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: Jeff Lambert (415-392-7291, lambert@filmpreservation.org)

San Francisco, CA (September 29, 2009)—Prairie Fire (1977), by maverick filmmakers John Hanson and Rob Nilsson; Beasts of the Jungle (1913), an adventure saga by the first woman film director, Alice Guy-Blaché; and documentation of the spectacular 1940 collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge (“Galloping Gertie”) are among the 41 films to be preserved through grants announced today by the National Film Preservation Foundation. The NFPF’s summer grants will enable 22 archives, libraries, historical societies, and museums to save historically significant American films that are unlikely to survive without public support.

Prairie Fire is a documentary dramatization about the Nonpartisan League, the grassroots movement begun in 1915 to fight the abusive practices of Eastern banks and railroads. From North Dakota the protest spread rapidly throughout the region, receding only as the rural economy improved over the following decade.

Prairie Fire relives North Dakota’s farm revolt of the early 20th century with an immediacy that makes history come alive,” said Anne Jenks, the Director of the State Historical Society of North Dakota. “Thanks to this grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation, we will make sure this groundbreaking independent documentary can be seen for decades to come.” The State Historical Society of North Dakota will collaborate with the archive of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences to preserve the film.

Among the other films selected for preservation are Carnival in Trinidad (1953) by fashion photographer Fritz Henle; the Academy Award–nominated short Luther Metke at 94 (1980), profiling Oregon’s master log-cabin builder; Carib Gold (1956), a sunken-treasure adventure made for African American audiences and featuring Ethel Waters and Cicely Tyson in her film debut; Navajo Rug Weaving (1938–39) by Tad Nichols; Andy Warhol’s Velvet Underground Tarot Cards (1966); The Story of Creative Capital (1957), an animated demonstration of how capitalism works; avant-garde films by Dorsey Alexander, James Benning, Bette Gordon, Amos Poe, Dion Vigne, and Natalka Voslakov; and home movies showing the construction of Montana’s Fort Peck Dam, Alaskan mining in the 1930s, and the racing exploits of country star Marty Robbins.

Films saved through the NFPF programs are made available for on-site research and are seen widely through screenings, exhibits, DVDs, television broadcasts, and the Internet. The grants fund the creation of a preservation master and two public viewing copies of each film. The awards are made possible through federal funds authorized by The Library of Congress Sound Recording and Film Preservation Programs Reauthorization Act of 2008 and secured through the Library of Congress.

The grants also distribute preservation services contributed by public-spirited laboratories and postproduction houses. Donating services this year are: Audio Mechanics, BluWave Audio, Chace Audio, Colorlab Corp., DJ Audio, and Film Technology Company, Inc.

The summer grant recipients are:

  • Agua Caliente Cultural Museum (California)
  • Alaska Moving Image Preservation Association (Alaska)
  • American Museum of Natural History (New York)
  • Andy Warhol Museum (Pennsylvania)
  • Anthology Film Archives (New York)
  • Bard College (New York)
  • Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum (Tennessee)
  • East Carolina University (North Carolina)
  • George Eastman House (New York)
  • Hagley Museum and Library (Delaware)
  • Montana Historical Society (Montana)
  • National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution (District of Columbia)
  • New York University (New York)
  • New York University, Moving Image Archiving and Preservation Program (New York)
  • Northern Arizona University (Arizona)
  • Pacific Film Archive (California)
  • Purdue University (Indiana)
  • Southern Methodist University (Texas)
  • State Historical Society of North Dakota (North Dakota)
  • University of Georgia (Georgia)
  • University of Texas at Austin (Texas)
  • University of Washington (Washington)

The National Film Preservation Foundation is the nonprofit organization created by the U.S. Congress to help save America’s film heritage. Since starting operations in 1997, the NFPF has provided film preservation support to 202 institutions across 48 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The NFPF is the charitable affiliate of the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress. For the complete list of projects supported by the NFPF, visit the NFPF Web site: www.filmpreservation.org.

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