-kind contributions.

"We hope our lead will make it more likely that the industry's major companies will line up behind us," Rehme said.

The mission of the Foundation, Mayer said, is to raise money for film preservation activities at the major film archives (the Library of Congress, UCLA, MoMA and George Eastman House), smaller regional archives, and other entities involved in preserving film.

Mayer said the Foundation will concentrate on saving those films not preserved by commercial interests. "Hollywood feature films have commercial owners," he said, "and therefore have 'preservation benefactors.' We will concentrate on saving newsreels, independent films, documentaries and avant-garde, ethnic and public domain material."

Academy President Rehme said that the Academy Film Archive, which is a leader in its own right in the development of new technologies for use in film preservation and would have been in line as a recipient of funds from the new foundation, will decline them. But he pledged that the Academy's own archive will continue to receive the funding it needs.

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