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: Annette Melville (415-392-7291, melville@filmpreservation.org)

San Francisco, CA (April 5, 2005)—The National Film Preservation Foundation announced today a new collaborative project to create and publish Industrial and Institutional Films: A Field Guide. Little is known today about the motion pictures produced over the past century to promote the programs and products of corporations, trade associations, advocacy groups, and charitable organizations. This new reference tool, made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, will provide production information on several hundred historically and culturally important examples of these relatively unknown films, and indicate if copies exist at the Library of Congress or the Smithsonian Institution. The filmography will be developed by industrial film expert Rick Prelinger of the Internet Archive and Prelinger Archives with the help of a team of archivists and historians.

From the very beginning of the motion picture, films were used to showcase industries, sell products, promote social causes, explain public programs, and highlight the work of charities and educational organizations. Industrial and institutional films were shown in schools, churches, clubs, and auditoriums as well as commercial theaters and helped shape public opinion. Although some 250,000 were thought to have been made, the works remain undocumented except in period trade magazines.

"Industrial and institutional films are a time capsule of vanished practices, places, and points of view," explained Rick Prelinger who will lead the NFPF project. "Titles such as Master Hands (1936), on the making of a Chevrolet, and The Golden Eaglet (1919), the action-packed Girl Scout docudrama on the value of merit badges, tell as much about the society that produced the films as the subjects themselves. They are untapped resources for cultural studies and history."

The field guide will be developed over a 14-month period by a project team including representatives from the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, the University of Georgia, the University of South Carolina, the University of Notre Dame, and the Council on Library and Information Resources. The working draft will be previewed at the Orphan Film Symposium, to be held March 22-25, 2006, at the University of South Carolina, and published in final form by the NFPF later that year. Industrial and Institutional Films: A Field Guide is expected to create a national road map for saving historical documents whose value is now becoming appreciated.

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 the NFPF, please visit the NFPF Web site: www.filmpreservation.org.

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