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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.

2004 AVANT-GARDE MASTERS GRANTS ANNOUNCED BY NFPF
Works by Hollis Frampton, Larry Gottheim, and Jonas Mekas Will Be Saved Through Program Funded by The Film Foundation

Contact: Barbara Gibson (510-531-4521, barbarawgibson@comcast.net)

San Francisco, CA (August 18, 2004)—Avant-garde film classics by Hollis Frampton, Larry Gottheim, and Jonas Mekas will be preserved and made available for archival screenings thanks to a grant created by The Film Foundation and the National Film Preservation Foundation to save the work of influential American experimental filmmakers. The $50,000 award will be shared among three institutions: Anthology Film Archives for the preservation of Lost Lost Lost (1976) by Jonas Mekas; the Museum of Modern Art for (nostalgia) (1971) by Hollis Frampton; and The New York Public Library's Donnell Media Center for Blues (1969), Doorway (1970), Barn Rushes (1971), and Horizons (1971-73) by Larry Gottheim. "The cinematic gifts of these three filmmakers are invaluable," said independent film icon Jim Jarmusch, "I commend the National Film Preservation Foundation and The Film Foundation for protecting these films for us all."

The Avant-Garde Masters is the first grant aimed specifically at preserving America's experimental film heritage. These grants enable archives to work directly with filmmakers to save works significant to the development of the avant-garde in America. They are awarded by an expert panel, funded by The Film Foundation, and managed by the NFPF. The prints created through the preservation process are available for archival viewing at the conclusion of the projects. New 16mm prints of the 8mm films of George and Mike Kuchar, preserved by Anthology Film Archives through the 2003 Avant-Garde Masters Grants, will be presented as part of the New York Film Festival's Views from the Avant-Garde program on Saturday, October 16th.

Avant-garde works are among the films most in need of film preservation. Produced on a shoestring, these works often drop from distribution after their initial screenings at underground cinemas and museums. Years later, culturally significant titles may exist only in battered prints or poorly stored production materials.

"We're pleased to see that after only two years, these grants are changing how avant-garde filmmakers approach film preservation. Once new prints are available and these films are seen again, more filmmakers will step forward to collaborate with archives and new audiences will discover these treasures," said Margaret Bodde, Executive Director of The Film Foundation. The Film Foundation will continue funding the program in 2005.

Jonas Mekas (b. 1922) began Lost Lost Lost as a documentary on the Lithuanian community in Brooklyn shortly after he arrived in America in 1949. Shooting bits and pieces over the next two decades, Mekas explored the immigrants' rebirth in their new land as a metaphor for his own discovery of his filmmaking aesthetics and helped to create a new type of avant-garde documentary—the "diary film." Mekas, an avant-garde advocate as well as filmmaker, is the co-founder of Anthology Film Archives, the first American institution dedicated to preserving and presenting the avant-garde.

(nostalgia) by photographer and filmmaker Hollis Frampton (1936-1984) probes the relationship of photography and memory through the destruction of a series of Frampton's own photographs, each slowly burned as the narration anticipates the next image. Widely heralded as a landmark of structuralist filmmaking, (nostalgia) was named to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress last year.

The films of Larry Gottheim (b. 1936), a leading exponent of landscape filmmaking, celebrate nature and light. Among his four films slated for preservation is Horizons, a feature-length study of seasonal change. Gottheim, founder of the Department of Cinema Studies at SUNY Binghampton, will collaborate with the Donnell Media Center on the project.

The National Film Preservation Foundation (www.filmpreservation.org) is the non-profit organization created by the U.S. Congress to help save America's film heritage. The NFPF is the charitable affiliate of the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress. The NFPF has advanced film preservation in 36 states and the District of Columbia and helped save more than 690 films and collections.

The Film Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1990 by Martin Scorsese and nine other eminent directors—Woody Allen, Robert Altman, Francis Ford Coppola, Clint Eastwood, Stanley Kubrick, George Lucas, Sydney Pollack, Robert Redford and Steven Spielberg—dedicated to protecting and preserving motion picture history. The foundation provides substantial annual support for preservation and restoration projects at the nation's leading archives and film institutions, which serve as a vital link for public access to our film treasures.

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