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.


Contact: Barbara Gibson (415-392-7291, barbara@webbnet.com)

San Francisco, CA (April 16, 2002)—Thanks to a $200,000 grant just awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Film Preservation Foundation (NFPF) will join forces with American archives to produce three DVDs of long-unavailable films from the silent era. The new set will draw from the preservation work of the nation's preeminent silent-film collections: the Academy Film Archive of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the George Eastman House, the Library of Congress, the Museum of Modern Art, and the UCLA Film and Television Archive.

Scheduled for release in 2004, the DVDs will illustrate the diversity of U.S. film production before the widespread adoption of sound in 1929. Fewer than 20% of American silent-era films survive. Very few, aside from a handful of features with well known stars, are available today on video for teaching and home viewing. Included in the new NFPF set will be kinetoscope loops, films made for ethnic communities, newsreels, documentaries, one-reelers, serial episodes, avant-garde works, animation, technical tests, and exhibitors reels, as well as several rare features. Each disc will present up to three hours of programming and feature new musical accompaniment and scholarly notes.

"Too often people read about the fine silent film preservation done by archives but don't have a chance to see it for themselves," said Leonard Maltin, who serves on the National Film Preservation Board. "It is wonderful that the NEH is supporting this project to make American silent films available to scholars and film audiences everywhere."

The project builds on the success of Treasures from American Film Archives: 50 Preserved Films, a four-DVD anthology with catalog produced by the NFPF in 2000. Hailed by The New York Times as the "best set of the year," Treasures won honors from the National Society of Film Critics and the Video Software Dealers Association and wide praise from critics and scholars.

The Saving the Silents DVD set is one of 66 Preservation and Access projects funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities in March 2002. The award is among those supporting "research tools and reference works of major importance to the humanities." The NFPF will be now raising matching funds to complete the project.

The National Film Preservation Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving America's film heritage. Created by the U.S. Congress in 1996, the NFPF is the charitable affiliate of the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress. For more information on NFPF grants and other programs, please visit the NFPF web site: www.filmpreservation.org.

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