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.

Film by Shirley Clarke and Robert Hughes Among 11 Slated for Preservation

Contact: Jeff Lambert (415-392-7294, lambert@filmpreservation.org)

San Francisco, CA (July 29, 2010)—A Scary Time (1960), Robert Hughes and Shirley Clarke’s UNICEF-sponsored plea created to fight childhood hunger, and ten other landmark experimental films will soon be saved thanks to Avant-Garde Masters Grants from the National Film Preservation Foundation and The Film Foundation. Dividing the $50,000 cash award for 2010 will be preservation projects from George Eastman House, Intermedia Foundation, the MIT Center for Advanced Visual Study, the Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, and the UCLA Film & Television Archive.

“This is the eighth year of the Avant-Garde Masters Grants,” said Margaret Bodde, Executive Director of The Film Foundation, which has funded the grants since their inception. “Since 2003, the program has saved 78 experimental films from across the country. It is tremendously exciting to see these artistic works rediscovered through this collaboration.”

A Scary Time by Shirley Clarke and Robert Hughes interweaves images of American children preparing for Halloween with malnourished children from other countries and is a stellar example of how avant-garde strategies were adopted by advocacy films to drive their message home. Also selected for preservation are four shorts by the Wichita, Kansas–based group Montage Productions (George Eastman House); Claudia (1972–73), Jorge Prelorán’s whimsical portrait of a five-year-old girl (National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution); two fast-paced evocations of the open road by interdisciplinary collective USCO (Intermedia Foundation); Centerbeam (1977), made by Richard Leacock and Edward Pincus to document the contribution of MIT artists to documenta6 (MIT); Home and Dome (1965), Stan Vanderbeek’s chronicle of the building of the Movie Drome at his family home in Stony Brook, New York (Museum of Modern Art); and Water Ritual #1: An Urban Rite of Passage (1979), Barbara McCullough’s fusion of African ritual with contemporary African American life (UCLA Film & Television Archive).

The Avant-Garde Masters Grants are the first awards to target the preservation of American experimental film. Funded by The Film Foundation and managed by the National Film Preservation Foundation, the program encourages archives to work directly with filmmakers to save works significant to the development of the avant-garde in America. The grants have been awarded annually since 2003 and preserved films by Kenneth Anger, Samuel Beckett, Rudy Burckhardt, Abigail Child, Tom Chomont, Bruce Conner, Oskar Fischinger, Hollis Frampton, Ernie Gehr, Larry Gottheim, George and Mike Kuchar, Norman Mailer, Gregory Markopoulos, Jonas Mekas, Tom Palazzolo, Sidney Peterson, Mark Rappaport, Larry Rivers, Carolee Schneemann, Frank Stauffacher, Andy Warhol, and Lawrence Weiner. The full roster of projects is available on the NFPF Web site, www.filmpreservation.org.

The National Film Preservation Foundation is the nonprofit organization created by the U.S. Congress to help save America’s film heritage. Founded in 1996, the NFPF has supported film preservation in 48 states and the District of Columbia and has helped save more than 1,640 films and collections. The NFPF is the charitable affiliate of the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress.

The Film Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1990 by Martin Scorsese. The foundation is dedicated to protecting and preserving motion picture history, and provides substantial annual support for preservation and restoration projects at the leading film archives. Through its preservation and education programs, the foundation is instrumental in raising awareness of the urgent need to preserve films and has helped to save over 545 motion pictures. Joining Scorsese on the board are: Woody Allen, Paul Thomas Anderson, Wes Anderson, Francis Ford Coppola, Clint Eastwood, Curtis Hanson, Peter Jackson, Ang Lee, George Lucas, Alexander Payne, Robert Redford, and Steven Spielberg. The Film Foundation is aligned with the Directors Guild of America, whose President and Secretary-Treasurer serve on the foundation’s board.

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